11 of Cassandra's Best Habits for Managing Acne

Here are the best clear skin tips that Cassandra has learned throughout the years. Cassandra has struggled with every type of acne imaginable. She’s struggled with whiteheads, blackheads, cysts, sebaceous filaments, and acne scars. She even had crater scars which is when there are indentations in the skin from scars. Because of this, there were times when she couldn’t even walk out of the door without pounds of foundation. She truly believed that everyone was staring at her and judging her.

However, the most important thing is that we don't judge and educate ourselves about the best way to protect our skin. So, what are the best products and treatments for getting rid of acne, preventing acne, and helping with acne scars?


Chemical peels

Now, of course, before getting a chemical peel or anything like that you need to speak to a dermatologist. But as for Cassandra, she is fondest of salicylic acid or Jessner’s peels. Jessner’s peels combine multiple things or even a TCA peel. You can help get rid of acne while you’re also treating things such as scarring and promoting collagen production so you prevent fine lines and wrinkles in the future. The most common Jessner peels contain a mix of lactic acid, salicylic acid, and resorcinol in a 95 percent ethanol solution (Healthline, 2018). Ethanol is the carrier of the peel. It allows the ingredients in the peel to be driven deeper into the epidermal layers.

These are intense chemical peels, and yes, they will make your face slough off and peel, but for Cassandra, they did a phenomenal job helping with her acne scars. and they are known to thicken the deeper layers of the skin. Likewise, they help push or resurface a new layer of skin and fade acne scars.

Remember though, chemical peels are better for scars rather than acne. There are things you can do at home or professionally like LED, but nothing truly comes close to chemical peels. Chemical peels are truly superior in treating the scars acne leaves behind.

Microneedling and lasers are also options. However, they are a little more expensive than chemical peels, but when done medically, microneedling and radiofrequency are great. Radiofrequency microneedling causes the skin to have a natural response of producing new tissue and likewise collagen. The generation of new, collagen-rich tissue reduces scars, wrinkles, stretch marks, fine lines, and makes the skin appear more plump (Cosmetic Laser Solutions MedSpa).


OTC (over-the-counter) acids

Even though acids are used in chemical peels, the ones you get over the counter are more gentle and can be used at home daily or a couple times a week. One of Cassandra’s absolute favorites is The Ordinary’s AHA BHA peeling solution. Cassandra has used this for four years now.This has transformed Cassandra’s skin and so many other people’s skin as well.

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution - $9.50

Be Minimalist AHA PHA BHA 32% - $12.99



This is another OTC acid that works well if you have pigment issues. If you don’t have a potent acid in your routine like The Ordinary Peel, this is a great place to start, and it's more gentle. AHAs exfoliate and hydrate the skin at the same time because they are water soluble and hold moisture in the skin. PHAs are also water-soluble, but they are more gentle and penetrate the skin more slowly. Therefore, they are known to cause less irritation. You'll want to patch test first, or speak to your dermatologist. But, this is a potent serum that works well.

Exfoliate on a regular schedule

There are many different ways to exfoliate, but not all are good for active acne, and you shouldn't over-exfoliate. For example, if you were to use a serum like the ones we mentioned, you wouldn't want to use a salicylic acid cleanser or a physical exfoliant as well. This can lead to overstripping and damage your skin barrier. Few people realize that a damaged skin barrier can lead to dehydrated skin and even more acne which brings us to our next of using ceramides.


Use ceramides

Ceramides make up half of our skin's outer layer, the stratum corneum. The stratum corneum relies on ceramides, and if your body isn't producing enough, your skin barrier won't be able to protect and repair itself as needed. This can lead to blemishes, irritation, acne, and lesions forming on the skin. When there's a lack of ceramides, your skin becomes less resilient and more inflamed. Inflammation is a core feature of how acne forms, and that's why ceramides can be helpful. They soothe the skin and help repair the skin barrier. These are some of the ceramide products that Cassandra has ever used.

Cocokind Ceramide Barrier Serum - $21.99


Medature PSL Repair Moisturizer - $48 


Ceramedx Ultra Moisturizing Cream 

If you want bang for your buck, Ceremedx is fragrance-free, and it’s long-lasting. Cassandra uses this on her face, and it's even good for the knees, elbows, and feet.

Don't be afraid to moisturize

As we mentioned before, repairing the skin barrier is essential to supporting acne-prone skin. Moisturizing the skin is paramount to having a healthy skin barrier. But, if you're afraid of having oily skin, here are a few moisturizers that can wick away oil, hydrate the skin, and leave it looking mattified.


Peach Slices Acne Oil-Free Moisturizer - $12.99

This is owned by Peach and Lily as well which is a little more on the expensive side. So, if you want to own inexpensive Peach and Lily products, this works.

Turn and learn your ingredients

Often, brands will present unscientific marketing claims, but if you can give yourself knowledge on how your skin works and certain ingredients, you can make educated choices and purchase from brands that are truly doing the right thing.

For example, take the marketing claim of “natural ingredients.” Once you're educated about skincare ingredients, it becomes evident that natural isn't always better even though brands will try to push this idea of “clean beauty.” Everything natural is not “clean” or put on our skin.



Retinoids are fantastic. They thin the outer layer, but they also plump up the deeper layers. They also help with acne, acne scars, pigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles. Similarly, retinoids can help with acne, acne scars, and blackheads. If you want to get the prescription stuff, you can see a dermatologist. Prescription retinoids truly help with dark spots and acne, especially if you get cysts that leave behind long-lasting marks.



This is a custom-blended retinoid formula.


Some By Mi Retinol Intense Reactivating Serum 

But, if the one from Agency is too intense, this is gentle enough to use every day.



Wear SPF

A lot of people don't correlate SPF use with acne, but if you're using a greasy or the wrong SPF formula, it can break out. On the other hand, most people don't realize that sun damage can cause inflammation, acne, and acne scars. The sun's rays damage the DNA in our skin and cause pigmentation which is much harder to fade than acne. So, use SPF.


This is one of Cassandra's favorites.

Determine your irritants and allergens

Cassandra used to change her pillowcase almost every night because she thought the oil and bacteria left over would get onto her skin. But, Dr. Kate Rodan told Cassandra that “Acne bacteria isn't going to come off of your face, rest on your pillowcase, and then, get back on her face. Acne bacteria is anaerobic, meaning it can't survive without oxygen. So, it can't rest on your pillowcase, and then get back on your skin.

What's more important is looking at your laundry detergent. Make sure it doesn't have fragrance, and that it's for sensitive skin. Also, tie up your hair and make sure your face is not resting on hair oils when you sleep. 



So, diet does not necessarily cause acne because if that were the case, everyone who ate certain things would have acne. But, for some people, certain foods like cheese and high glycemic foods will trigger acne. So, try to journal and keep track of what you eat. So, if you have a breakout, you can see if there's a correlation. But, if you have challenges when it comes to psychology, food, or eating habits, this won't be the best option. In this case, if you'd like to have more insight about how diet affects skin consult with a medical professional first.

As for Cassandra, going plant-based really helped her acne. She did not expect her skin to change when she went completely plant-based. This doesn't mean it's for everyone, but for Cassandra, it was monumental.


Redirect your focus

Hyperfixation can lead to skin picking and anxiety can also lead to breakouts. All acne has a hormonal component, and certain hormones spike when we're stressed. This can impact our skin so find something outside of your skin that you admire. Do something that you love without judging yourself. You are valuable, and you are worth it. You matter, and remember that your skin does not determine your worth as a person.