4 Things That Helped with Cassandra's Acne

After having severe cystic acne for over 15 years, Cassandra was able to heal her skin through becoming a medical esthetician and learning medically-backed ways to do so. Let's talk about what she's learned over the years, and the 4 specific things Cassandra has learned about treating acne.


For a long time, Cassandra didn’t realize how much diet impacted acne. It’s wrong to say what you eat causes acne because then everyone who ate certain foods would get acne. However, when we ingest certain foods, they can impact our bodies in certain ways that make us more prone to acne.

All acne is related to hormones, and if we eat certain foods that trigger hormonal changes, you bet that can cause oiliness and breakouts. Foods that Cassandra had to be cautious of were high glycemic foods, sugar, and dairy. For Cassandra, cutting out dairy was huge. This is not going to be the same for everyone though. You don’t have to cut out things all at once. But, if there’s a certain food that might be triggering your acne, start with one food or food group.

Take photos of your skin, write down in a diary what you have or haven’t been eating, and document how that has impacted your skin.


Retinoids were monumental in helping Cassandra with her acne. They help get rid of acne and acne scars by helping the skin turnover at a quicker rate and resurfacing the skin. Along with sunscreen, you can use retinol, retinal, or tretinoin. However, tretinoin is prescription only.


Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide gets rid of acne bacteria, and if you are using topical antibiotics for acne, you will also need to use a benzoyl peroxide wash.


The Inkey List Acne Solution with 5% Benzoyl Peroxide Cleanser - $17.98


PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash Benzoyl Peroxide 10% - $9.79

BP Body Acne Lotion - $30

Chemical peels

Chemical treatments, chemical peels, and even regular AHA/BHA acids truly helped Cassandra with her skin. AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs are great. You need to use them with sunscreen, and Cassandra would recommend using them at night. Cassandra attributes not having intense acne scars to professional chemical peels and OTC exfoliating acids. Chemical peels help heal the skin from the inside out. They can kill acne bacteria, exfoliate, and desquamate the top layers of your skin too.

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Exfoliating Peeling Solution -  $11 

This was one of Cassandra’s favorite peels, and it still is. However, it's very powerful.



Minimalist AHA PHA BHA 32% - $9.99 

This is an alternative. It’s more suited to pigmented skin, and it’s very good. PHAs are more gentle, and they’re better for sensitive skin. If you’re sensitive and acne-prone, PHAs work very well. Moreover, things like lactic and glycolic acids (AHAs) work well too. While lactic acid is gentler and more hydrating, glycolic acid is more intense. However, as opposed to BHAs, they’re both more hydrating for those with more dry and acne-prone skin.


Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 25% AHA + 2% BHA Exfoliant Peel -  $54.60 

Here is another great OTC chemical peel for acne-prone skin, but remember that products like this are not a cure-all.

Even after consistent use of products like these, Cassandra still has acne scars and blemishes. These are simply ingredients that helped her skin to be less red, painful, and intense. And if you have to see a dermatologist (which is best), it's 100% okay to have acne, and it's 100% okay to want to treat it. Overall, remember to love yourself and make peace with your skin being a work in progress.