Expert Q&A: Simple & Effective Skincare Routine for Clear, Healthy, Glowing Skin

She went through a 6-month course of prescription oral medication and in the process created @_myskinstory to share her skin journey, transformation and to help others.

Tell us more about your acne journey.

I had coasted through my teenage years with only the occasional pimple. However at the end of 2015, I had come back from a girl’s holiday and developed adult-onset acne with a vengeance.

As a makeup artist and aesthetician, I didn’t fit the bill to have acne, I couldn’t have acne. How could this have happened to me?!

Over the course of a year, I continued to be in denial, convinced that my bout of acne was just a flare up.

As I continued to throw products at my skin, my acne continued to get worse. My mother persuaded me to see a doctor and I was immediately offered prescription oral medication but I was not willing to take the risk (particularly on birth defects) so I opted for antibiotics and prescription creams.

Source: @_myskinstory. Individual results may vary

These creams were so strong that I would wake up at nights feeling my face was burning.

"I was at my lowest. I was insecure, ugly and worthless not being able to beat acne."

I finally accepted that prescription oral medication was my last resort. By this point I was at my lowest. I felt insecure, unconfident, ugly and worthless to name a few!

How was @_myskinstory born?

A friend of mine encouraged me to watch a blogger as she had documented her journey with prescription oral medication on YouTube.

I remember watching and crying the whole way through. The courage she had to be so open and show her raw emotions on camera gave me the encouragement to create @_myskinstory.

"Each day regardless of how ugly I felt I would take 3 photos, 1 of the left side, 1 of the right side and 1 front on."

To my surprise on the down days, these photos that haunted my photo gallery actually made me feel so much better as I was able to compare how bad my skin used to be.

Fast forward to 2019, I never ever thought I would ever been able to feel confident in myself and with my skin again!

It has been a massive rollercoaster to get where I am today and I am now even able to say that I’m thankful to have suffered with acne.

It has taught me so much about skincare and I’ve been able to help so many other people through my own experience.

@_myskinstory Individual results may vary

I am able to empathize with clients which gives me so much passion in helping people who struggle with their skin.

With your experience, what do you recommend as a skincare routine for acne-prone skin?

When asked for my most valued opinion and general advice to anyone wanting to start their own skincare journey, my MUST haves in your routine should be: 


  1. Cleanse: Use a gentle cleanser/face wash that doesn't dry out or cause irritation to your skin.
  2. Brighten: Use Vitamin C serum to brighten your complexion.
  3. Moisturize: It is important to keep your skin properly hydrated so I use three products in this step:
    • Rose water mist: A gentle source of water for your skin.
    • Hyaluronic acid: Helps your skin to retain water.
    • Clearly’s Protective Moisturizer: Helps to strengthen and improve the texture of your skin.
  4. Protect: Finally always finish off any routine with a broad spectrum sunscreen which protects your skin from both UVA & UVB rays.



  1. Cleanse: Only wash twice per day. Over-washing may irritate your skin and force your skin to overproduce oil.
  2. Moisturize: Repeat the same steps from the morning:
    • Rose water mist: A gentle source of water for your skin.
    • Hyaluronic acid: Helps your skin to retain water.
  3. Treat: I use the Clearly Basics’ Clear Out (2% retinol) to make my skin less acne prone, improves the texture and slows down the aging process of my skin.

If you no longer have active acne, why do you still need retinol?

My skin is still acne prone so in order to keep the breakouts away, I still use the Clear Out every evening to ensure that dead skin does not form into clogs inside my pores¹.

On the surface, retinol works to improve the texture of my skin² and to give me a dewy glow.

Also, retinol is the gold standard for anti-aging³: Once you pass around the age of 24-26, you begin to lose 1% of the collagen in your skin every year.

Retinol helps by arresting the loss of collagen and it is recommended that you start early against the aging process.

"I recommend a retinol to anyone regardless of their skin type or concern and it is an all-rounder, helping not only persistent microcomedones but also pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles as well as providing a luminating natural glow everyone strives to achieve."

Can I use any retinol based product? What is so special about the Clear Out?

I have used a wide range of retinol-based products and NOTHING has been as effective as the Clear Out. They use USP certified (highest grade) retinol and amplify the effect using AZA, which is something you CAN'T FIND anywhere else on the market.

This combo is more gentle and more effective than other retinol based products that I’ve used in the past. It keeps my skin glowing at its prime.

What is so special about the Clearly Basics' Protective Moisturizer?

It is loaded with peptides. These are amino acid building blocks of your skin that stimulate your skin to repair. As the skin strengthens, we see a decrease in redness and sensitivity.

This moisturizer was originally designed for users on prescription oral medication so it can handle the toughest of skin conditions.

"It is one of the best facial moisturizers I have used."

Even if some products seem to cost a bit more than others, I encourage you to ask yourself, which of the following option would you choose?

What is your advice to maintain a healthy, glowing skin?

What is your biggest pet peeve in skincare?

Dermaplaning is marketed as a form of exfoliant to remove dead skin cells as well as the ‘peachy fuss’ hair which is actually called vellus hair. This hair is there to protect your skin from dirt, bacteria, pollution and anything else our skin comes into contact with every day.

Removing this hair means you are more likely to get breakouts, dry skin & in some cases I’ve actually known it to cause acne for people who previously had clear skin.

The risks far outweigh the rewards for this facial; if you want clear, smooth, glowing skin, you can achieve this by actually exfoliating and keeping a good skincare routine.

[author_box name="About the Author" image="" ]Ella Gorton is an aesthetician and a makeup artist from Manchester, England. Her Instagram page @_myskinstory is dedicated to helping those who struggle with their skin. She has been documented her acne journey through this page.[/author_box]

1. James Leyden et al, 2017 : Why Topical Retinoids Are Mainstay of Therapy for Acne
2. Zasada M et al, 2019 : Retinoids: active molecules influencing skin structure formation in cosmetic
3. Yuan Shao et al, 2018 : Molecular basis of retinol anti-aging properties in naturally aged human skin


Nothing on this article should be interpreted as personal medical advice. For medical related matters, please consult with your dermatologist.

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See what others have to say about Clearly Basics.

Based on 2549 reviews
Skin Type: Combination
All I can say is wow

Got all the acne products on a whim and they did not disappoint! I have noticed such a difference in the texture of my skin. I have tried so many acne products and felt like nothing was working. The clearly basics range has lasted me soooooo long and I saw results in just 3 weeks! Really happy with my experience, I would highly recommend those with acne to try this brand. Love it!

Power Duo*
Chuan Ling T.

Adult acne is a new thing for me- I’ve had clear skin growing up so the outbreaks were very stressful! I did everything and anything I could, from watching YouTube reviews, trying out cult products to professional advice, but nothing quite did the job. So how the power duo panned out for me was definitely a pleasant (-ly hugeeee) surprise. I do acknowledge that my acne challenges are not on the extremely severe end, but I must say, emotionally the positive outcome of using both the power duo encouraged me to wear my skin as it is again. It’s really worthwhile trying as it is also a no fuss duo; hence the currently gild of my staple skincare products.

Calm Down*
Kimberly C.

The entire Clearly Basics product line is the only one that has cleared my skin. I tried any product you can think of including doctor prescribed medication and ointment and nothing worked. After having acne for over 15 years I am so happy to have clear, radiant skin!

I have maybe seen some improvement but nothing amazing yet. Have used the product as instructed, religiously. Will try another bottle and stick to it for a few more months.

I love all of clearly basics! They made my confidence rise because I finally feel comfortable without makeup.
This cleanser is amazing 👏
My skin doesn't feel tight afterwards and now I don't get that mid day shine near as bad.

I love everything from clearly basics! It totally changed my life by clearing my acne. Now they have a new sunscreen and it's great.
It doesn't have a smell or leave your face white or greasy. Best of all it doesn't cause breakouts!

The products are just amazing!! My results in 4 months of using clear out extra strength!!

Clear Out*
Sophie C.

Love this product 👏🏽

Works really well! Enjoy using this face wash, never stings or dries out my acne prone skin !

Clear Out*
Emma S.

Worked really well in quite a short amount of time! I now see long lasting results, my skin is healthy and my acne is finally under control! The first product I have tried which works and is actually affordable!

I struggled with lots of painful cystic acne so tried the clear out product. Found by the end of the first bottle a lot of the smaller spots were not coming back and the more painful larger ones were coming back less inflamed. I was happy with the results from the first bottle so I ordered another, this is halfway through the second bottle and can see most of the acne on my cheeks has gone! I still get cystic acne in the T area but it is much less painful than before. Definitely recommend, but takes time to see real results.

Clearly Basics has been an absolute life saver! Not an over night miracle, be patient and stick with it, amazing products

I saw a huge reduction in new pimples and any new pimples scars healed and disappeared a lot quicker

Power Duo*
Anne F.

I have struggled with acne since I was 12 years old. All through my teenage and adult life my skin has been unpredictable and the breakouts have been constant and so frustrating. I’ve tried everything you could imagine but nothing worked reliably. Clear Out and lighten up have been a total game changer for me and I couldn’t be happier with the results

Acne Care Kit*
Sinead C.

I started using clearly basics at the beginning of the year. I have struggled with acne most of my adult life and when I saw a video from a customer on instagram, everything she described is exactly what I had done…had hormonal acne on chin and jaw line in particular. I had been to the doctor, was referred to a dermatologist and had been on medication, tried all sorts of creams and gels with no success.

I cannot believe this actually worked. I would say I saw results within the first month and probably took around 4 months so really clear up. I have continued with using it and now only get the odd spot at that time of the month but use the calm down on it. It has given me my confidence back and now I’m working on reducing the scaring. I use clear out each evening, the TLC in the morning, lighten up twice a day (but that is a small bottle so doesn’t last long) and then have tried both the so fresh and balancing cleansers. For me it really worked so would highly recommend.

Tightens pores and brightens and smoothes skin. This was my first bottle but I will continue to purchase. I use day and night.

I already use CB balancing cleanser and clear out extra strength, two years ago my skin was spotty, blackheads, raw and very visible. I wondered if the TLC would make a difference in my routine but it has, a glow and radiance I didn’t expect. This is no filter I’ve just woke up. I turned 50 this year the clearly basics range is also an amazing anti ageing tool!

Power Duo*
Mamtha J.

Tried every product out there from proactiv to slurp! None worked, they infact aggravated the condition! Tried clearlybasics as last resort and oh boy it works! Worth every penny! First time in 20 years, stepped out without wearing base makeup! Never thought this day would come!

I suffered with acne for years, and when I finally learned to stop the acne I was left with red and brown scars and hyperpigmentation. But I started using the clearly basics Lighten up cream and Dark mark defends, followed by the moisturiser, and I saw a dramatic difference within days! My scars have lightened so much and most of them are gone. I find this moisturiser is also very hydrating but not greasy, it is absorbed into my skin effortlessly, and it wears beautifully under my makeup. I've now been using the products for 6 months and will continue to use it!

Power Duo*
Laura S.

This stuff changed my life!!!!
After reading the reviews I never thought it would work for me in the same way as it had for other people, as my skin was so bad and cystic. But after just a few months of using this and cutting down on dairy, my skin was 10 times better!
I’m still religiously using the Power Duo and don’t think I’ll ever stop 😊

Clear Out*
Leah N.

It's such a relief to finally have found something that works. I've had acne since I was around 11 and like most people, I tried so many different products and 'hacks' to try and get rid of the spots but nothing really helped.
I was hesitant to try clear out because of the price but I was reassured by the money back guarantee.
To be honest, the purging process they warn about was pretty severe for me. Mine lasted for the entire first bottle and I was so ready to give up. I contacted customer service and they offered me a refund or 50% off my next bottle, reassuring me it would be worth sticking with it. I agreed to persevere and I'm so glad I did! About half way through the next bottle I really noticed improvements and by the end, my skin was the clearest it had ever been. I've completely stopped having breakouts and only occasionally get a spot or two during my cycle. Overall my skin is smoother and I have much less redness and a more even skin tone. I keep using clear out nightly to maintain my nice new skin and I'll happily keep buying it knowing how well it works for me!

Clear Out*
Mandy R.

After a few weeks the results were already visible (right photo). Now the red spots are also less visible!!

Acne Care Kit*
Keiwing W.

My son has serious acene problem and the acene comes back when he stopped taking the anti- biotics. After trying the products, the acene starts to dry up. The result is amazing after one month. Now, trying to apply the product to lighten up the marks.

Calm Down*
Cara W.

This works amazing. As soon as you see a bump, put a small amount on. I’ve used many acne spot treatments and this is by far the best !!

Clear Out
Veronica Ilenya Ranieri

"My skin has changed in better after using these products, they are practical and are not aggressive towards the skin.
I was ashamed of going out in public because everyone was pointing out my acne and scars, but since I started using clearly basic, I found a new me. Thank you changing my life!!"

Individual results may vary

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