My Acne Journey, Part 1: Scars and Microdermabrasion

Pimples suck. No amazing cat-eye or colorful lash can distract from the Mount Vesuvius that’s erupting on your cheek.

I'm being dramatic, but we've all had those moments: The zit that no amount of industrial strength concealer can mask, the pimple that wants to do a meet and greet with everyone in your neighborhood.

I had okay skin as a teen, with a few clusters of zits here and there, but once a pimple ran its course, it was gone without a trace. Then, in my late teens/early twenties, my acne became more moderate. Foundation application was mastered, Proactiv was purchased. Still, there was no post-pimple pigmentation war to fight.

Fast forward to today: every pimple I get leaves a red mark that turns to brown and wants to live on my face forever.

A few months ago, I developed a reaction to a new face cream and the sides of my cheeks broke out with tiny, under-the-skin bumps, some of which developed into whiteheads.

Here’s how I got rid of the bumps and minimized the scarring that followed: Daily Cleansing

First, I use Bioderma Sensibio H20 to take my makeup off. It’s hands-down the best makeup remover there is. Then I use Radical's Hydrating Cleanser, which is light and moisturizing, to wash my face, usually with this Foreo Luna brush. Last is Mario Badescu's Special Cucumber Toner to make my face feel extra clean. Three times a week, I switch up my cleanser and use Mario Badescu's Glycolic Foaming Cleanser to chemically exfoliate.


For serums, I alternate between Radical's Youth Infusion and Peptide Infused Antioxidant Serum, as well as Estée Lauder's Advanced Night Repair serum on top of Mario Badescu’s Honey Moisturizer. The Youth Infusion is probably my favorite in terms of texture; you only need a little and it spreads very easily. Hannah is a fan of Advanced Night Repair, and I mean, just look at her face! When I’m feeling lazy I skip the serums and just use Mèreadesso's All-In-One Moisturizer.


One or twice a week, I like to pop on some LUSH masks (Cupcake for drying out spots, Love Lettuce and Cosmetic Catastrophe for everything else). I'm a fan of combining different masks on different parts the face, so I also like using Mario Badescu's Drying Mask (on spotty bits) and Rose Hips Mask (all over). If I need an instant boost I use Radical's Oxygen Mask.

Spot Treatments

In my opinion, the ultimate combination for banishing pimples is Mario Badescu's Drying Lotion layered on top of their Buffering Lotion. I use this combo at night on larger pimples and they’re significantly reduced by the next morning.

Sunscreen, Pore Minimizer & Moisturizer

I use Vitage Skin Defence SPF 30 for sun protection. The formula is lovely and it just sinks in like magic without a white cast. My favorite product for minimizing pores is Bioderma's Sebium Pore Refiner. It's got a lotion-like texture that leaves the skin demi-matte and minimizes pores without that silicone feeling. It's a must if I'm going sans foundation for the day. And Mario Badescu's Honey Moisturizer keeps my skin hydrated day and night.

I am extremely fortunate to have received some of these products via PR, but they work so well on my skin that I would definitely purchase them. I'm a skincare junkie, so I'll scrimp elsewhere. I'd never judge you for slathering $90 serum on your cheeks while crying into a Shin Ramyun lunch.


While the above products brought down the bumps, they didn't erase the pigmentation or scars. Enter microdermabrasion.

I was lucky enough to be offered treatments at The House of Rush in the heart of Piccadilly Circus. During my consultation, it was recommended that I have a series of skin peels along with the microdermabrasion. Having my skin scrutinized under a bright light was daunting, but Charlotte, my technician, made me feel at ease. She explained that skin slows down its repairing process after your mid-twenties, hence those stubborn scars.

Mircrodermabrasion gets the skin repair process up and running again. It also treats sun damage, blackheads, whiteheads, superficial hyper-pigmentation, and fine lines and wrinkles. The process blasts a bunch of tiny crystals onto your face via a tiny vacuum, exfoliating the epidermis and causing just enough trauma to trigger repair. The exfoliation also allows creams and treatments to absorb more effectively into the skin.

It feels like a weird Shiatsu massage with tiny rocks. My face was slightly red afterward, but nothing too noticeable. You need three to six treatments to see significant improvement.

I'm not done yet, but here's what my skin looked like before and after my first session. I noticed a small difference, but mostly I just felt more glow-y.

As for the after effects, my skin felt dryer than usual the first few days, but that was easily remedied with moisturizer. I'm told that results are most visible on days five to seven after treatment. This photo was taken the morning after my first microdermabrasion treatment. I look like I've joined a cult!

I’d love to hear how you’re dealing with bumps and post-acne pigmentation!