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 26 reviews
Skin Type: Normal
Comments: Any ideas on how to get rid of brown skin damage
Skin defence

Marks of sun damage are still there they haven't faded much after using twice a day for 60 days. . I will continue until product is finished. I'm a bit disappointed

Skin Type: Combination

I am so happy that I stumbled upon clearly basics on instagram. I was skeptical at first but decided to give it a try and bought clear out clarifying lotion. It's been 2 months and my skin has improved a lot. I can see significant reduction in pores and acne.

Skin Type: Combination

After years of medication and products, I decided to try clearly basics. In just 6 weeks my skin has calmed and I am now able to treat scarring.

So glad to have found these products!

Finding products that helped to control my acne without irritating my sensitive skin has always been a huge challenge. The clearly basics products have been my saviour, I can't recommend them enough ☺️

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Excellent and actually works

I am so incredibly impressed with the TLC for pore minimising - it 💯 works and has transformed my skin.

I’m in my 50’s and always had hormonal flare ups with larger pores as I age - this is a game changer and have just reordered my 3rd bottle !


not bad but I thought the formula has changed since what it was previously (i had it maybe 2 years ago) and I found it less effective now

Skin Type: Combination
This is the stuff.

So, long time sufferer of acne. Started when I was 12 and I'm 28 now still battling it. I've tried all kinds of different things to try and get it under control and besides birth control, nothing has helped long term. I never want to take birth control ever again and I just happened upon this brand and decided well, why not try? To my amazement, it has helped more than anything else I've tried, I'd say it has improved my skin to the level it was at when I took BC. Of course I still get pimples every now and then, and tiny flare ups during PMS but my skin is nowhere near as bad as it used to be. I highly recommend this company. To those who are considering trying this out, be aware that during the first week or so your skin will go through a purge and your acne will appear to get worse at first. Stick with it! Once that phase is over is when your skin will begin improving. I do need to use it every night for it to be fully effective, but even when I do forget, the pimples don't get too out of control. I just can't say enough good things about this product. It has helped my confidence improve immensely and I definitely recommend trying it to those who have skin as finicky as mine.

Skin Type: Sensitive / Dry
The only moisturiser I trust

I am super sensitive and this is the only moisturiser that I trust honestly incredible.

Skin Type: Combination

I use this product and with the clear out and it has really helped my hormonal acne.

Skin Type: Sensitive / Dry
Here one day, gone the next!

After success with Clearly Basics for my acne scars, I stocked up with all of the active acne products to prepare myself for how angry my acne would get when going off hormonal birth control. I have tried and failed twice as my acne comes back so bad that I just start taking it again. This time I have been using clearly basics without fail every day (lighten up and clear out). I have had 3 pimples start to form and I use ‘Stop Spot’ and the next day instead of a much redder, much angrier pimple with a big white head - the pimple is gone! I have been very happy with this product. I’m one month down (typically when acne gets the worst) - let’s do this!

I love that these products are gentle on my daughter skin.

This skin care routine is the o lay one that has helped clear up my daughters skin.

My daughters skin is really starting to look better!

Skin Type: Oily
So far so good

Bought this for my daughter that has struggled with acne for years. She has seen improvement and less frequent breakouts.

Best moisturizer I have found!

Lighten Up Redness Rescue Cream
Veronica Ilenya Ranieri
Skin Type: Sensitive / Dry

Has changed my skin from acne pro to almost perfect 😍😍

Skin Type: Combination
Obsessed !!

Obsessed with this cleanser!! It left me feeling fresh and prevented break outs. It is incredible . Loved this product so much

My skin feels so soft after using this moisturiser!

My skin feels so soft after using this moisturiser!

Skin Type: Combination
Fresh and clean!

My face is filled with energy and feels so fresh and clean!

Skin Type: Normal
excellent item!

have been using this for years! so good for my skin :)

So Fresh pH Balancing Cleanser
Carmelinda Di Manno
Skin Type: Combination
Fresh Feeling

My skin feels so clean and still hydrated when I use this cleanser. It’s balancing and refreshing. My skin has responded really well to it and at times my skin can be sensitive. I highly recommend this product to anyone with relatively oily t-zone area

Skin Type: Combination
Very happy!

Love the texture, the minty scent and the lather.
I wish the bottles were a bit bigger HOWEVER they are just small enough to fly with.

Skin Type: Normal
Comments: The only thing I now need to use to keep my skin clear.
The holy grail for clearing hormonal acne.

This is the only product that I have needed to keep my skin clear since discovering it about 2 years ago, after suddenly developing cystic hormonal acne at the age of 25. I now only need to use it every second night, so it's incredibly affordable. It has also never irritated my sensitive skin and it has faded previous acne marks to truly clear my skin. After years of trying expensive supplements/products/harsh prescription creams, Clear Out was the only thing that gave me long-lasting results.

Skin Type: Oily
Clearly Basics is the only product that has helped my Adult Acne

I have always struggled with dehydrated acne prone skin. Every month like clockwork I would get a new breakout on my chin or cheek area. These included large cystic acne that by the time they came to a head would take me months to clear. With new breakouts each month this created more & more spots before the first could heal leaving more hyper pigmentation spots that never have time to clear. Clearly basics changed all that for me. It gave my skin a chance to heal and reduced the number of breakouts each month. When I do get a new breakout it resolves itself quickly with less scarring and redness. Now that the acne is under control the products are helping to eliminate the remaining hyper pigmentation spots left from years of acne. I have not been using the product for long but I will continuing relying on this product and look forward to the day I can happily look in the mirror at a smooth clear & even complexion some day soon.

Skin Type: Combination
Comments: Product consistency in terms of smoothness/coarseness/stickiness/ is sometimes a miss, don't believe it affects the result provided.
Great Combo

Have seen great improvements by using these 2 items concurrently, hard to fault and wil continue purchasing.

Individual results may vary

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