Spot the Difference: Woman Who Battled Severe Acne for Years, Shares Her Guide to Pimple-Free Skin

Since high school, I had suffered from severe acne. It was mentally exhausting to constantly think that people were staring at the spots on my face.

In my desperation to stop the pimples, I’ve tried every imaginable wash, soap, scrub, peel, mask, and lotion. My bathroom cabinets were a graveyard of high end and on-trend products claiming to give me “perfect skin.” Most of these products made my breakouts worsen:

After years of visits to the dermatologist and 3 rounds of Accutane, I got wiser.

Here’s some advice in regards to products that I wish I could have told to my teenage self as it would have saved me a lot of time, money and heartache:

  1. Clay masks, peels and scrubs do not stop acne.

    Don’t waste your time on these products as they do not penetrate into the pore before they are washed off.

    When it comes to acne, choose products that can be left on overnight so that the ingredients penetrate deeper into the pore. Clear Out has made a big difference in keeping my pores clear.

  2. Don’t over invest in washes or soaps.

    Opt for a simple, gentle cleanser, like Cetaphil, and skip the fancy ingredients in soaps/washes since they are rinsed off before they penetrate into the pore.

    Avoid washes that contain AHAs or BHAs as these will strip away natural oils while giving you little of the benefit of these acids. To reap the benefits of an AHA or BHA, buy them in the form of a leave-in treatment instead.

  3. When it comes to acne, retinoids are the gold standard.

    If you look at the algorithm that dermatologists use for acne, topical retinoids are the first option for virtually all types of acne. Prescription topical retinoids have been too harsh to apply to my skin (overdrying and forcing my skin to go into overdrive to produce oil, leading to more breakouts).

    However, clearly basics’ Clear Out is a must-have in my routine. It pairs retinol with azelaic acid in order to flush out my clogs with less side effects and without overdrying my skin. Many of my peers who couldn’t use retinol in the past did well with this formulation.

  4. Finally a product that deals with my post-acne red marks!

    I’ve spent endless nights looking for a product that could fade the appearance of my post-acne red scars and the Lighten Up has worked wonders for me.

    It is important to fade the appearance of these red marks quickly as it reduces the chance that these marks would get exposed to UV light and collect stubborn brown pigmentation. A post-acne brown mark is significantly harder to get rid of as compared to a red mark.

  5. What is my routine to keep clear skin?

    A gentle cleanser, the Clear Out, Lighten Up and Clearly’s Moisturizer. Yes … that’s it! Introducing too many products in my routine increases the risk of a reaction and these products were designed to work together.

    The Clear Out keeps my pores in the clear; the Clear Out + Moisturizer reduces the need for my skin to produce so much oil so I’m able to go throughout the day without the oily sheen; and the Moisturizer + Lighten Up uses multiple pathways to reduce the appearance of red marks on my face.

It took many years to find the right formula and routine to get my skin to where it is now and it’s boosted my confidence so much. I hope my experience can inform yours and save you the money and time.

Here’s to cutting out the clutter and putting our focus on effective products worthy of our #shelfies


The cleansing wash and retinol I’ve used are products from @clearlybasics (LIFE CHANGING 💓) I thought I’d put together a few things we all have been guilty of doing and just a little reminder to avoid the naughty things we can do once in a while 🤷‍♀️

Comment if you’ve done any of the things shown in the video below.

How I Kept My Acne at Bay Post-Accutane

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I have a lot of people always sending me DM’s about after care post accutane. Since being off accutane I use @clearlybasics clear out to keep acne at bay and honestly it’s been a game changer for me! I have used many topical retinol creams which have either overly dried my skin out or just made me break out but ever since I started using clear out it hasn’t caused no issues, it’s gentle and works so well. A lot of people as me also do I worry about acne coming back and yes I use to all the time but now I know I can rely on @clearlybasics to help with my skin. I also use the cleansing wash which has lasted me a while, you do not need a lot – a little goes a long way! Have a look at their page, website and if you are interested in purchasing you can use my name ‘ALISHA’ to get 💰 off, every little helps 💖 #acne #accutane #roaccutane #acnecommunity #scars #results #postaccutane #happy #vitaminc @clearlybasics #accutanejourney #acnefamily #acnecommunity #roaccutane #drylips #acne #accutane #accutanejourney #beginning #isotretinoin #courageforskin #slowandsteadyresults #skincare #adultacne #isotretinoinjourney #skinpositivity #happy

A post shared by A L I S H A (@ak_accutane) on

Alisha Kalsi, 25, from Berkshire, developed severe acne when she was 15-years-old. She has gone through three rounds of Accutane before finding out about clearly basics. Alisha’s Instagram page @skinwithalisha is dedicated to help those who have acne and promote skin positivity. Use the coupon code ALISHA to get 10% off any item in the clearly basics eStore.

UPDATE: June 14, 2019

@skinwithalisha have a lot of people always asking me what I do to maintain my skin after Accutane.. All I can say is ‘Clear Out’ by @clearlybasics is a Godsend ❤️ I started using Clear out after finishing my Accutane course and it has helped keep acne at bay, I still get the odd spots however I apply this retinol cream every night and literally it gets straight to work which is why I love this product. It doesn’t leave me overly dry or flakey which most retinol creams did.

Recently I had a small but upcoming company contact me to help me with my acne/acne scars. I definitely don’t think this company gets enough credit as their products have changed people’s lives! 🙌

@clearlybasics had kindly sent me the ‘Clear Out’ cream and waiting for the ‘Lighten Up’ cream to arrive to help me get rid of my red marks which have been left behind from 7 months on Accutane. 👎

I wish I came across clearly basics before starting Accutane as I would have purchased these and wouldn’t have had to put my body through so much! (FYI, I would never stick by a brand that did not work as a acne survivor the purpose of this page was to help others in their journey as I know how hard and mentally destroying it is to deal with acne/scars so I’ll give you the best advice I can to my #acnefamily 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦) As you know I was originally using Differin which was prescribed by my doctor however in such a short period of time my face become super dry and I was breaking out which was worrying me as I heard mixed reviews about the product but then with the help of all the staff at @clearlybasics they had educated me with their product, if you have come off Accutane there’s that worry of your acne coming back therefore some derms will provide you with a retinol cream however they can be harsh on the skin 😑

The @clearlybasics Clear Out does not overly dry your skin as it isn’t a high dose of retinol which allows your skin to adapt and clear active acne as well as fade the red scars.

I’ve spoken to several people in the acne community about their experiences with Clear Out as I wanted to compare them to mine and we are all in the same boat, a boat with clear skin! ❤

What Clear Out is designed to do is to penetrate deep into the pores to clear clogs, reduce the appearance of red marks and foster healing. Have a look on their website and see the results for yourself:

You can use my discount code to get 10% off your purchase by using ‘ALISHA‘ 💰😀


See what others have to say about Clearly Basics.

@_myskinstory 😭 I feel like I’m an addict and someone has taken away my drugs 😂 Saturday night I came to the end of my @clearlybasics Clear Out bottle. After consistently applying it every night for 3 months along side Niacinamide & Zinc so last night I had nothing to apply. (Right picture: a few days previous. Left picture: This morning) As soon as I woke up I knew it different feel great! 😭 Regardless off the other amazing benefits that a 2% Retinol & Azaleic Acid has; I JUST WANT MY GLOW BACK!! I’ll dedicate my next post to the ingredients and how they ‘clearly’ work!!

@xx.tonilumsden This is me 5 weeks into my skincare journey with @clearlybasics.

5 weeks ago, 5 months ago, and even 5 years ago, I had lost all hope for my skin and appearance. Now I have regained that hope and positivity because I know that I am using amazing skincare products by @clearlybasics that actually do work without being harsh on my skin.

Just because you feel like nothing is working doesn’t mean you should give up on hope.

@skinwithalisha @clearlybasics helped maintain my skin after accutane and honestly their products have helped so many, I get many DM’s thanking me for recommending clearly basics and how it’s helped them.

If I knew about @clearlybasics prior to accutane I would’ve definitely gone with using Clear Out for sure!

@beas.bareskin Clearly Basics have been with me for about a week and I’m so happy I’ve been using their product!!!!!

My fave between these 3 is the “Lighten up” one because it has definitely helped with the redness! The redness on my cheeks are slowly dimming down and the texture of my skin is so soft and smooth.

You may not be able to tell cuz pictures don’t do it justice but if you were to have felt my skin before I used their products compared to now you can definitely feel the difference !!!

@pimpledgirl The 1st week was amazed! Fascinating skin texture, there were no stinging. The 2nd week were pretty same. The 3rd week – purging starred – bumpy skin, redness. The 4th week – same but I added #ProtectiveMoisturiser either from @clearlybasics and in three days redness was reduced. The 5-6th weeks – skin smoother, less red, breaking out badly. The 7-8th week – is it my skin? not red (even after washing as it used to be).

I’d say the amount of pustules has been reduced in 85%. I still have some tiny-tiny pimples and will keep going with mu treatment. • Honestly I’m very grateful to Clearly Basics • I’ll keep you updated.

@gemskin__ A little progress goes a long way! 🙌🏻 In the first picture I think my skin was purging from the first week of using @clearlybasics ‘Clear Out’. I believe I actually cried either before or after I took this photo, my skin was super painful and I felt so ugly and self conscious!

The second picture is 5 weeks after using Clear Out, just scarring (being helped by using Lighten Up) and no actives!
I’m so happy with the results so far using these products and they have been the only thing that has helped my skin!