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.

Check Availability


See what others have to say about Clearly Basics.

Based on 495 reviews
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 ☺️

Extra Strength Duo
Briannon Argueta
Skin Type: Combination
Comments: It's worth it. Just try it and stick with it =)
Definitely seeing improvements

I've struggled with acne for the last few years. I've tried many different topical things to clear it but nothing was working. I decided to try Clearly Basics and have definitely seen improvements! I've been using this combo for about 2 months and am loving the results so far. Obviously, my face isn't perfect yet but it's a marathon, not a sprint, and I understand that. Here's to consistency and better results as I continue my journey! I've attached some before and after pictures, all with a makeup-free face so you can see my honest progress.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️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 !


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.

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

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!

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 😊

I am 32 years old and still suffering from acne. I tried many things, but acne will dissappear and come back. Now I am using this product and my skin is getting better. Still I get some acne, but hopefully it clear all. But I am not sure how long I should use this product ?

Ive been using clear out for about 3 months and I have noticed a big change. Breakouts are minimal and my skin is looking and feeling much clearer. Im just about to start the clear out extra strength to try and clean out the remaining stubborn cystic bumps. Id like the pigmentation and scars to fade quicker, but Im sure they will in time. Overall Im happy with the product and can notice the change when comparing photos.

Power Duo
Emma Taylor

I love clearly basics so much!! My skin has cleared up amazingly, check out @myacnepage on insta or clearly basics website to see how far my skin has come while using their products. I love the power duo especially and recommend to anyone who has been struggling with acne or redness/hyperpigmentation and scarring

Power Duo
Amy Nuramira

"""I have been struggling with acne for 10 years. This is by far the best product. I started out with brown pigmentation (acne marks) and a lot of tiny bumps of acne on my forehead, cheek and nose (kind of like sand paper). As soon as I started the Clear Out and Lighten Up, my acne bumps got smaller and smaller. My brown pigmentation began turning lighter (reddish pinkish).
Initially, when I started using it, I didn't really get a 'purge' it was just a small amount of break outs which went away in a few weeks. Now my hormonal break outs are not as terrible as before, they still appear but barely noticeable.
My skin is acne free, pigmentation are still there but they've improved tremendously. The Clear Out does not dry out your skin at all, even when I apply makeup on, it's not patchy."""

Started using the Power Duo approximately 2-3 months ago, the creams have really helped to improve my skin quality, it feels so much smoother. I still have pigmentation which I will be starting to use the Dark Mark Defense for. But overall VERY happy with the Power Duo

Power Duo
Megan Downes


Never have I found a brand that is so gentle on my skin but works wonders.

The lighten up is the best thing for redness, the difference in just one day on my pictures below.

Can't recommend enough, especially for hormonal acne.

Thank you Clearly"

Power Duo
Louisa Bohm

Before I started using Clearly Basics, I was using normal pharmacy products and this obviously wasn’t enough. I was having a lot of breakouts and cysts underneath the skin. I found Clearly through a giveaway which I participated and won, and I’m so glad it gave me the opportunity to try their products. 2 months in, I was amazed how powerful the products are, especially the Power Duo, and I absolutely love them. My skin has changed so much, it heals much faster now. I definitely recommend trying.

Power Duo
Celeste Robinson

This company is honestly incredible! I have been struggling with really painful hormonal cystic acne for years. I was prescribed oral medication, but decided against taking it because of all the side effects. So I did some research and found Clearly Basics! I have been using the Power Duo for 3 months and the progress my skin has made has been amazing! It has cleared my skin without causing any irritation or sensitivity. I am finally at the stage where I can leave the house without makeup! My skin is clear!! The customer service is also very personal and efficient. I don’t have enough wonderful things to say about these products, they literally saved my skin.

Really lovely product range! The power duo is the first thing, after 6 years of searching, that has helped my hormonal acne. I've tried antibiotics, differin, epiduo and everything range going but my skin got burnt, the acne came back or just didn't work. Clealry have the balance just right of clearing out your pores to prevent acne and calm pigmentation without irritating the skin. Absolutely amazing stuff that has transformed my skin!

Power Duo
Ghina Arbid

I've had acne since I was in high school. It was coming and going, but I never got rid of it completely. Last year, I had a few months without acne at all and I thought "Okay, great. This is it." But then it started coming back. So I went to see a doctor and they gave me some prescriptions. They didn't work. I saw an ad for Clearly Basics on social media once, and I was like, "This is great! But do I trust online products like this?" And guess what? I'm back here and I trust them completely because I've seen results. I started using Clearly almost 3 months ago, had a purging period where everything was just coming out. Now I'm in my third month, and I really like the results so far. My skin has cleared up, and there aren't any large bumps underneath my skin anymore. And it's just great, honestly. I didn't expect a product I bought online to be this helpful and useful. I wouldn't go anywhere else anymore after this.

Extra Strength Duo
Melissa Aldana

I love what the Sensitive Skin Trio (Clear Out + Lighten Up + Protective Moisturizer) has done for my skin! I had tried so many things before trying these products out and my skin was at its worst and peeling horribly, but I noticed a difference within the first week of using these products. The So Fresh cleanser is so refreshing and it has worked so well without stripping my skin. And with the Dark Mark Defense, my dark marks have faded greatly in comparison to when I first started using it. Since starting Clearly, I have upgraded to the Clear Out Extra Strength and even with the stronger formulation, I don’t experience any sensitivity and my skin has never looked or felt better! My skin is not dull or dry, and even has a glow, and the texture of my skin has also improved significantly

Power Duo
Chelsey Hendriksen

"I have been using Clearly for about 5 weeks and I am blown away by results. I have no large lumps, which is awesome because they were super painful. My skin is smooth and soft and everyday I see my red scars fading. I had tried so many things from drug store brands to high end products for my cystic acne and nothing worked.
After months of struggling and literally hating my skin I can not believe how amazon it looks"

Extra Strength Duo
Nicole Long

I have always struggled with acne ever since I was a teenager. Constant breakouts, constant red marks, fading into acne scars that I still probably have today. I found Clearly through social media and I was really taken in by their testimonials, so I took the leap. I started with the Clear Out + Lighten Up (Power Duo), and I really was able to see that any breakouts I was having would go away faster than I've ever seen and the Lighten Up would get rid of those red marks very quickly. Eventually I moved into the Clear Out Extra Strength and I was able to really feel like I was clearing out my clogged pores and really resetting my skin. I also added the Dark Mark Defense to really target those dark marks, acne scars that I've had since I was a teenager, and I was able to see the difference within the first month, which was really exciting for me to really target those spots that have been bothering me for years!

Power Duo
Brittany Shanae

"I swear the Power Duo (Clear Out and Lighten Up) are a GOD-send! I've been using both consistently for 3 months now and my skin has NEVER looked or felt better! I haven't experienced a breakout since March and more than 80% of my hyperpigmentation is GONE!

I'm so grateful to have finally found a product that actually works for my skin!

If you're dealing with acne breakouts and hyperpigmentation, you should def research Clearly Basics."

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

American Express Discover Mastercard Visa PayPal Shop Pay