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

Ella Gorton is an aesthetician and makeup artist who is passionate about helping people overcome their skin concerns.

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!


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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.


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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.

About the Author

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.

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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