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By Ashley I.

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This oil prevents breakous

I am the most basic of chicks. I consider it normal to re-watch a Sex and the City episode I saw a week earlier. I make weekly (okay, twice weekly) trips to Sephora and the local fro-yo place. I spend way too much money on subtle highlights. The TV is always set to E! and I have a wedding board on Pinterest.

Basic! Basic! Basic!

A couple of years ago I was stricken (yes, that dramatically) with a seriously desperate case of severe hormonal cystic acne. This is when I realized good skin is a beauty basic. It didn’t matter how great of a hair day I was having or how perfect my eye make-up was when I had marbles of puss in my chin. Lovely imagery, I know. For four months I cried daily at the sudden change in my appearance. Forget socializing…or at least socializing well. I could barely make eye contact with people. My self-esteem was shot.

3 Months Into Skin Care Regimen (Imagine Month #1 Yourself.) *** Ignore odd costume. I didn't take many photos back then.

3 Months Into Skin Care Regimen (Imagine Month #1 Yourself.) *** Ignore odd costume. I didn’t take many photos back then.

Every time I see a girl with acne I wonder if it would be hurtful to tell her about the regimen my godsend dermatologist and I developed to banish my pizza face. I always decide to keep my mouth shut, but I really hope those girls come across this site and take my advice.

If you are suffering from moderate acne to I-can’t-leave-the-house-without-crying acne and you have a dermatologist ready with a Rx pad, take the following steps:

1) At the drug store – Buy 10% Benzoyl Peroxide PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash. I’m not a huge fan of drying B.P. topicals (I’m talking to you Proactiv), but this wash can solve problems by itself. Use in the morning and night. The instructions say massage into skin for two minutes, but that’ll be a bit drying so try for 45 seconds. In the morning I will mix this with a gentle cream cleanser to add moisture.

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 6.09.09 PM

Me without makeup these days…Smile, Ashley! Your skin’s clear! 🙂

2) At the pharmacy (This is what the derm will need to provide you with and, of course, the final recommendation will be up to them) –  100 Mg Doxycycline Hyclate (antibiotic). I take one at bedtime, however I used to take a higher dosage at the beginning of the regimen. Low-dose Tri-Sprintec birth control is a must for hormonal acne. Beware: Skin may get worse for about 2 months before it gets better, but when it gets better…it gets BETTER!! I added 50 MG Spironolactone two years into the regimen and this is the miracle drug which downgraded my mild/moderate acne to nonexistent. Added plus, this blood-pressure lowering diuretic made me loose ten pounds.

Me with make-up these days...!!!

Me with make-up these days…!!!

Topicals: Massage a quarter-sized amount of 1% Clindamycin Phosphate Topical Lotion after washing your face in the a.m. Massage a dime-sized amount of .025% Tretinoin Gel (aka Retin-A) on before bed. Yes, it will sting a bit, but the few seconds of discomfort is worth whole days of clear skin.

3) At Sephora (or Amazon, etc.) – Tarte’s Pure Maracuja Oil slathered on 20 minutes after Clindamycin in the a.m.. Don’t be scared of putting CERTAIN kinds of oils on this face. This oil doesn’t make you breakout, in fact, it prevents breakouts. It makes your skin soft, moisturized, and fades acne marks. I adore their new version of this, the Maracuja Bronzing Serum, which will give you a subtle summer glow. Follow that with cold pressed marula oil. There’s a $90 fancy brand at Sephora, but I got mine for $12 on Amazon.

Within four months, you’ll be completely clear. Follow these basic steps, be a basic beotch, and finally obtain the basis of beauty.

  • Pingback:Let Snow Flake, Not Your Skin | Duchess Kimberly
    Posted at 22:11h, 03 December Reply

    […] from the evils of winter. After washing my face and applying my prescription topical, I apply both Tarte’s Pure Maracuja Oil and cold pressed marula oil.  (Full acne care routine posted in Basic.) I let that sink into my […]

  • Nicole Axelrod
    Posted at 20:23h, 14 January Reply

    Hi lovely! I love watching you on the Bachelor! I too developed late onset cystic acne and like most women out there was put on the “bandaid” of Medicine-the dreaded birth control! It cleared up the cystic acne but then started taking its toll on my digestive system after a few years so I had to stop and boom all the cysts came right back! I’d heard from a friend about the miracles of drinking raw apple cider vinegar and though ok ill try anything! Those cysts that used to take 3 weeks to heal were gone in 3 days and no more returned! The only change I made was drinking 2 spoon fulls of Apple cider vinegar mixed with warm water (that I steeped raw ginger root in) and Fresh lemon juice(all in all about 2 shots worth of liquid totaly), and a month later my skin is the clearest it’s been since before puberty! The key is the apple cider vinegar has to be raw, unpasteurized with “the mother”, there is a brand called Brags you can get at health food stores AND you must drink it first thing in the morning before any food. It’s truly a miracle cure and does so much more than just help your skin! It gives you energy, helps with allergies, acid reflux and helps you lose weight(not that you need too!)

    • Lisa
      Posted at 15:15h, 13 February Reply

      Love this post…so on point! I am currently on Doxycline, Spironolactone, Tri Sprintec, and Retin- A. It cleared up my skin in a few months as well. The clarisonic is a god send. I totally relate to all of this. I will definitely try out the Tarte serum. Thanks for sharing Ashely! 

  • Liah
    Posted at 04:48h, 27 January Reply

    When you stepped out the limo I thought, “Chris seems absolutely mesmerized by her beauty”. He probably doesn’t see women who look like her in Iowa.

    Big ups to you for sharing story on cystic acne. I barely took pix when I was going through it in 2008. I’m so glad my mom encouraged me to visit the dermatologist. My confidence is slowly starting to increase with the Doxy and Clyndamycin. Now if only if I could get a handle on this whole makeup thing. I never used it as an enhancer before. Just as a tool to supress the ugliness of unfortunate acne.

  • Deanarys
    Posted at 08:45h, 27 January Reply

    I know this doesn’t have much to do with the post, but I’ve been obsessed with the bachelor ever since i saw you on there, your so fucking pretty! I’m jealous and i look up to you cause i understand the makeup struggle of feeling other people judging you because you wear makeup, I hope you stay on the bachelor cause your basically the main reason i watch the show.. haha but Chris totally doesn’t deserve a girl like you. just saying much lots of luck with your journey! xx

  • perfectlyyyimperfecttt
    Posted at 20:41h, 29 January Reply

    I have a question about acne scars, did you have any treaments done because I had horrible hormonal acne in my teen years & still do but not as bad.. 🙁 the worst part is the scars they left – all along the sides of my cheeks. help

    • ashleyiaconetti
      Posted at 20:48h, 29 January Reply

      Do you use RetinA? It’s good at removing scars over time. The Fraxel laser is expensive, but made for removing this.

  • Lyndsey
    Posted at 14:23h, 10 February Reply

    Hi Ashley! I’m so happy I came across this, as I’ve struggled with Cystic Acne what seems like forever, and have even done a round of Acutane, with no hope. I have couple questions for you? I have taken Doxycycline and Spironolactone in the past, but seperate, not together. Are you taking both together and the birth control? Also the topicals that you mentioned (1% Clindamycin Phosphate and .025% Tretinoin Gel) were these prescribed by your dermatologist and not over the counter?

    • ashleyiaconetti
      Posted at 01:04h, 11 February Reply

      Hi!! Yes I’m on all of it currently. It’s quite a routine, but it keeps me clear most of the time. Everything is a prescription from the derm. I understand the struggle. It’s an awful feeling. I have been very close to doing acutane a couple of times.

  • Lindsey LaVelle
    Posted at 23:45h, 11 February Reply

    I just wanted to share with you Jan Marini Skin Care System, I’ve done everything you could think of for my acne growing up even did Accutane twice eeek… I finally found the right esthetician who introduced me to Jan Marini Products and it 100% cured my acne and took my skin to a whole other level and I’ve never felt so beautiful in my own skin before until now. Just thought I’d share with you, it can be a bit pricey for some, but its worth the investment for anyone struggling with acne, I believe in it 100%, I’ve got my whole family and a lot of girlfriends to get on the system and they all love it as well.

  • Lisa
    Posted at 17:31h, 13 February Reply

    Love this post…so on point! I am currently on Doxycline, Spironolactone, Tri Sprintec, and Retin- A. It cleared up my skin in a few months as well. The clarisonic is a god send. I totally relate to all of this. I will definitely try out the Tarte serum. Thanks for sharing Ashely! 🙂

  • haley
    Posted at 06:28h, 19 February Reply

    Hi Ashley!!! I adore you and your looks. I was wondering how do you get you skin so tan? Huge fan of tanning lol 🙂

  • Stephanie
    Posted at 23:38h, 04 March Reply

    I knew this was why I liked you! I am also a JMU/Jersey girl (graduated in 2013) 🙂 This was my first time watching the bachelor and to be honest, I can’t believe how hooked I became. I loved your makeup on the show, and it i find it so hard to believe that you struggled with cystic acne, like myself. Although I am able to cover up pretty well with makeup, i agree with you, its both frustrating and devastating to not have a naturally clear face. I am currently taking tri-sprintec, 100 mg of spironolactone, but i have been off of the antibiotic for about a month. I’m about 4 months into this regimen, and my acne has decreased by about 90%, and now all thats left are those nasty scars. (no taylor swift reference intended, haha.) Have you been consistently on the antibiotic? If so, how long? Any other suggestions for decreasing the scars? (currently using tea tree oil and Vitamin E) Thanks!

    • ashleyiaconetti
      Posted at 03:40h, 15 March Reply

      Sounds like we have the same skin. We are certainly being treated the same way. It really does work, however I’ve been on an antibiotic for probably too long. Every time my derm tries to ween me off of it, my skin freaks out. :/

  • Sarah
    Posted at 02:51h, 11 March Reply

    Hi Ashley, I was wondering if you could share the recipe for your homemade cream that you mentioned on the live chat. Thanks!

  • Cecilia
    Posted at 18:12h, 13 March Reply

    Hi Ashley
    Loved you on the bachelor and just discovered your awesome blog! I watched the interview you did with Michelle Money and some of the other girls from your season. In the video it was mentioned by Jillian that you had a mystery cream that you made yourself, but you never showed it and what was in it. Can you please make a blogpost about your mystery cream or share here what’s in it?? 🙂
    Thanks for sharing great tips Cecilia! 🙂

  • Kelly p
    Posted at 22:35h, 14 August Reply

    Beyond excited to FINALLY start my new routine.
    Thank you!!!

    (Btw, my aunt worked on your teeth! Carol Beek)

    • ashleyiaconetti
      Posted at 22:34h, 20 August Reply

      CAROL!!!! What a wonderful lady! 🙂 Miss her a lot!

  • Pingback:From Boulders to Beautiful | Duchess Kimberly
    Posted at 12:34h, 15 October Reply

    […] detailed my process in my first blog entry Basic. Since that post over 16 months ago I’ve gotten so many more comments about my clear skin. […]

  • Pingback:My Skin Was Lookin’ Fleek… | Duchess Kimberly
    Posted at 02:43h, 25 March Reply

    […] Mia 2 over a year ago because the bristles were too rough and over exfoliated my sensitive, Retin-A exposed skin. I thought the Foreo Luna would be a good alternative because it has the vibrating function of the […]

  • Pingback:Ok, Now I Get What All The Fuss Is About | Duchess Kimberly
    Posted at 22:18h, 05 April Reply

    […] years I’ve had this blog I’ve switched up my skincare process a few times, but kept my prescriptions and Pan Oxyl wash as constants. I really thought I had my skincare process down pat this past year […]

  • Pingback:Let Me Help You
    Posted at 19:12h, 21 October Reply

    […] I’ve mentioned before on this blog how horrendous my skin used to be. Five years ago, I had cystic acne all over my face predominately in the chin/jaw area. If you don’t have bad acne, you probably don’t understand the emotional and social suffering that comes along with it. There were a few months were I didn’t even want to make eye contact with people. I never felt pretty and confident. My friends with clear skin would try to suggest things to help and it would make me feel even more frustrated. I have so few photos from this time period, because I would refuse to be in front of a camera during this portion of my life. For one really embarrassing photo of when my skin was actually clearing up, click my first ever blog post HERE. […]

  • Abby
    Posted at 20:58h, 13 November Reply

    I use retinA and it clears up acne, but it leaves me with dry skin that just feels like it’s peeling all the time and makes my makeup look horrible and dry. Any recommendations on lotions to put on to prevent this?

  • Julie
    Posted at 15:11h, 24 March Reply

    hi ashley! thanks for this post, it’s nice to know i’m not the only one struggling with this!! do you have a dermatologist recommendation for the Northern VA area?? i know you’re originally from here. I live in Arlington and am seriously struggling with really bad cheek/chin acne all of the sudden at age 26. it’s the worst! Been going to a derm in Ballston who has me on 100 mg of Spironolactone, which seemed to make it worse. last visit all she did was up it to 150 mg … if you know a great one in the area plz let me know!

  • Haley Gottshall
    Posted at 22:49h, 22 January Reply

    Hi Ashley,

    I know this was posted a while ago, but I recently started having cystic acne for the first time in my life at 24 🙁 I just started aczone in the AM, retin a in the pm pm, 25mg of spironolactone (3 times a day), and doxycycline twice a day. I noticed that any hyperpigmentation I had from acne in the past half of year has become so obvious on my face (after it previously was almost faded). I know retin a is supposed to help with hyperpigmentation/ acne scarring but curious to hear if you had any issues with the dark pigmentation spots coming to light more in the first few weeks due to the redness/irritation/peeling of skin?

    Also curious if you used it every night to start? I used it three nights in a row and had extreme redness not just peeling even with moisturizer so I’m thinking about scaling back to every other night until my skin adjusts.

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