How I Cleared My Acne-Prone Skin - Steph Osmanski
After years of dealing with acne-prone, oily skin, I decided to take a skincare test. The results have been life-changing! Find out the latest changes to my daily skincare routine for acne-prone skin.
skin, clear, acne, skincare, mario badescu
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how i cleared my acne prone skin

How I Cleared My Acne-Prone Skin

When it comes to clearing my skin, I’ll try anything once. In fact, I’ll even try it twice. I’ve written a lot about my myriad skincare routines for acne-prone skin, but now at 26, I think I’ve finally mastered it. At least for now.


Two things happened to motivate me to switch up my routine. First, I was going to a dermatologist who was prescribing all kinds of different pills for my acne. I very quickly became disenchanted with this method. One of the pills he prescribed me wasn’t to be mixed with any kind of calcium, so I had to watch what I ate an hour before and after swallowing the acne pill. That meant no coffee in the AM — no almond milk in my morning cereal. It was super frustrating and I grew tired of it quickly. Not to mention, it wasn’t even working. At least not with results that made the sacrifices worth it. I was still experiencing deep, cystic white-heads that were painful to the touch.


At that point, what was the medication even doing? So I took matters into my own hands. The second thing that happened was that I downloaded ThinkDirty. It’s an app that allows you to search your various beauty products, then it comes back with a report on what kinds of ingredients are found in those products. The report rates products on carcinogenicity, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and allergies and immunotoxicities. When I ran my bathroom shelf products on that app, I was mortified when most of them scored a 9+ or higher. (Cetaphil cleanser, I’m looking at you.) So I decided to change things for the sake of my skin and my overall health.


(Photo by @makeupby.n.b)

Somehow — probably thanks to the magic of ads — I found myself taking a skincare analysis quiz on Mario Badescu‘s website. I took the quiz, answering as true to reality as the parameters of one such quiz allow. I entered my email and got my results: Enzyme Cleansing Gel, Drying Lotion, Vitamin C Serum, Oil Free Moisturizer with SPF 17, Drying Mask (among a few others that I didn’t feel the need to purchase). 

So why did this skin analysis quiz differ from all the others I’ve taken in the past just to pass the time (and because it was free)? It was different this time because the products I was recommended actually made sense for my skin. More recently, I’ve been dabbling in getting professional facials done once a month. My facial specialist had told me many times that for my skin, I needed to use a serum with Vitamin C (since now in my late 20s, I’m experiencing hyper-pigmentation and scarring). She also mentioned getting a cleanser with enzymes because enzymes deep clean and aid in de-shining oily-prone skin. Keep reading for a more in-depth analysis of each product I use (some Mario Badescu, some not) and why it works!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post by Mario Badescu. I did not get paid to write this review. I really use each of these products and below is an honest review of each.

Enzyme Cleansing Gel

The Enzyme Cleansing Gel contains extract from papaya and grapefruit, which is great for targeting spots. It’s a non-foaming cleanser, which I really like because it nixes most of the mess around the sink and on your face. The gel really deep cleans my face and leaves it feeling fresh and super soft after using it twice a day, once in the morning and once at night.

Thayers Lavender Witch Hazel Toner

I pour a small amount of this witch hazel on a cotton swab and swipe it on my face. It’s a natural astringent, the lavender smells amazing on my face, and it’s not as harsh as some other chemical-filled toners on the market. The natural tannins in witch hazel make it great for removing excess oils from the face. When it comes to toner, I prefer to keep things natural and simple and for me, using witch hazel as a toner does the trick.


Vitamin C Serum

Vitamin C, I’ve learned from getting facials, is apparently super important when it comes to restoring marks made from hyper-pigmentation and acne scarring. I never had this issue until my mid-20s. Now, I notice myself using the purple color corrector concealer more than the green. (Purple is for scars, green is for redness).I use the Vitamin C Serum not as a spot-treatment but I slather it on all over my face. It makes my skin feel smooth and over time, it eliminates the darkness from acne scars by brightening up all areas of my face.

Oil Free Moisturizer with SPF 17

I was an avid Avon moisturizer user until I ran my favorite product on the app Think Dirty. When I saw how high my favorite cream ranked on carcinogenicity, I bailed and switched to Mario. The Oil Free Moisturizer is a basic moisturizer — odorless and completely without any frills. It works super well, it’s not too thick or too thin, and it goes on easily, with a nice, creamy texture. It doesn’t make my skin more oily and it definitely protect my skin from getting too dry. Oh, and not to mention, it has SPF, which is essential if you’re going outdoors.


Medicine cabinet essentials. (#RP @beautybyannaleise)

A post shared by Mario Badescu Skin Care (@mariobadescu) on

Drying Lotion

You’ve probably heard about this one! If I have to recommend anything from Mario Badescu line, it would be the drying lotion, which is formulated with salicic acid and calamine lotion. You don’t shake the Drying Lotion bottle, just dip a Q-tip into the acid and then into the pink calamine solution that lives at the bottom. Apply it to spots, leave it overnight. It does wonders! I literally wake up the next morning and my spots are gone.

Drying Mask

I have more conflicting feelings about the Drying Mask and that’s because of the smell. It’s disgusting. It’s really, truly horrible. I have to be honest about that. It just doesn’t smell nice. But it works! I really like the way this mask goes on smoothly and starts to crack by the time it’s dry. I always know exactly when to take it off. It leaves my skin feeling super soft, which for this often-bumpy face, is nothing short of a miracle. For now, I’ll sacrifice my nostrils for a product that does a good job.

For more, watch the video below!


Steph Osmanski
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