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Kelly McGrath

My Skincare Routine for Hormonal Acne & Hyper-pigmentation

01/27/2018 1 Comments

Hello, friends! Last week I ran a poll over on my Instagram stories asking if you would like an updated skincare routine, and was met with a resounding yes! Like most people out there, I have spent a lot of time trying different products and approaches to treat my hormonal acne. Unfortunately acne is not one size fits all, and trying multiple products can get not only tiring but expensive. Over the past two+ months I’ve been on a new routine that is yielding great results, so I wanted to share those new products with you!

Before I get into the products I also want to give you a little insight into my research and the conversations I’ve had with some specialists regarding my skin. A month or two before Christmas I had reached my breaking point with my skin. After months of failed attempts with less expensive options, I decided that I was willing to fork over some extra cash if it meant getting results. So I contacted a local specialist to discuss some new treatments.

I tried my first ever facial/spa day in Ireland last year and had excellent results, so I wanted her opinion on which kind of facial would be best to treat my acne and scarring. While there were dozens of avenues and treatments available, she informed me that a facial wouldn’t provide the long term results I was looking for. It was more like a bandaid, masking the problem but never fixing it at the source.

We started to talk about alternatives like laser treatments (specifically the IPL Photo Facial), and chemical peels. As she explained how each treatment worked I started to wonder what I was getting myself into. While the pictures and explanations for the IPL seemed promising, the idea of a laser pulsing through my skin kind of freaked me out.

As for the chemical peel route, it was going to take up to 6 months of invasive and sometimes painful treatments. She also warned that my skin would become dry and get extremely flakey. I am in two weddings this year, so I quickly ruled that out as well. The other factor was cost; each of these options was going to run around $1000 or above. Unfortunately this is far more than I can afford to spend right now.

I was starting to feel like there was nothing I could do. She must have sensed my frustration, because she offered to put together a new skincare routine for me to try instead. Like I said at the beginning, I went into this knowing that I was likely going to have to spend some money for results. I have tried every budget skincare product out there, and while I have seen subtle improvements nothing has really impressed me.

While I didn’t purchase all of the products she had recommended, I walked home with a wealth of knowledge, information packets for the IPL and chemical peel options, and plenty of new products to try. It has been nearly three months since I picked up the products and I have already seen AMAZING results, most notably in regards to my redness and scarring. There are a few real “splurges” in my current routine, but my favorite is the Retinol Cream. If you are going to look into any of these products I discuss, look into that one.

Without further ado, here is a list of my new favorite skincare products and an updated routine for you all!



I always use a light, non-drying cleanser. At the moment I am using this Drunk Elephant Pekee Bar for my morning cleansing. It doesn’t leave any residue or soapy substances on my skin and is really gentle. This product uses three main ingredients: Marula oil, blueberry extract, and honey. Marula oil is high in Omegas 6 and 9 which hydrate and protect the skin. Blueberry extract and honey work together to soothe and nourish the skin. This combination is really lovely in the mornings, and this is definitely my favorite cleanser I’ve ever used.


I can’t say enough about this serum! I had seen it advertised in many magazines and Youtube videos, so I went in with high expectations. This product is designed to brighten and firm up the skin. It also helps protect the skin from pollution and photoaging with its antioxidant complex. This serum uses Vitamin E, Ferulic Acid, and L-Ascorbic Acid. It goes on light, and leaves my face feeling tighter and clean without drying it out. I will also combine it with the Drunk Elephant Hydration Gel if I feel I need extra moisture.


This ReBalance Moisturizer is one of the products I picked up while at the skin and body spa. It’s been three months and have really liked it so far! In the past I’ve had difficulty finding a moisturizer that keeps my skin hydrated without clogging pores or making my face oily. This stuff is true to the name and totally rebalances my skin with no oily residue. Since I started using it I’ve noticed that my T-zone remains oil free throughout the day, and I think controlling my oil production has been essential in keeping the acne at bay.


My favorite is still the Olay All Day Moisture with SPF 20. I’ve been using this product since high school and it is my go-to daily sunscreen. In the summertime I will apply a more heavy duty sunscreen like the Neutrogena Oil Free, but I never leave the house without SPF on my face. If you have any SPF suggestions, please let me know below. I am always looking to upgrade my sunscreen products!


This has honestly been the best thing for me. Letting my skin breath has helped so much, and I promise it’s not as scary as it sounds. I used to worry that people would only look at my acne instead of me, but that’s simply not the case. Going makeup free has also done wonders for my confidence levels. I still wear some eye makeup, but I leave the rest of my skin as naked as I can. I’ve also stopped picking at pimples, and avoid touching my face. Along with those suggestions, I regularly wash my pillow case and try to clean my phone as often as I can.




This JuJu cleansing bar provides many of the same benefits of the Pekee bar. It doesn’t strip my skin of its natural oils, and leaves it feeling fresh and hydrated. This product has Marula Oil and Bamboo Powder in it, which work to hydrate the skin and gently exfoliate any dead skin cells. A lot of hormonal acne is caused by oil becoming trapped beneath the surface, so the exfoliation factor is excellent for preventing future breakouts. I personally prefer exfoliating at night, and this product serves as a cleanser and exfoliator in one. It is not abrasive at all, and sort of feels like very fine sand against the skin. It’s really a great product. My skin feels SO CLEAN when I’m finished and unlike other exfoliants, I can use this daily!


I love using this product right after exfoliating with the Juju bar. It uses Vitamin B5 to hold hydration to the outer layer of the skin, which is supposed to help with firmness and wrinkle prevention. While I can’t testify to the wrinkle prevention, I can attest to the moisture levels this product provides. It slides on evenly and with a light finish, almost like water over the skin. I also apply it to my neck and chest before bed time. The end result is soft and supple skin in the mornings. This is a great product and one of my favorites.


This stuff is THE BEST product I have picked up. While it is definitely more expensive at $109, this tube will easily last me 4-5 months. I use this every other night before bed and it has significantly faded my hyper pigmentation. I’ve also noticed that my acne flare ups heal much faster since I began using this product. Retinol in general can be slightly irritating to sensitive skin, so it is advised that you start with using this product only twice a week. From there you can work your way up to every other night or every night if you’d like. I didn’t find this irritating at all! If you buy one thing from this post, it should be this product right here!


On the nights I use the PCA Retinol Treatment, I will apply another layer of my ReBalance moisturizer instead of the B-Hyrda Gel. The Retinol is a strong enough product on it’s own, so I try to not pack on too many extras. PCA Skincare does have a night time cream, but I have no issues whatsoever with using this product at night. After applying an intensive treatment like Retinol it is very important that your skin has enough moisture. Because of its light, oil free ingredients, this ReBalance moisturizer is the perfect partner with my Retinol treatment.


Tea Tree oil is THE BEST spot treatment option, and it works better than any acne medication I’ve used. If I do have a breakout or can feel a pimple starting to develop, I will mix two drops of tea tree oil into my moisturizer and apply it all over my face. If it is only one pimple, I will use it as a spot treatment and apply with a q-tip.


If I’m not using the tee tree oil, then I’ll mix two drops of lemon essential oil into my moisturizer. This works as a natural brightening agent due to it’s high Vitamin C content. This is a great way to help fade acne scarring and hyper-pigmentation as well. I haven’t been doing this since I began using the C-Firma Serum, but its a great option if you can’t afford the Drunk Elephant product!


Many of the Drunk Elephant products I use come in travel sizes, which are perfect for sampling. If you aren’t willing to commit to an $80 bottle of the Serum before giving it a try, the travel size bottle is the perfect place to start. That’s what I did, and the products lasted me nearly two months despite their small size!


I hope these suggestions can be of help to some of you! As always, feel free to leave me a comment with any questions.

*All of the products listed in this post were purchased by myself. None of the listed products have been gifted to me for the sake of this post, and I genuinely believe in them! While this post does contain affiliate links, it has not be sponsored by any of the brands listed above. 




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