My Journey to Clear Skin – Part One – Paula’s Choice SkinCare

Lately I’ve been making some changes to my skin care routine and diet in an effort to have clear skin once and for all. If you’ve been around my blog for a while you’ll know that I struggle with occasional breakouts. Do I need a more targeted skin care routine? Is it caused by a food intolerance? Are my breakouts hormonal? Are the ingredients in my makeup causing the problem? At this point I’m really unsure to the answer to all these questions, but I have been making serious strides to figure it out!

My plan is to tackle my possible skin saboteurs head on by addressing each possibility that I mentioned above. This post will be part one of a multi-part skin care series all about my journey to clear skin. I have already seen great results with the changes I’ve made so far and I am dying to share them with you!

Part One: Skin Care for Clear Skin

I’m kicking it old school here with a three-step system from Paula’s Choice. Admittedly it feels rather teenagery, but needs must people, needs must. To the system I added a separate moisturizer and a glycolic acid treatment for a once weekly deep exfoliation. Now, being that I am “ahem” in my late 30’s, I also want to focus on preventing signs of aging. It can be a true balancing act when you’re dealing with semi-mature, acne prone skin. There are not a lot of products on the market that are suited to handle both issues at the same time. But I have finally found some amazing multi-benefit products with Paula’s Choice! The system I’ve devised hits my issues from all angles, without overwhelming the skin by only applying treatments where I need them. And let me tell you it’s been working amazingly!


Paula's Choice Acne System

Three Step System – Clear Regular Strength Kit

The kit consists of a gentle, non-medicated cleanser – think like Cetaphil or Physoderm. The kind of cleanser that your dermatologist wishes you would use. An exfoliating, salicylic acid based toner – to clear any junk out of your pores. And finally a benzoyl peroxide treatment lotion – to heal breakouts and prevent new ones from forming. The principles are the same for many of these kinds of systems on the market. But I do feel that Paula’s Choice have an edge over their competitors.

For one thing their products are multi-faceted. After reading some descriptions, you’ll notice that one product will do the work of many. For example: the toner will help to prevent breakouts and minimize large pores, the lotion will reduce blemishes and fade red marks, the cleanser removes dirt and oil without causing dryness …… you get the idea. Another fab thing about the brand is that they are cruelty free, which is something everyone can appreciate!

I have found all of these products true to their claims. Totally non-irritating and gentle. I am amazed that the BP lotion is truly invisible under makeup, an incredible feat if you ask me. I have had next to no new breakouts since starting the system about a month ago and am actually starting to feel comfortable going out with no makeup. That really tells me that not only are my breakouts reduced, but also that my red marks from past breakouts have faded as well. And I am over the moon about that!


Paula's Choice Resist moisturizer and AHA 8% treatment gel

Treatment Products

Since the system does not come with a moisturizer, (which I need) I wanted to add one that wouldn’t undo all the hard acne fighting work that comes before it. So I thoroughly scoured the website and found just the thing in the Resist Anti-Aging Hydrator. An amazing gel-lotion formula that moisturizes so effectively without being greasy or heavy at all. Not only does it help with anti-aging it also helps to keep skin clear and fade discolourations. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for in a moisturizer for ages and I am so pleased to have finally found it!

I’ve been using the Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel as a once weekly treatment to really exfoliate my skin. I’ve been using glycolic acid treatments off and on for years and love the fresh, glowing effect that they give to the skin. So, when I saw that Paula’s Choice had multiple exfoliants to choose from, I couldn’t resist trying one.

If you’re a stranger to acid exfoliants they could sound a little intimidating. Acid = scary, right?!! But honestly they can be much more gentle than a physical scrub which can be very abrasive to your skin. Physical exfoliants can cause little micro tears to the skin that could potentially become a breeding ground for bacteria which in turn results in more acne. No bueno.

With the gels first application you may notice a slight prickly sensation that subsides rather quickly. From my experience that is totally normal for AHA’s. I apply a small amount (dime size) to my entire face and then follow with a serum and a mosturizer for a Sunday night treatment session. The next day my skin is radiant, smooth and prepped for the week. Needless to say I am a huge fan!

My Skin Care Routine

Next I would love to share with you my exact routine and how I use all these amazing products to their full potential. I do continue to use a few other anti-aging products, so I’ll fill you in about those as well. All the skincare mentioned is linked, so click away if your interested in learning more about them!


1: Cleanse skin with the Clear Pore Normalizing Cleanser

2: Tone with the Clear Regular Strength Exfoliating Solution

3: Apply Clear Regular Strength Skin Clearing Treatment to problem areas. For me that’s the lower part of my face, nostrils down.

4: Apply Lytera to upper half of the face, then allow the Treatment Lotion and Lytera to soak in and dry.

5: Moisturize with the Resist Clear Skin Hydrator and finally apply sunscreen.


1: Remove makeup with a Micellar water. I like this one from Simple.

2: Cleanse with the Clear Pore Normalizing Cleanser.

3: Tone with the Clear Regular Strength Exfoliating Solution.

4: Apply Lytera to entire face.

5: Mix the SkinMedica Retinol Complex with the Resist Clear Skin Hydrator and apply to entire face.

Treatment Night (once a week)

1: Follow steps 1 and 2 from PM routine.

2: Apply the Skin Perfecting AHA 8% Gel to the entire face.

3: Apply the Ordinary HA 2% +B5 serum (read more about this amazing serum here) and the Resist Clear Skin Hydrator.

∗ It’s important to note that when using the glycolic acid treatment you do not apply the Lytera and Retinol as well. That would be all together too irritating to the skin and could cause redness and major sensitivity. I even forgo the toner on my treatment nights.

Besides acne and anti-aging, Paula’s Choice carry products for every skin concern. I highly recommend them if you’re in the need for something new!

Stay tuned for the continuation of my clear skin journey. Up next, I’ll go over the changes I’ve been making to my diet. All in the name of clear skin! xo