How I Cured My Chest Acne: My Secret to Clear Skin

"To me, beauty is being comfortable in your own skin. 
It's about knowing and accepting who you are."
-Ellen Degeneres

Let's talk skin. 
I've had okay skin for most of my life - I didn't breakout like crazy during my teenage years, just zits here and there, and overall I've been blessed with pretty manageable to good skin...on my face that is. Sometime in college I started developing really bad chest acne. I've always struggled with back acne which I largely think is genetic and definitely a more prevalent issue but chest acne was new for me. I'm not sure what triggered it, but it prevailed for years and nothing made it go away. 

It was something I was extremely self-conscious about. Even though I hate having back acne, that is easy to hide either with clothes or with my hair. However, with my chest acne it was pretty much impossible to hide so I was always extremely self-aware whenever I wore anything low cut. I felt like it was ugly and un-feminine and honestly I was jealous of anyone who took their smooth, clear skin for granted. I didn't like putting makeup on it because it would often irritate my skin more and cause more breakouts so I just dealt with it and kept my long hair in front of it as much as possible. 

This photo was from a 2016 blog shoot, un-edited. As you can see, my chest was speckled with red spots. This photo doesn't really do it justice...but my chest was constantly itchy and irritated and red. I thought about it in all my clothing decisions, especially during the summer and even more so when I cut my hair short. It stressed me out when my hair was short and I wanted to wear an open back, strappy dress in the summer because how would I hide my blemishes?

 Back then, I'd spend ages editing photos like this one above to heal out every single one of the acne spots so I could have clear, perfect skin in my photos. It was deceptive but it was the only way I felt comfortable and confident. I tried everything - from the toners that had worked on my face to every kind of salicylic product possible (face wash, body wash, serums, etc.), to trying non-scented bar soaps for sensitive skin and using an exfoliating towel during my showers. If the product was advertised for acne, I tried it, and if someone said a method or a product worked for them, I bought it; it was a tireless effort but nothing helped. 

In came the Kate Somerville Anti Bac Clearing Lotion. I stumbled across this product one day while browsing the acne products section on Sephora. It had some pretty great reviews so I thought, why not give it a try? I'd never tried any other benzoyl peroxide products so I bought it. My expectations were that it would perform like the salicylic acid products I'd tried in the past, aka ineffective but I was so wrong. This stuff worked miracles! In a few weeks I started seeing drastic improvements in my skin, and with daily use my skin eventually cleared up.

So what is benzoyl peroxide? Benzoyl peroxide is a topical antiseptic most popularly used to treat acne. Unlike its friend salicylic acid, which a lot of people use for treating acne, benzoyl peroxide is better for acne that is inflamed and red with pustules (I know, gross word) vs. salicylic acid is better for treating black heads and white heads. While black heads and white heads are also considered acne, they're a different type of acne than the normal type of acne you picture when you think "acne". Knowing that now, it makes a lot of sense in hindsight why none of the salicylic acid products worked for me.

This stuff was truly a lifesaver for me. It gave me skin that I never thought I'd have again, and I've been a loyal customer since. If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know I rave about the Kate Somerville Anti Bac Clearing Lotion constantly. I've been buying this for years and I truly cannot live without it. This product was sold out on the internet for a period of time last year and I panicked. 

As you can see, my skin is still nowhere near perfect or blemish-free, but it's vastly improved and I'm happy with how far it's come. As you can see in these pictures, there's a couple red spots still which are just some marks that are still healing (I didn't touch these photos up at all), and that's normal for me. Once in awhile, I will get a pimple here or there but I don't let it bother me because I know where I started from. Lately, I've also been able to wean myself off of using this daily and now just maintain my skin with other products. However, I will say that I used this daily for around 2-3 years before I started decreasing my usage frequency. Prior to this, if I stopped using it for a few days I would start seeing breakouts again.

One forewarning if you are going to try this product - it will cause your clothes to change colors especially if you're wearing something dark...almost like if you had gotten bleach on your clothes. Obviously it will not have as potent effects of bleach, but if I'm wearing a black t-shirt after applying this it will cause very minimal fading which over a prolonged period of time will become more noticeable. To avoid ruining my regular clothes, I only put this on in the evenings. 

After seeing how effective this was for me, my sister started using it as well and now we both swear by this product. My sister also recommended it to a friend who has extremely bad face acne and she now cannot live without it either. I've used other products since, like PanOxyl, which is a popular benzoyl peroxide face and body wash. While I like PanOxyl, I've since discontinued using it (which means I didn't love) and just stick with my Kate Somerville Anti Bac

Like with everything, no product is a miracle product. You need to have a little patience to see results. But in all my years of buying skincare, this has been the only product that has stood the test of time. I buy this in multiples during the Sephora sale in fear of being without it. It's given me my confidence back and I've never been so grateful to be able to wear such an open neck slip dress like this without being embarrassed. I'd love to hear your skin journeys below or any of your holy grail items you can't live without!

What I'm Wearing:

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