“It’s better,” they said when I was in high school. But apparently they weren’t talking about acne, because sometimes it’s not. Or sometimes it does for a decade, then one wrong move (change of medication, new laundry detergent, forgetting to ask for oat milk at Starbucks), and you’re back to square one.
I used to have mild acne when I was a teenager, enough to make me dread going to class and beg my parents to spend hundreds of dollars on a Proactiv membership. It was painful and inflexible, and it didn’t help that I never drank water or used skincare. But after a while (and with care and diligence – certainly not magic), in my mid-twenties, it gradually faded.
And then I changed my medication a few months before my 32nd birthday. About a month after the change, I started getting blemishes on my cheeks and jawline, and my dermatologist told me hormones were probably the culprit. So I added Peter Thomas Roth Goodbye Acne Complete Acne Treatment Gel ($42) into my routine, and now my blemishes are gone in 48 hours flat.
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Whenever my pimples decide to appear, I finish my afternoon routine by dabbing them with a ladybug-sized amount of Goodbye Acne, and after two days they are visibly reduced. Unlike other acne treatments I’ve tried in the past, this one doesn’t leave my skin red and angry, and that’s thanks to its gentle (but effective) formula. It features salicylic acid (2%), a beta hydroxy acid that helps eliminate current breakouts and prevent future ones. “BHAs encourage exfoliation, helping to prevent and treat clogged pores,” David Lortscher, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Curology, told us earlier. “Salicylic acid works by penetrating and loosening the grime (sebum) in your pores, so it’s no longer trapped, reducing the chances of triggering an acne breakout.”
It also contains time-released retinol (1%), which unclogs pores, vitamin C, which brightens, and pantothenic acid, which evens skin texture. The icing on the cake ? Goodbye Acne is formulated with aloe vera, which hydrates and soothes the skin.
Dr. Rachel Nazarian, MD, FAAD, and a board-certified dermatologist spoke to us, telling us, “This is a good example of well-chosen ingredients,” and specifically raved about time-release retinol. “It’s something I love for improving the appearance of pores, wrinkles, fine lines, and discoloration, but in a time-release version; it minimizes the dryness caused by regular retinol,” she says. . In all? “It’s about offsetting side effects with ingredients that improve skin resilience and resistance,” she adds.
While most acne products I’ve tried have a gel texture, Goodbye Acne blends into the skin like a moisturizer or serum. I also don’t wake up with a flaky, dried product on my face, just reduced redness and inflammation. Although it’s an intense formula (dermists warn against using salicylic acid and retinoids if you have sensitive skin, as it can cause irritation), it doesn’t sting when you apply it, which is a definite advantage.
Sephora shoppers seem to love Peter Thomas Roth’s Goodbye Acne Treatment as much as I do. A customer says“This treatment is literally the only thing that solved my hormonal acne. [comedones], and this thing really gets rid of upside-down buttons. Showed me a huge difference in ONE WEEK! No kidding! I’m so glad I found this product! If you struggle with hormonal acne and have painful acne, you need this!”
Another praised its gentle formula, which can be hard to find in an acne treatment: “This product is strong but still gentle. It doesn’t cause any sensitivity or irritation. I definitely noticed a change for the best in my skin, so I am a very happy camper!”
Over-the-counter acne treatments may not always work for hormonal flare-ups. “If over-the-counter medications aren’t enough, see a dermatologist for treatments that specifically target hormonal acne (like the recently FDA-approved Winlevi topical cream, oral spironolactone, or birth control pills),” board-certified dermatologist. Cybele Fishman, MD with Advanced Dermatology PC previously told W+G.
So far, however, Goodbye Acne has worked for me and will be part of my routine forever.
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