The Unexpected Acid That's Totally Transforming My Acne-Prone Skin

If you've read Face Mask & Chill before (or watched on our weekly Instagram Story), you know that I've struggled with acne for a long, long time. It started in elementary school with tiny whiteheads that would pop up around my hairline, turned into giant pimples that appeared every time I got my period, and has currently found a sort of peace as really deep, really embarrassing acne scars. Like most teenagers in the early 2000s, I turned to skincare that burned the hell out of my face. I'm talking those three-step-kits that were loaded with powerful acids that burned, exfoliant that left my skin raw, and bleaching products that turned my towels white.

I was convinced that to get clear skin, I just needed to scrub all of the bad out and scare it away and cause it enough pain for the acne to run screaming.

Luckily, I realized that wasn't the right approach.

The early 2000s came and left (TG, honestly), and soon I started seeing articles popping up about how maybe the solution to getting happier, glowier skin was just being nicer to it. It seems so weird that I never came to that conclusion on my own (like... duh), but it took a lot of research and a lot of proof from my fellow internet skincare obsessives for me to put down the super intense zit murderers and try a newer technique: kindness.

One of the main parts of this transition was me making the switch from harsh, drying products to soft, soothing products. I became the queen of moisturizers, slathering them on morning and night, and even sometimes in the middle of the day just to be sure that I'd made my skin as happy as possible. 

But only recently did I realize that moisturizing and hydrating your skin are two different things. Apparently, moisturizers help lock moisture into skin, while hydrating products actually straight up increase the water content in your skin to begin with. So while I was moisturizing TF out of my skin, I was missing the crucial step of hydrating.

And that's when I learned about the great acid love of my life: hyaluronic acid. 

So what was it about this magical hyaluronic acid thing that rocked my world so much? The fact that it can attract up to 1000 times its weight in water, hydrating the hell out of your skin and making your moisturizing efforts way more effective. After all, what was the point of all that slathering if I wasn't doing it right? 

Here are some of my fave hyaluronic acid products, because yes, I really do use it EVERY SECOND OF EVERY DAY:

1. The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 ($6.80)

This is pretty much your essential intro to hyaluronic acid. It's super simple, it's paired with B5 (another yum from the skin), and it's easy to apply. Just press into cleansed skin, and you're good to go. Also, this is very, very affordable compared to a lot of products and yet still so very high quality, making it a genius intro to hyaluronic acid. 

2. patchology Restoring Night CloudMasque ($40)

For when I'm exhausted or I ate too much chocolate or I've just generally been treating my body like crap, this has quickly become a go-to. Slather, sleep, wake up a little bit prettier. Also, it makes me feel like a fancy lady.

3. Trilogy Replenishing Night Cream ($57)

This stuff is THICK, in the best way. Winter makes my skin peel in weird and unexpected ways and this helps with that. I like to layer it over The Ordinary's acids to really treat my skin, and to also just keep it around during the day for when no one's going to see me so it's cool if I'm a little shinier than usual. Pricey? Yes. I tend to use it 3x a week or as needed, because I'd like it to last as looong as possible.

So those are some of my fave hyaluronic acid products. Am I totally acne free? Honestly, no. But I do feel more comfortable in my skin, and there's also just something nice about paying attention to yourself and your body and what it needs. For me, it's hyaluronic acid, and also just being kinder to my body. I'm sure my skin appreciates being soothed instead of scorched day in and day out. Sorry, younger me. 

Want more skincare wisdom? Follow @HerCampusBeauty on Facebook, and tune into @HerCampus on Instagram every week for Face Mask & Chill! 

Rachel is the Social Media Editor of Her Campus. She graduated from Elon University in 2015 where she wrote for Her Campus's Elon chapter as well as the national LGBTQ+ section, and has since held editorial positions at Hello Giggles and Brit + Co along with running social media for Feather Magazine and Religion News Service. She is located in North Carolina, where she lives with her partner and their much-photographed tortie kitten. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @RachelCharleneL.

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