Chicago-based, board-certified dermatologist Caroline Robinson, MD, got through high school and college relatively unscathed by acne, with just some blackheads and whiteheads on her cheeks and forehead. But after she got pregnant (she has two kids), the real battle began. “My skin seemed to change completely during and after my pregnancies,” she says. “I was drier in some areas, my breakouts were more inflamed, and I developed post-acne dark marks.” (She says one of the toughest things about acne during pregnancy is that she wasn’t able to use retinoids, so she kept things simple and focused on products that helped to protect the skin barrier.) Now, a prescription retinoid helps to keep her blemish-free and she focuses her routine on products that hydrate her dry skin and treat the post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation caused by her adult acne bouts. 

Her Routine 

Cleanser: Acne sufferers are already dealing with an impaired barrier, so a cleanser that doesn’t exacerbate that issue is a must, according to Dr. Robinson. Her go-to is Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Gel Cleanser Fragrance Free. 

Treatment: In addition to a prescription retinoid (a tazarotene gel), Dr. Robinson is a big fan of skin-brightening antioxidant serums. Currently on her vanity: Skinbetter Even Tone Correcting Serum (“I love how lightweight the formula is and I have been through too many bottles of this stuff to count”) and Revision Skincare C+ Correcting Complex, which she calls “one of the most advanced vitamin C products on the market.”

Moisturizer: Dr. Robinson uses Humanrace Humidifying Face Cream. “This contains a blend of hyaluronic acid, squalane, and snow mushroom, and has been saving my face lately. It’s rich without being too greasy and it deeply hydrates,” she says.  

Sunscreen: A mineral-based, high-SPF sunscreen that’s truly invisible? Dr. Robinson says she’s found it in Skinbetter Tone Smart Lotion SPF 75. “This is my go-to daily sunscreen because of its oil-free, creamy lotion texture and ability to blend beautifully on all skin tones.”

Extras: “The Pat McGrath Labs [Divine Skin Rose 001] Essence has quickly become one of my favorites,” says Dr. Robinson. “It has a beautiful, lightweight, milky texture that gives skin a gorgeous glow.” She also likes Revision Skincare D.E.J Eye Cream, a multitasker that addresses hyperpigmentation and texture concerns with a peptide and vitamin C.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Fragrance Free Hydrating Cleansing Gel

SkinBetter Science Even Tone Correcting Serum

Revision Skincare C+ Correcting Complex

Humanrace Humidifying Face Cream

SkinBetter Science Tone Smart Lotion SPF 75

Pat McGrath Labs Divine Skin Rose 001 Essence

Revision Skincare D.E.J Eye Cream

Acne is hard — and when you’re an adult with acne, it can be especially frustrating when much of the information out there doesn’t take into account the nuances of treating it in adulthood. This story is part of Allure’s Adult Acne Guide, which includes the best tips and product recommendations for treating adult acne. From the products dermatologists use on their own breakouts to first-person reviews of the newest, most promising in-office treatments for stubborn hormonal acne, we’ve got you covered.

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