By Victoria Moorhouse
Updated Nov 06, 2017 @ 3:45 pm
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Courtesy; Getty

Our bodies ebb and flow, hormones change, and those internal shifts can bring along a series of really unfortunate side-effects. Namely, breakouts.

If my face-mapping knowledge is accurate, that’s what was going on with my chin. First, I noticed an unusual amount of blackheads, but clogged pores was just the start of it. One rogue (and red) zit popped up on the side of my chin, and nearly two days later, another popped up as the first was finally starting to heal. Full disclosure: I popped it, I shouldn’t have, and now I’m dealing with scarring.

Then, tiny baby whiteheads, that luckily never made it to the inflammation stages, started appearing next to the big ones. That was the final straw. I hadn't veered off the course of a healthy cleansing routine—my skin was just taking a turn for the worse, despite the morning and evening sessions with micellar water and moisturizer.

In a panicked effort, I took a trip into the InStyle Beauty vault and came across SkinCeuticals Purifying Cleanser ($34; I'm a fan of the brand due to its clinical and science-based approach to blending formulas to enhance the health of skin, and the word "purifying" definitely appeals to a woman who's pores are clogged with dirt, oil, and whatever else New York City air decides to house.

The cleanser's star ingredient is glycolic acid, which is an AHA that works to exfoliate the top layer of your skin from dead skin cells that could build up and further clog pores. You commonly see it in cleansing or exfoliating products in various percentages—the higher percent, the more intense exfoliation. It's also ideal for fading scars and hyperpigmentation, an issue I was dealing with because I can't stop myself from picking at my face when I'm stressed. It's an issue. I'm dealing with it.

VIDEO: Ask Dr. Pimple Popper

As someone with dry skin, sensitive skin, I worry about the stripping aspect of most cleansers, but this pH-balanced gel formula is also made with glycerin to keep skin moisturized while it's given a deep cleanse. I didn't want to disrupt (or redden) the skin on my cheeks, so I only gently massaged the foaming gel on my T-zone. I continued this treatment for a few days—morning and night—and my noticed a halt in the formation of new zits. Those tiny baby pimples and the blackheads that had taken up residence? Some were evicted. And with continued use—about two weeks—I noticed my usually blotchy chin's skin tone subtly evening out.

The panicked runs to the mirror in the morning have decreased, and I haven't had to load up on concealer to boost my confidence. I might not be able to totally control my hormone flow, but thanks to this little blue bottle, they definitely won't be able to hijack the clarity of my complexion.