My Skin Care Routine for Acne Prone Skin

Photography by Priscilla Frey

merricksart skincare

My tried and true skin care routine for acne prone skin. The tools and products I’ve used and loved that have changed my skin in the last year! 

Back in January I dubbed 2018 the Year of My Skin.

I’ve been trying a ton of things to help my problematic skin and get it in the best shape possible, and today I want to share some of my skin care routine for acne prone skin, and the products and tools that have helped shrink my pores, smooth my acne scarring, and minimize breakouts!

daily skincare routine


According to research, around the age of 30 your body starts producing less collagen, which is a nutrient that helps with the health and vitality of your skin, nails, hair, bones, joints, cartilage, etc.

I turned 30 last year, so I started taking this collagen peptides supplement to add more collagen back into my body.

Within a week of taking it every day, I noticed a fullness in my skin that hadn’t been there before. My knees also used to have some joint pain with running and would pop loudly all the time, and now they never do! The reviews on this stuff are crazy too — so many benefits of taking this.

I don’t take it every day (although I should), but when I do I take two scoops and I like to mix it in the blender with ice and orange juice (it makes an orange julius type of drink), toss it in my smoothie, or dissolve it in a cup of herbal tea. Lots of people put it in their morning coffee too!



My OBGYN recommended this supplement when I came in for a checkup and mentioned my hormonal acne. It’s an all natural supplement made from Cruciferous vegetables, and promotes estrogen metabolism, so it’s great for helping cystic and hormonal acne, as well as hormone related issues in menopause, like hot flashes, mood swings, etc. You can read more about it HERE.

I’ve been taking it every day for four months and since going on, my hormonal breakouts are small and minimal, and only come right before my period.

Two notes about this: when I first started taking it, I took it in the morning with breakfast, but it I found that it gave me headaches throughout the day. I switched to taking it in the evening with dinner and haven’t had a problem since. Also, it turns your urine orange. It was a little shocking at first, so just a heads up so you aren’t caught off guard!



I’d heard amazing things about derma rolling for increasing collagen, smoothing fine lines, smoothing acne scars, evening skin tone, etc, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

It’s a little terrifying to buy and use a roller covered with tiny needles, and I was mostly concerned about infections, but I watched a few youtube videos about properly washing and caring for them and that gave me confidence to use them safely.  I bought a bunch of bottles of isopropyl alcohol and I soak my roller for about 10 minutes before and after using, and I haven’t had any issues at all.

I do this treatment about twice a week, and I’ve noticed a big difference. I have some acne scars from pregnancy acne, and although they’re not gone, they’ve faded significantly and I’m hoping that regular rolling (plus additional professional microneedling treatments [I’ve done 3 already this year]) will smooth them completely.

I use the 0.25mm DERMA ROLLER and it’s only $16!



I’m such a believer in a good face cleanser. I used Tula’s face cleanser for a few months at the beginning of the year and then ran out, and instantly I noticed a difference. I just started using it again and I’m a believer.

It’s gentle, but your face feels so clean afterward, and it your skin doesn’t feel dry afterward, but all the gross stuff feels stripped off. And with over 300 five star reviews, I think that speaks for itself.

Use code MERRICKSUMMER to get 20% off!


PMD (Personal Microderm Device)

This is an awesome tool that uses suction and little microdermabrasion discs to exfoliate your skin. I got mine a few years ago, but hadn’t ever used it regularly. But I’ve started using mine once a week and have noticed a big difference when I’m regularly doing a deep exfoliation.

Also, right now the PMD is on sale!

I usually use the PMD and then follow with a face mask. THIS ONE from Tula is my favorite (you can use code MERRICKSUMMER for 20% off anything at!)



These are little two step kits with a chemical peel properties to give you an at home chemical peel. I’ve been using NEOSTRATA’S 2-STEP SKIN ACTIVE PERFECTING PEELS and love them.

I also just got these TULA TREATMENT PADS and they’re a similar idea, but a little less harsh. I’ve only used these twice, but so far I really like them.



These are far and away my favorite moisturizers. Tula’s Day and Night Cream is thick and intensely hydrating. It’s so good during the winter when my skin is dry and thirsty. It’s not heavy, but it’s thicker than the CR Sheer Renewal Cream.

The Sheer Renewal Cream is a super lightweight moisturizer that is perfect for everyday wear and amazing under makeup.

I use both of them for different reasons, and love both of them equally!


It’s interesting…when I came back to see my esthetician, after using a lot of these products regularly and not seeing her for four or five months, she immediately told me, “you have different skin now.”

It’s certainly not perfect yet, but it’s softer, smoother, less acne prone, has more elastic, and those pesky acne scars are on their way out.

I’d love to know if you have any beauty products you can’t live without — obviously I love trying new things!!

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  1. I’m totally going to have to try some of these products out because I feel like my acne is worse as an adult than it was as a teenager!


  2. Lia says:

    I just ordered the dim supplement from this same company this week! It will arrive tomorrow. I read a lot about it so i decided to give a try. I am glad to hear it works for you. I will look into the other ideas too! Tks!

  3. Sarah says:

    I’d like to start adding collagen to my diet, but I’m a vegetarian. Are there any vegetarian alternatives you’d recommend?

  4. Nicole says:

    Please share more about the derma roller! I So want to try using one but i have so many questions – do you use it on just parts of your face? do you use it after washing but before MOISTURIZING? how is your skin the next day? ever used it on your lips or stretch makrs?
    thanks so much!

    • Merrick says:

      I use it on my entire face and even my neck! I wash first so I have a clean face, and then put my retinol products on directly afterward (I will update this post to include my retinol favorites). Then I put the rest of my face products on (moisturizer and eye cream). My skin is actually great the next day! The first time I used it, my face was a little red the next day, but since then I haven’t had any issues. I haven’t used it on stretch marks, but I have on my lips but only once or twice, so I don’t really have an opinion about it one way or the other. I’ll have to try again and report back!

  5. SarahBeth says:

    I think you had previously posted that you used the vital proteins collagen peptides? Was there a reason you switched? I’ve used the vital proteins (and I need to get more collagen) and I’m wondering if you found a benefit to the other brand or something you liked better? Thanks!!

    • Merrick says:

      I ran out of my other one and have just started using this one — I haven’t seen a difference, but this one had great reviews so I thought I’d try it!

  6. Heidi says:

    This is so informative and helpful! Acne scars are the only thing more frustrating then the acne itself!! The one that surprised me is that you don’t use any retinol or retin-a. That helps prevent wrinkles and FADes acne scars so much thean any other ingredient, I would really recommend adding retinol to your night routine.

    • Merrick says:

      I do use several products with retinol and I have a prescription retinol — should have mentioned those! I use more products beyond these, these are just some of my top ones. I’ll have to update it — thanks for mentioning that!

  7. Alisha says:

    These all sound great! You always find such great products. I’ve been curious about a derma roller. I am LOVING the new Joyome by Plexus. I want products made with safe ingredients for my skin that are effective and this has proven to be so. these types of products are so hard to find!! It’s only been out a few months, but I’m seeing it pop up in lots of magazines and people’s before and afters are crazy. It’s simple too and I’m a no nonsense girl. 1 day serum / 1 night serum and that’s it except for washing my face! I always thought that as an adult I wouldn’t have acne issues, but nope – you just get to add sun spots, wrinkles, oversized pores, and puffiness LOL!

    • Merrick says:

      haha yes, adulting comes with its own issues! So annoying 😉 Thanks for the recommendation of Joyome – I’ll look into it!

  8. Teresa says:

    Oh goodness, you should just try a retinol or retinoid product. I am surprised your esthetician has not recommended this. i am 53 and have been using one since I was around 30 and also had the horrible hormONAL BREAKOUts. My skin really looks amazing and I do attribute it to this product. So many companies now make retinol based products, skinceuticals is a fabulous line that is dermatologist recommended and they sell a wonderful retinol (try the lower % at first) that would be good to try til you get used to it. It does make your skin mildly peel and a bit red in the beginning, but that is how you unclog the pores, exfoliate, and fade the acne scars. if you want to try a retinoid, You can get differin gel over the counter at any pharmacy. It used to be a prescription and is now available Otc. It is the more mild one. Then they go up to retin-A and then tazorac (these need a prescription). I would highly recommend it. It takes a while to kick in but will transform your skin. and since you are so young, you will be preventing wrinkles as well as this is what these products also do.

    • Merrick says:

      Oh, I do have a prescription retinol product I use! I didn’t mention all the products I use cause this list would be a mile long — these were just a few of my favorites. Thanks for mentioning that one!

  9. Kathy says:

    would love to know where to get the cute robe you are wearing?

  10. Brit murdock says:

    Love these suggestions. I have similar problems to what you’ve mentioned regarding hormonal acne and pregnancy scars. Trying them all sounds a little overwhelming. Is there one of these products you would say has made the most difference? Love love love!

  11. Elizabeth Landrum says:

    I’m so glad I found this post – I’ve struggled with hormonal acne for TOO LONG. I’m ordering the Tula cleanser and moisturizer, collogen and the derma roller. Question with the DIM supplement – did your obgyn mention if it affect those taken birth control pills or who have an IUD? I have an IUD and am wondering if taking the DIM supplements would have any negative effects.

  12. Issie says:

    Hi Priscilla. Thank you for a great article. My niece has been struggled with hormonal acne. I order some acne treatments for here Could you give me suggestion about how teens take good care of facial skin? By the way, Thank you in advance for your sharing and I’ll try your way as well.

  13. BLair says:

    Hi Merrick, which of these items made the biggest improvement in your acne? Did you try any prescriptions for it? At 29 I’ve entered The adult acne phase much worse than my teen acne and this post was great!

  14. Karolina says:

    Hello Merrick,

    I’d personally recommend a derma roller. I’ve tried it and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.

    My skin has seen such a huge improvement – even my boyfriend noticed.

    Great tips, Merrick!

  15. miranda seldion says:

    Merrick, luckily haven’t been having any acne issues =) but i’ve been using a skin care product for a little junk in the trunk lol!

  16. Julie says:

    I’d like to try the dim supplements. How long are you supposed to take these? Thanks!

  17. […] been using a dermaroller for a few months now (I wrote about it HERE), and was using a pretty strong retinol formula on my skin right after rolling. My esthetician […]

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