The Skincare Routine That Cleared Up My Skin


I recently shared part of what contributed to me breaking out with horrible cystic acne for the past 6 months or so. It felt a bit hopeless as it seemed like there was no end in sight as my hormones took over.

You may also have seen that I’ve been working with Youth Corridor Clinic on the Upper East Side of Manhattan to get my skin back in shape after having a baby. It was nearly perfect and then *bam* this whole thing happened.

The worst part about breakouts is that you try something new to combat them or cover them up more with makeup that clogs your pores, so it becomes a viscous cycle. I tried it all from fad health crazes that while made me feel good, my acne returned. It got to the point where combatting the scars was pointless. I couldn’t escape the cystic acne or blackheads — neither of which I experienced as a teenager. Now in my thirties, I was basically going through puberty.


I met with Mercedes aka The Skin Dep at Youth Corridor for the first time in January. I think she actually was one of the first people I told about my miscarriage, as I explained that’s what likely was causing these horrible breakouts. Mercedes herself had similar breakout issues when she moved to NYC due to pollution and managed to overcome it with a lot of research, changing her regimen, treatments and now she has beautiful skin. I had confidence that she could tackle my skin woes after seeing her own before/after images.

I appreciated how honest Mercedes at Youth Corridor was with me, saying which products were worth splurging on and when I can opt for more affordable products. I basically copied her own skincare routine — which you’ll see below — as well as incorporating some favorites that I know my skin has done well with. She’s big into K-Beauty (or Korean Beauty) products and especially anything with the natural Asian ingredient derived from a plant called Centella Asiatica, which repairs the skin barrier. Mercedes explained to me that without repairing your skin barrier, anything you put on your skin you are likely to break out from.

My hormonal acne was finally dissipating after using these products but my skin was continuing to get clogged with blackheads and painful cystic acne around my jawline. I came to realization it couldn’t be my skincare products, because nothing I was using could really cause breakouts. Mercedes said it’s likely something in my makeup and she’s found that ingredients like alcohol can actually contribute. While my makeup was supposed to be “oil-free” and great for “acne prone” skin, it didn’t work with MY skin. I noticed that a lot of the products in my makeup kit had ingredients like squalane, which is said to help acne, but like tea tree oil, it has the opposite effect on me. 

Since our first appointment together, I’ve seen a major difference between alternating monthly treatments of IPL laser and peels, including the Youth Corridor signature “No Peel Peel,” as well extractions to remove all my clogged pores. That combined with totally revamping how I approach my skincare, my skin is clearer than it’s been in so long (no new breakouts!!). The scars are finally minimal enough that I don’t have to wear foundation daily (I still wear a light tinted moisturizer).


Here’s my current skincare routine:


  • Cleanse with a cotton pad and Bioderma Micellar Water (c/o) only
    I learned while in Paris that French women don’t wash their faces because the water is too harsh and drying. I use this cult favorite French brand like water and cleanse my face with it, so my skin doesn’t over-produce oil.


  • Follow up with Etude House Soon Jung ph 5.5 Relief Toner
    Toner is one of the most important steps that I was leaving out, Mercedes told me. A gentle toner like this K-Beauty one helps balance out your skin and get it ready to absorb all your products you’re applying afterward.


  • Apply a dropper of Youth Corridor Vitamin C Boost Serum (c/o)
    Vitamin C serum was my gateway drug into “grown-up skincare” because I saw a major difference once I started using it. I’ve used the one from Drunk Elephant too, but love how lightweight and not sticky this one feels. It’s worth every penny and it’s one of those products you actually can see the results over time.


  • Tap Youth Corridor Eye and Neck Repair Cream (c/o) gently with your ring finger onto undereye area and smooth onto neck in an upward motion.
    I learned from Youth Corridor that it’s important to apply eye cream BEFORE any products because it absorbs better!


  • Apply Dr. Jart Beauty Balm with SPF45 with either a clean brush, sponge or fingertips.
    I was using a moisturizer and an SPF with tint AND foundation AND concealer daily and I think it was too much for my skin for everyday, especially in the summer. Mercedes swears by this brand and says that’s what she wears most days. I find the lighter color one looks a little gray, but it blends in nicely for my skin. She prefers to mix the light and darker ones together for her skin.



  • PM:



  • Tap Youth Corridor Eye and Neck Repair Cream (c/o) gently with your ring finger onto undereye area and smooth onto neck in an upward motion.
    I learned from Youth Corridor that it’s important to apply eye cream BEFORE any products because it absorbs better.


  • Use a small amount of Skinceuticals Epidermal Repair Cream all over face and neck
    If you are having issues like me and don’t want to revamp your whole regimen, this is the product that contains the magical ingredient Centella Asiatica that has helped me the most and is worth every penny. I use the Youth Corridor’s nourishing cream also but Mercedes said it may be too heavy for my skin in the summer, so I’ll probably alternate with it in the colder months. I also mix in about 2 drops of Jojoba Oil, which has properties similar to your own skin’s oil so it tells your skin to stop over-producing and therefore less clogged pores. This really is a game-changer and I regret not using it during my breakouts because it really makes a difference.


  • Spot treat any pimples or blackheads with Cosrx blemish treatment
    You’ll see instant results of the clogged pore getting pushed out. Mercedes assured me that if it looks more clogged with white, it’s just the product and it will push out quickly on its own. No picking!!


*I want to disclose that anything followed by (c/o) means it was gifted, but I truly believe in and use these products


Here’s my makeup routine, which Allison Brooke, who did my makeup in the first picture with these products, said they’re all amazing products for my skin:




SPECIAL OCCASIONS / ON CAMERA (In addition to the BB Cream, concealer and brightener):


*Note that I do a lot of research on products and ingredients and always try to find paraben-free, non-toxic beauty 



I also received questions from you guys on Instagram on skincare and I asked the experts at Youth Corridor. Here they are and their answers:

Q: How do I fight adult acne AND wrinkles at the same time?

A: Using a retinol formula is a great way to address acne and wrinkles at the same time. Retinol
originally was developed to fight acne since it encourages skin cell turnover. As a result, it is also
effective at improving fine lines and wrinkles. However, it is important to consult an expert about a
routine that is right for you to ensure you are address both of your concerns the right way.


Q: I like my acne care line but still get breakouts when I’m pregnant or have my period. What can I do?

A: When you are pregnant, you also experience an increase in hormones which can trigger breakouts.
Skin can also be much more sensitive with all the changes going on, so it is best to consult an expert
about the right products to use for your skin. Also consider that some ingredients are not safe to use
when you are pregnant.  Bottom line, consult your Obstetrician to see what they are comfortable with
when it comes to your skin.


Q: What’s the best method for preventing wrinkles from forming? Botox? Retinol? Creams?

A: The best way to treat a wrinkle is to prevent it and Botox is an extremely effective treatment for this.
Do not wait until the wrinkle is etched in your skin. Aging is also genetic so you need to take this into
account. Following the right skincare routine when you are in your 20s or 30s that includes a Vitamin
C Serum in the morning and a Retinol in the evening can be effective. The more proactive you are
when it comes to your skin the easier it can be to manage. Don’t forget about SPF daily.


Q: Can you still do dermaplaning when you’re breaking out?

A: No, you can’t dermaplane over inflamed pustules. you run the risk of spreading the bacteria to the
rest of the face.


Q: What are the side effects of laser treatments? I hear they’re painful and lots of downtime.

A: The LASER treatments we perform at the Youth Corridor Clinic treat skin on a superficial level. IPL
feels like you are snapping a rubber band against your skin. Our other LASER treatment may feel a
bit warmer and if we are targeting veins the treatment is focused on that one area so will be more


Q: I’ve seen you (Liz) do that peel treatment? What’s in it and does it work??

A: The No Peel Peel treatment is a glycolic peel that delivers similar results to an intense chemical peel
without the physical shedding of the skin. Instead of the shedding, the formula melts the skin so you
see an immediate glow and long term results. The beauty of this peel is that it is great as a one-time
treatment but also delivers cumulative results when performed every 4-6 weeks.


Q: I have a lot of sun spots on my face, is there anything I can do to get rid of them?

A: Yes! IPL helps get rid of the sun spots but you must stay out of the sun to prevent them from
returning. IPL brings the pigment to the surface and then the pigment flakes off. You should also use our Ultimate Antioxidant Vitamin C Serum daily to reverse the spots and protect
you from getting more.


Q: I am still dealing with the hormonal acne post miscarriage and I had a question for you. Do you feel
like your acne started to calm down once your cycle started again. Because mine is still a mess. Lots
of red scarring still. I know you used to get the dermaplaning treatments done before the acne. Are
they still performing it now or wanted you to take a break. I think the face shaving is bothering my
skin and I should prob stop. I just love the look of no peach fuzz. What did they say?

A: (Liz answering on this one) It’s been months, but with the regimen I shared in this post and the treatments I’ve been receiving, my acne has finally calmed down and now we are tackling the scars. Youth Corridor has advised me to take a break from dermaplaning, though I’m with you on the look on no peach fuzz. I’d love to go back to it once my esthetician advises it’s okay, but we are just getting to a good place with my skin again and I want to keep it that way! Also, note that dermaplaning is something that is done by a professional, who is trained to remove dead skin with a scalpel (and as a result, the peach fuzz), otherwise you are just shaving your face.


Keep sending your skincare questions this way for Youth Corridor or myself to answer and contact Lindsay@drimber.com if you’re in the NYC area and would like to set up an appointment at Youth Corridor Clinic 


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