photo: Revelist/Melissa Stanger

When I was about 13 or 14 — on top of my braces, frizzy hair, and being awkward as fuck — I got really bad, all-over acne.

And when I say bad, I mean it was bad. Like, cystic, scarring, life-ruining bad.

Here I am in high school, about 16 years old. Little me would kill older me if she knew I were presenting this to the public eye. And I was wearing a shit ton of concealer in this photo, too 0_o

This is the only existing image of me with acne remaining in the world, because I literally destroyed as many of the other photos as I could find. I was so self-conscious about my skin.

Simply put, I thought that my bad skin made me ugly.

Fortunately, I found a good dermatologist when I was 16 and I was put on Acutane. Even better: I found an amazing online community that not only gave me hope for my face, but helped me find the routine that has kept my skin clear for the last 10 years.

Friends, meet This site changed my life — or at least my skin. products

Founded by a guy who also used to suffer from terrible acne, specializes in amazing skincare products that are gluten-free, vegan, and packaged in recyclable bottles. It also has a wonderful forum section, where you can go for product recs, makeup advice, and general support. It's amazing.

As for the skincare itself, has a simple, four-step routine that you do twice daily. It's easy, and the best part is, it works.

It goes like this: You wash with the cleanser and pat your face dry with a clean towel. Then you apply a liberal amount of the benzoyl peroxide treatment. When it dries, gently apply the moisturizer.

At night, instead of the moisturizer, I use the AHA+, which also gently exfoliates without irritating or drying.

melissa stanger

Clear skin — and it only took 10 years!

And that's it! Like any other human person I still get occasional breakouts, but they're not nearly what they were a few years ago. My skin is finally, blessedly clear — and these are the only four products I need to keep it that way. No fancy products, no scrubs, no popping, no concealer or foundation.

Just me.