Skin Care

My Journey to Clear Skin | Hydroquinone, Retin A and Cleocin Regimen

Hydroquinone, Retin A and Cleocin Regimen

I’ve finally decided that now is the time to do something about my chronic acne.

I always knew the time would come when I wouldn’t be able to endure it any longer, but I was waiting until I saved up enough money to undergo treatment. Acne medication is not cheap (especially in The Bahamas) and neither are the glycolic and other acid treatments.

Honestly, my YouTube channels are really the driving force behind me finally taking the steps to get the treatment I need. I filmed a “Get Ready with Me” video for my 22nd birthday and my face looked horrible, (even worse than it did in my “Get Ready with Me” video for my 21st birthday). Sure, I would get pimples around the time of my period, but I had not broken out that badly in a while. It was depressing.

Shortly after filming the video and putting it on YouTube, I filmed a video that showcased my favorite lip liner and lipstick combinations. I couldn’t even upload it to YouTube because of how bad my skin looked.

I’ve been suffering from acne for about 5 years now. I looked back at a photo of myself in 2009 and the right side of my face was virtually clear. I had teenage acne, but it was nothing as serious as it is now. When I went off to college in MN was when my skin really started to breakout.

The main culprits of my acne, in my opinion, are stress and hormones. (I don’t think food and makeup played as much of a role because I’ve gone weeks without wearing any makeup and eating “healthy” before and it did not help.)

If you went to or are currently enrolled in college, you know how stressful it can be. I was bombarded with deadline after deadline and I was taking a chemistry class that I found very difficult at the time. I was not making the grades I was accustomed to.

Additionally, I was in a new place away from my family in The Bahamas, it was cold all the got damn time, I hated the food, people weren’t as friendly as I thought they would be, and I was depressed. My stress showed on my face (and my body too because I ate my way to 180 pounds, 20 more than what I weighed upon arriving in MN).

My acne did clear up a bit after my freshman year, but I still got nasty break outs. As you can see in the pictures, my problem areas are my forehead, chin, cheeks, and lower jaw (especially around my period). That’s practically my entire face, but the “rash” on the right side of my face is most severe.

Hydroquinone, Retin A and Cleocin Acne Regimen

I’ve tried Proactiv, Clinique, Clearasil, Noxema, Cetaphil, Neutrogena, Apricot Scrub, and I got an acne facial a few months ago that I did not follow through on. I don’t know about the facial, but none of those products were enough to keep my acne away.

My dad (he’s a doctor) also gave me some Clindoxyl which contains clindamycin (1%) and benzoyl peroxide (5%). My face does not like benzoyl peroxide and every time I use it, it irritates my skin and forms a little later of  scaly “stuff” that I just want to scrape off. My skin is not here for benzoyl peroxide so I stick to salicylic acid, another treatments used for acne.

Proactiv and Clearasil both contain benzoyl peroxide so those products did not work that well on my skin.

Last week, I had what I believe to be one of the most disgusting bumps I ever had on my face. It was right above my lip and it was itchy and painful. That was the last straw. I called the dermatologist and scheduled a $125 consultation.

She prescribed:

  1. Retin A (tretinoin) 0.05% – a topical form of vitamin A used to treat acne that helps the skin renew itself. It decreases the number and severity of acne pimples and encourages quick healing of breakouts that do form.
  2. Hydroquinone – used to lighten the dark patches of skin (hyper pigmentation). It works by blocking the process in the skin that leads to discoloration.
  3. Cleocin T  (Clindamycin) –  an antibiotic which helps to decrease the number of acne lesions by stopping the growth of bacteria.
  4. Mynocycline (Minocin) (oral) – It stops the growth of bacteria and decreases inflammation of sebaceous glands, which allows the skin to heal.

In total, I spent $188 on this medicine and the glycolic acid peel I am scheduled to have in two weeks costs $100. I’m supposed to have four of them. This is why I prolonged this treatment. I did not want to shell out this kind of cash. But this needs to be done because at this point, it’s interfering with my life.

I’m using the Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Facial Cleanser to wash my face, and the St. Ives Naturally Clear Apricot Scrub Blemish & Blackhead Control to exfoliate. Both contain 2% salicylic acid as the active ingredient for acne treatment.

For sunscreen (and you must use sunscreen with these products), I’m using Aveeno Active Naturals Protect + Hydrate SPF 30 Lotion.

I will write an update post after the first glycolic acid peel and I will also write more blog posts about all of these medications and their side effects.

I also have acne on my back (mainly on my shoulders) that’s worse than the acne on my face and I’ve had it for as long as I can remember. I’ll tackle that in another post.

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peace, love and happy shopping

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  • Jessica

    I admire your courage to write this post. Have you tried the natural approach? I have had some isses with acne as well which I thought was only due to the food I was eating. I realized that my facial cleansers were too harsh and I was using them twice a day. I currently wash my face with honey in the morning, which I follow with witch hazel or Burts Bees Radiance facial cleanser and at night I wash my face with Yes to Tomatoes daily clarifying cleanser or the Burts Bee cleanser. As a mask, I use either Aztec Healing clay or Yes to Tomatoes clear skin mask. I hope this helps and good luck with your skin care journey!

    • Kyss

      Hi Jessica. I used to use honey on my skin, but I never did it continuously. I will do some research into the products you’ve mentioned. Thanks for commenting!

  • Muke Alison

    OMG!!!! Thanks so much for this post. I have really bad acne too. I have tried Proactive and soo many other products but they make my face dry and scaly. My Family doctor also Clindoxyl which i had to apply and and Tetracycline which I had to drink for 3 months. But if didn’t follow up on it coz i don’t see why i should take antibiotics for 3 months straight. I tried it for about a month and the Clindoxyl also made my face really really dry and painful. I used to see your pics and envy your smooth face because i have always wanted to have a clear face rtoo. How do you achieve your smooth and clear face in your pics? Also the hydroquinone ordered by the dermatologist, doesn’t it bleach the skin? i am just scared coz i don’t want anything that will bleach my face while taking off the spots. all this is soo depressing. I swear if i had clear skin, i will rarely wear make up :(.

    • Kyss

      Hello! I use Makeup Forever HD Foundation. That thing is amazing! Yes, hydroquinone is a bleaching agent, but you need a bleaching agent to lighten skin. Most bleaching creams that are bought in the store have steroids in them. Thanks for commenting!

  • Yella willow

    Hey Brittany ! I just wanted to wish you good luck with your acne treatments. Honestly I relate to your story so much ! When I moved to Canada (From nassau) for university my acne got so terrible and honestly it was for the same reasons you gave (nasty food, unfriendly people, cold as balls weather, deadlines stress etc) . For the first time in my life I had terrible acne on my back and on my chest and it began to really affect my confidence so I finally saw a dermatologist. The first dermatologist I went to I recieved an identical treatment to yours however my sensitive skin and sensitive stomach made the treatment difficult. Now taking diane- 35 alone is working miracles for me. I’m hoping you have a successful treatment !
    sometimes Acne ruins a Beyonce “I woke up like this. flawless” hair flip moment and a beautiful girl like you deserves to enjoy every one !
    Looking forward to your new videos
    Merry Christmas !

    • Kyss

      😀 Thank you so much for you encouraging words! I have a friend that uses Diane-35 and I’m thinking about using it as well. Happy holidays to you too.

  • Aly

    I know exactly what you’re growing through, although I do not break out as severely on my face, the acne and scarring on my back is RIDICULOUS. Like you said acne medication in The Bahamas is not even close to cheap! Wish you all the best on your journey!

    • Kyss

      Thanks so much!

  • Nadine

    Wow… sorry you have to go through that. I also developed acne when i left the Caribbean to go to school in Europe. I tried many things and like you i believed that it was hormonal. For some reason, three months ago i decided i wanted to find something natural so i started to use apple cider vinegar as a toner and use aloe vera gel as a moisturizer (aloe vera at night because it doesn’t have any sun protection and another moisturizer in the day with SPF). At first i wasn’t seeing much of a change until about after a month my face had cleared up and i wasn’t even breaking out around my period time. I mix apple cider vinegar (with the mother) and water 50/50 in a spray bottle and spray it on my face then use some cotton to spread it. I don’t know if you’ll be interested in trying it out but it worked for me. I know how frustrating it is to have your face like that. I wish you all the best and i hope that you will soon find something that works for you.

    • Kyss

      Thank you so much! I will read up on the apple cider vinegar.

  • Kim

    Hi my fellow Bahama Mama,

    Did you purchase the medication here in The Bahamas? I used Clasifel Cream to remove acne scars but it seems that product is no longer available and I would like to try the Melquin.

    • Kyss

      Hey! Yes. I got all the medication from Lowe’s. The hydroquinone has already started fading my spots.

  • Blaire

    So happy you had the courage to do this post because just like yourself, the previous commenters and other females I too struggle with acne. Stubborn, hormonal acne and oily skin to be exact. I’ve been taking meds for them from I was in the 9th grade off and on. My dermatologist prescribed some of the same medicines you use but currently I’m on Diane 35, clindoxyl (am) and retin-a(pm). In using these products Im seeing a lot of improvement. I;m also writing to say Im a bit nervous because I’m leaving for college for the first time and I scared that the new environment will bring back what I worked so hard to keep at bay(my acne). Alas I just want to say that getting rid of acne takes time and consistency so please don’t give up 🙂 !

    Stay beautiful

    • Kyss

      Aww Thanks Blaire. It’s normal to have a little anxiety before you leave for school. The stress might change it up a bit, but the difference between you and me is that I didn’t have serious acne before I went off. You’re already on medication so at least you know how to handle it. I’m actually going to see the gynecologist tomorrow to ask bout Diane 35. My dermatologist appointment is on Thursday and I’m supposed to me getting a facial so I’ll be writing another blog post about it soon.

  • Paloma

    Hi hun, I totally know what youre feeling! I went through a hormonal problem that caused me to break out horribly. I also tried the retinol cream and it helped but caused my skin to flake…wich was a bummer. What has worked for me is so cheap and simple. Its sulfur products, I use asimple makeup remover and then sulfur soap and sulfur cream day an night followed by hydroquinone to lighten my acne marks and 50 spf sunblock. My face is transformed literally. I go around telling everyone my new ritual. I tried everything and got regular facials that got me no where. Now i get one facial a month just for extractions of any blackheads (minor) ….and my face looks awesome.

    • Kyss

      Hello Paloma! Thank you for sharing what you use. I’m kind of at a stand still with my skin care regimen because I have a lot going on right now with work and school. I will definitely look into using sulfur products.

  • Leticia Castillo

    Hello! I am going to give you the answer for your face problem! Its called ACCUTANE! I had severe acne, tried everything in the world and nothing worked for me. At age 28, my dermatologist looked at my face and said “You need Accutane, you have cystic acne and nothing will work. you see, what you have is an internal problem so topical medication wont work.” 6 months after my consultation :CLEAR FACE! Trust me. IO have had acne since 14! I waited too long. ACCUTANE is your friend.

  • crystal


    I want to use the same products as well on my face. Can you give an update? Did it work for you? Thanks
    PS. Love your blog and your style

    • Brittany Basden

      Thanks Crystal! I will do an update soon.

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