To paraphrase Dr. Vail Reese, people who escaped acne in their teenage years are more likely to experience it in their 20s. I'm definitely in this camp, unfortunately, and I know a lot of you are, too. I recently started a prescription plan to clear up my skin, and I thought you might be interested in following the progress. (Of course, everyone's skin is different, and if you're thinking of prescription medicine, you should definitely see your doctor. My experience isn't necessarily what yours might be.)

I don't have terrible skin, but this summer I developed some problems that weren't going away: some clogged pores on my forehead, sore cystic acne on my chin, and blackheads on my nose. I went to see my dermatologist, who prescribed Differin 0.1% cream for the evening, and Klaron lotion for the morning. To find out how the first month has gone,

I was happy that my dermatologist prescribed Differin, because when I tried Retin-A Micro a few years ago, it was very rough on my skin. Differin, like Retin-A Micro, is a retinoid, so it accelerates cell turnover while acting as an anti-inflammatory. To use it, I wash my face, wait 30 minutes, then apply a pea-sized amount to my face. Because retinoids can be drying, I followed the Differin application with Lush Skin Drink, a somewhat heavy moisturizer. (It doesn't smell so good, but you win some, you lose some.) In the mornings, I apply a few drops of Klaron before putting on my sunblock. The idea is that Differin will exfoliate my skin and regulate the pores, while the Klaron fights bacteria.

I'm a little more than a month into this regimen, and it's been surprisingly gentle. These products do dry my skin out a little bit, but in a way that makes my skin feel tight—not red or flaky at all. The exciting thing is that my blemishes are quickly rising to the surface. I knew that the first eight weeks could accelerate pimples that were lurking deep in the skin, and occasionally I wake up with a pretty gross one (like, uh, today). The good news is that as quickly as these zits develop, they go away... and they don't come back. I don't yet have a flawless complexion, but I'm seeing an improvement. As time progresses, I'll let you know whether my skin does as well.