getting honest about my skin + restarting my curology journey

This blog post is not sponsored. All views and experiences are my own.

I’ve always been insecure over my skin ever since I was a little girl. I wanted to have skin like the models in magazines and the actors on television. I wanted to look perfect. I had to look perfect. I would try everything and do everything in the name of skincare. Even if it was harmful to my skin. And eventually, to cope with my anxiety, I would pick at my face, only doing more damage. All this leading to the same conclusion every time…

I need to stop because I’m tired of hating my skin.

So, I started a routine. I was using African Black Soap with aloe toner and an SPF 15. When that didn’t work, I changed my routine to include Vitamin C moisturisers, tea tree oil, and overnight creams. And when that didn’t work, I broke down.

Going to a dermatologist wasn’t an option for me. Thus began the act of trying to love my skin for how it is.


She’s sensitive, dry, doesn’t break out a lot, but when she does, she leaves dark marks (hyperpigmentation) all over regardless of whether or not I pick at my face. 

We were a team for a bit. Despite not having perfect skin, I wasn’t afraid to be without makeup in public. I didn’t care.

But then The Dumpster Fire of 2020 came and I got a little too comfortable hiding my skin behind a mask. No one would see the dark marks. No one would see how less than perfect it is. It was such a win to wear a mask in public. And I became insecure again.

It was around this time I heard of Curology and thought – we’re all wearing masks or at home. No one will know if this goes sideways. I have nothing to lose.

So, I tried it. I tried it! And it worked?!


They put me on 0.25% Zinc Pyrithione, 1% clindamycin, and 4% niacinamide. I put it on at night with the Curology cleanser and moisturiser, using the set minus formula with SPF 15 in the morning. Within a few months, my skin cleared up, looked brighter, healthier, and I loved my skin.

left: April 2020
right: June 2020

I was on Curology for several months before I had to reevaluate my finances due to a few extra bills, and decided that I would have to sacrifice my skincare routine to not lose my phone or storage or (at the time) tuition. 

Within a year, my skin was looking okay. It was manageable. Looking back, I’ve come to realise how my skin actually wasn’t ever that bad. I just convinced myself it was.

But in recent times, I have no idea what’s happened to my skin…especially given this is only within a span of a few months!

left: August 2021
right: March 2022

My skincare routine consisted of:

  • Cerave Hydrating Facial Cleanser
  • Cliganic Rosehip Oil
  • Cerave Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum
  • Dr Dennis Gross Dark Spot Sun Defense Sunscreen SPF 50
  • (at night only) The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
  • (quite often but not everyday) Vaseline

When I spoke with my Curology provider, they told me to stop using everything on my face. They said, to quote: “I will say that your breakout brings to mind “acne cosmetica”. The cause of acne cosmetica is not limited to makeup, as any product applied to the face and surrounding areas can incite this type of breakout, including hair products. The condition develops gradually over weeks or months and the skin typically appears studded with small comedones and occasional papulopustules.”

I was provided with a list of cautionable ingredients and found the my Cerave Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum contains isopropyl myristate which can be a pore-blocking ingredient for some. I’ve also further learned that it contains denatured alcohol (alcohol denat.), of which is a big no-no for senstitive skin.

January 2022

Going through photos, though, I’ve noticed that this has gotten severly worse recently, assuming in February. Not the best photo, but on the left, that photo was taken January 29th, 2022 and it’s starting to turn.

Looking at these photos get me so sad thinking about how I kept trying to fix major problems that were only minor. Problems that only existed because I brought them into existence.



So, as said, I decided to go on Curology again. It’s worked before, so I can only deeply wish it’ll work again. My shipment has been on its way since March 24th, so I’m hoping I’ll have it by the end of this week.

My new formula is: 

  • Azelaic acid, 2%: A multitasking exfoliant that helps unclog pores, smooth texture, and brighten skin
  • Clindamycin, 1%: An antibiotic that fights acne-causing bacteria and soothes inflammation
  • Zinc pyrithione, 0.25%: An antimicrobial that helps keep acne-causing bacteria and fungi in check

I look forward to starting again and keeping up with a simplified routine, as per my provider. This is something I’ll definitely be blogging about as time goes on.

My skin has caused me great insecurities over the years but I’ve come to realise that it’s just been telling me something’s not right. And I love it for that. And I’m shocked it’s taken me so long to listen to it.

Here’s to clearer skin!


hi, i’m jade madison!

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