As a teenager with mild acne, I wasn’t too upset about the occasional zits that popped up in my T-zone. I’d grow out of it—or so I believed at the time.
Boy, was I naive. Instead of disappearing, my acne became dramatically worse in my twenties. Where I once had teeny-tiny blackheads, I developed deep cysts along my jawline. One morning, I looked at my chin and counted nine—nine!—new pimples that hadn’t been there the night before.
No matter what I tried—over-the-counter creams, prescription formulas—the zits didn’t quit. Severe acne obviously doesn’t look great but what’s worse is how it makes you feel ashamed, as though you’re doing something wrong. Sometimes you don’t want to leave the house because of it, and you can’t really voice that embarrassment, because someone will think you’re vain. (Usually, that someone has clear skin.)
And then I was introduced to Clarisonic. The innovative skin-cleansing brush made its debut ten years ago, right as my acne reached its peak. The system, if you’re unfamiliar, is deceptively simple: Using 300 sonic oscillations per second, the brush thoroughly removes even the smallest particles of pollution, dirt, and sebum. At the same time, the motion lightly exfoliates dead skin cells. And although Clarisonic isn’t touted as an acne cure, you can’t have clear skin if you don’t have clean pores.
Did I immediately start to save up for one? Duh. The first time I used the brush 2006, I had an epiphany: All that time, I’d merely thought I was cleaning my skin. While I was definitely trying my best, the Clarisonic removed more dirt and makeup than I’d ever been able to with manual cleansing. (I could tell when I used toner. Before, a cotton ball would soak up traces of gunk; with Clarisonic, almost nothing was left.) What’s more, using Clarisonic left my skin incredibly soft. After touching my face, babies would cry because their skin was so rough in comparison. (That is the reason babies, cry, right?)
Most importantly, using Clarisonic kicked my acne where it counts. It didn’t eradicate it completely, but I saw an immense improvement within a few days: I had fewer blackheads, less severe breakouts, and smaller-looking pores almost immediately. And you know that ever-elusive glow that we all want? Bam! There it was, all over my face. Almost a decade later, I’m still a Clarisonic loyalist (and, okay, proselytizer). Now that I’m well into my 30s, acne is still a concern, but I’m also trying to look as fresh-faced as possible. As long as I use my Mia every other night, my skin stays mostly bright and blemish-free. I’m not addicted, per se, but it would be foolish to stop using my beloved “face robot” —let me tell you, it certainly wouldn’t be pretty.
Annie Tomlin honestly does think that inner beauty matters more, but it doesn’t hurt to pay attention to the outside too. She writes about beauty for a variety of publications, including her own site, The Glowhow.