Your Ultimate Acne Survival Kit – Actions and Items

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BeforeDifferinJourney #CollectiveBias

Do you have adult acne? Differin® Gel is the 1st and only prescription strength retinoid available over the counter for acne. #BeforeDifferinJourney #ad

Today I’m going to talk about something I rarely talk about, but it’s ALWAYS on my mind.

I’m going to talk about acne. I didn’t suffer from acne during my tween and teen years, except for the occasional pimple during stressful times. I definitely touch my face often, especially because I’m really good at staying in one place for a long period of time. These days I read, edit photos, and write for hours and hours. Back then, I read and studied constantly.

Still, I was pretty lucky for a long time.

Then things changed in my late 20s. As many of my readers know, I had a long distance relationship with a man in California, and I knew I had to move 3,000 miles to be with him. It was a life dream I’d always had, but I left behind everyone and everything I really knew. I had a great group of friends, a big and loving family, a steady paycheck, a clean townhouse, and a reliable car. I had everything! Still, there was a part of me that always yearned for something more – outside of New Jersey, outside of an office job, and beyond my wildest expectations. I planned my move for six months, and then it was time to fly.

After a few months of being in California, I had that beautiful sea air that I craved, and the crisp water we got from Lake Tahoe was feeling so good, but then the breakouts started. I’ll never know exactly what caused the first one – change, stress, etc. – but it became a series of breakouts. It was debilitating to me at that time. I was engaged to be married, and it was my birthday that July. I went to get my eyebrows threaded, and the salon attendant looked at my face, shook her head, and asked, “What happened here?” I paid her, talked to her husband for a bit about stress, and then went into my car to cry.

I never went back there again.

I used to hide my face when talking with friends and especially when meeting new people. I tried makeup, which is something I never used on my skin – only on my eyelashes and lips – but you could see the acne right through it. So I did what I do when I get stressed, scared, and inspired to make a change. I researched. I thought about what was going into my body and on my face every day. I thought about changes in my stress levels and what worked for other people. I talked to everyone who would listen! Finally, I made my own little Ultimate Acne Survival Kit, which grew to be comprised of products and actions, and can also be used for both home and travel. Are you ready to find out what I use for clear and radiant skin?

Your Ultimate Acne Survival Kit – Actions & Items:

1 – Differin® Gel. As the newest advancement and ingredient in the OTC acne category in over 30 years, Differin® Gel is the first and only prescription strength retinoid now available over the counter for clearing and preventing acne. Differin® Gel clears breakouts where they start, deep in the pores, and prevents future breakouts before they begin. This results in a restoration of your skin’s texture and tone. It’s what I was waiting for! NEW! Differin® Gel could clear acne with the power of Rx!

Perhaps you go to Target as much as I do? Find it in this special aisle of the pharmacy:

To get the best results with Differin® Gel, apply a thin layer all over your face, once a day, and every day. It’s important to continue using it as part of your skincare routine, even after your skin looks clear, to help prevent future breakouts. It contains the multi-benefit, dermatologist-recommended retinoid – Adapalene and is now available without prescription. Please use caution when using Differin® Gel with more than one acne treatment or glycolic acid product because this could lead to irritation.

For more Differin® inspiration, check out the social hub here.

2 – Cetaphil® Daily Facial Cleanser. I incorporate it into my skincare routine to gently cleanse skin.

3 – Limit sun exposure. This surprised me at first, because I thought the sun would make my acne hide better, but it made it worse! The sun can cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation – dark discoloration. Limit your time in the sun between 10:00am and 2:00pm, wear protective clothing, and use Cetaphil® Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 15.

4 – Moisturize! See #3 for a wonderful product recommendation. With that in mind, limit touching your face!

5 – Rethink your products. That can be hard, but keep them in mind. Focus not only on cosmetics which go directly on your face, but be smart about gentle hair products! Fragrances, oils, and gels can get from your hair to your skin, and block your pores. Oil from your hair can get to your face too, so wash your hair often.

6 – Feed your body, feed your face. It’s true. A cleaner inside helps with a clearer outside. Personally, I love to put lemon in my water – dentist-allowing – but I also put lemon juice on my face as part of my skincare routine. I apply with cotton balls, and it acts as an astringent.


7 – Water, of course! Take your bottle everywhere you go.

8 – Exercise. This is good for you inside and out, but make sure to shower after – to avoid skin irritation.

9 – Think about all the things that touch your face and clean them regularly. This could be your phone and your pillow case. Wash your pillow cases weekly, and make sure to use a laundry detergent that is gentle on your skin!

10 – De-stress. Only you know the exact answer to this, but find the best who, what, where, when, why, and how.


Now I want to hear from you! What gets you most excited about NEW Differin® Gel.

*I’ll be back to share my personal results in eight weeks! I’m hopeful this can help my breakouts.

This product is dermatologist developed and tested. Please call 1-866-735-4137 for any questions you may have concerning the product. However, should you experience any problems while using the product, please discontinue use and consult your healthcare provider.

A Parent’s Beach Day Survival Kit

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SummerSkinReady #ChooseSkinHealth #CollectiveBias

Ready for a fun day at the beach with family? Make sure you pack these must-haves in your beach bag for a perfect day #ad #SummerSkinReady #ChooseSkinHealth

I have to tell you about a special place I can go – and it’s never far from my mind and heart.

beach day

Not long after Cassidy and I got back together and knew it was serious, he took me to his father’s house in Truro on Cape Cod. It’s a long house in a wooded area on a gravel road that I always think is impossible to find. It has four bedrooms and has recently undergone renovations, but the soul of the house is intact. You walk into that house in July and breathe in the smell of summer vacation. You walk into that house in December and breathe in the smell of summer vacation memories. Summer could be far away but you can’t turn in a corner in the house without being reminded. Pictures and poetry hang all through the house. There is one wall in particular that captivates me every single time I visit the house. And, it always will.

beach day

It is filled, floor to ceiling, with photos of Cassidy and his brothers and cousins from babyhood to adulthood. It tells tales of being buried in the sand, of cookie and peanut butter sandwiches, of beach days and outdoor showers, of corn on the cob and ice cream and finding sand in your shoes long after you have gone back to work or school or winter and whatever other dreaded thing you escaped. You look at these pictures and you see a gift that children have been given. They have been taught to truly know joy and pure fun. Not everyone receives these gifts. The evidence is on the wall. It is written in every expression on every face of every photo. You can’t look at these pictures and not smile. I looked and thought, “I want that.”

And now, I have it and I couldn’t be happier..

floatation devices

..but it can be totally nutty too!

The funny strange thing about traveling with your kids, other than the fact that you never rest or turn off your brain about their needs and desires, is that it isn’t neat and tidy. You have sippy cups and stuffed animals and swim diapers scattered under beds and kitchen tables. You have kid swimsuits drying on the deck. And, you have emotions scattered in hidden places. Maybe under beds and kitchen tables, and in closets. Sometimes those two or three or four days at our happy beach town go by in a blink! It’s best to make sure you’re doing them right and filling them with good times. The very best times.

And so I present to you my Parent’s Beach Day Survival Kit – all from Target! This will help you to create a fun and maybe (dare I say) calming feel about a day at the beach. This is you being prepared. And this is you packing your beach bag wisely!

beach day

1- Sunscreen, of course! Not only any sunscreen, but Neutrogena Sheer Zinc® sunscreens. There’s Neutrogena Sheer Zinc®, SPF 30 Lotion Neutrogena Sheer Zinc®, SPF 50 Face Lotion, and Neutrogena Sheer Zinc®, SPF 50 Lotion.

When I first stop into Target, I head to the Sun Care section:

sun care


This is the most important item to put in your beach day bag. Neutrogena Sheer Zinc® offers superior UVA/UVB sun protection, and is the only choice that has breakthrough Purescreen® technology powered by naturally-sourced, 100% zinc oxide. Neutrogena Sheer Zinc™ is effective, yet gentle on even sensitive skin. There are plenty of wonderful benefits:

Naturally-sourced zinc oxide, Hypoallergenic, Sweat and water-resistant (80 minutes), Non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores), Oil-free, Dermatologist-tested, and Awarded the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance™ as a suitable sunscreen for persons with sensitive skin conditions. And, it’s now in stores! So many good things to say.

sun care

2 – A water dispenser. Yes, really! Sure, water is super important, but these cheap and delightful contraptions will also help rinse off your shoes, legs, hands, etc. for when you need to put on your shoes and get back in the car.

Ready for a fun day at the beach with family? Make sure you pack these must-haves in your beach bag for a perfect day #ad #SummerSkinReady #ChooseSkinHealth

3 – Toys for sand and water. Anything to keep them occupied! Think of the traditional shovel and pail sets, because kids love digging and building. Think Nerf balls, lightweight Frisbees, sand diggers, metal detectors, sand sifters, balls, butterfly/fishing nets, beach balls, squirt toys, goggles, masks, and more! I’m out of breath from that comprehensive list!

4 – A kid-kit. I know we already covered toys, but this is more like personal care items. Think bandages, sippy cups, resealable bags, a change of clothes, antibacterial wipes, first-aid cream, water/swim shoes, bug spray..

first-aid kit

5 – Floatation devices. You’ll have to check with your public/private beaches to see what they allow. Ours allows rafts and noodles, and you can check with your beach about Coast Guard-approved life jackets for new swimmers.

beach day

6 – Comfort, resting, drying items. This is all one category, I think. Bring chairs, kid-sized chairs, towels, extra towels, beach umbrellas, blankets, and little shade tents for babies/toddlers if you have them.

beach day

7 – Protective sun barrier items. Pack sun hats, with brims, protective clothing, sunglasses that block UV rays, rashguards, and if possible – even baby sunglasses. Young ones shouldn’t spend a lot of time in the sun. Be protected!

8 – Personal care items, for YOU! Pack lip gloss (with SPF), makeup remover pads, pain relief aids, aloe after sun-lotion.

9 – Water and non-perishable snacks. Target is GREAT for this! Get creative! I do bananas, pistachios, cashews, jerky, nutrition bars, crackers, cookies, pretzels, apples, etc. The list goes on and depends on what you all like!


10 – Memory preservation items. Yes, this is totally a thing. Pack resealable plastic bags for collecting seashell and sea glass. You can also pack a plastic jar. Pack a disposable or waterproof camera, or a waterproof case for your phone.

Yes. I just acknowledged that it’s 2017.

beach balls

With the sun and heat finally arriving, now is the time to pick up Neutrogena Sheer Zinc™ at Target! Between 5/21 and 5/27, if you purchase $15 in sun care products at Target (in-store or online) you’ll get a FREE $5 Target GiftCard!

sun care

So, what do you put in your beach day survival kit? And how much of it comes from Target?

Ready for a fun day at the beach with family? Make sure you pack these must-haves in your beach bag for a perfect day #ad #SummerSkinReady #ChooseSkinHealth

Happy Beach Day!