“#justacneprobs” by Juliana Howard

What has your skin journey been like?

Rebecca and I have been friends since basically diapers. Bugs Life was our favorite flick to watch on movie night. Our parents were (still are) best friends. We lived the dream.

Around 4th grade for both of us though, we dealt with our first pimples… and about ten years later on a weekend trip to New York, we were still talking about our pimples together. Why hadn’t we grown out of it? Aren’t adults supposed to be done with acne? Why have we had to deal with this for so long while ~she~ doesn’t even wash her face but has perfect skin?

If you’ve ever dealt with a skin insecurity, you know how embarrassing and frustrating it can be. Trust me. I understand.

After that first 4th grade pimple, the conversation with my acne continued. She was persistent. She was selfish. She was overbearing.

And I hated her. “Her” started as my acne. All too quickly, “her” became my face. Then all of a sudden, I hated every single glance at a mirror.

I’m just going to run through every method I tried to get rid of my skin issues, to give you a sense of how much effort, time, and money I’ve spent on this journey.

I tried:

  • every single Neutrogena product
  • every single Clearasil product
  • ProActiv
  • X-Out
  • Rodan & Fields
  • salicylic acid/benzoyl peroxide topicals
  • retinoids
  • five different topical treatments
  • six different antibiotics
  • birth control
  • exercise
  • gluten free diet
  • drinking absurd amounts of green tea
  • NOT stressing about it(lol okay)
  • Zinc tablets
  • Vitamin A tablets

and lastly, my favorite:

  • Isotretinoin (Accutane)


I tried the drug that has been trialed as a cancer treatment. I tried the drug that has an 80% success rate for people to be CURED of acne. I tried the drug that gave me six months of back pain, six months of cracked skin, six months of extreme sun sensitivity.

And then I tried it for another six months.

And guess what?

I still get pimples, and I still get insecure about my skin.

When I finished my second round of isotretinoin and saw my skin declining again, I felt so helpless, defeated, and unworthy. I must not deserve good skin. I must be dirty. That’s why I’m so hideous.

I couldn’t talk to my friends. They just wouldn’t understand. I felt so alone.

So, I cried to my parents. I cried to my boyfriend. I cried to my sisters.

I cried to myself… a lot.

In these moments of hopelessness, acne brought me to my knees.

This (ten year) season was pivotal in my discovery of who I am, what I care about, and how I view myself.

Insecurity is an obsession with yourself, and all the things you’d change about yourself. Pride is an obsession with yourself, and all the things you wouldn’t.

I was obsessed with myself. I had to evaluate and discover where I was letting my identity take root. I had to fix my eyes elsewhere every single day. I had to rest in the fact that I am not my insecurities, flaws, and imperfections.

And I’m thankful for skin insecurities.

Wait. Did I really just say that? Do I like acne and wrinkles? Am I a fan of dark under eyes and scars?

Well, no.

But listen, acne rewired my entire self-love, health, and spiritual journey. It’s a part of my story and my DNA… and I love it.

So, when you say that acne sucks? I’m right there with you. But girl, your perspective is everything. It gets better, not when you find the right product, but when you fall in love with the way you were so uniquely and intentionally created.

How did you “beat” acne?

My sisters and I always joke that I have become an amateur dermatologist throughout my whole skin process. I love learning about the ingredients in my products. I love learning about how skin issues form. I love learning what affects my skin the most.

After my second round of isotretinoin (and after a lot of emotional conversations and desperate prayers), I decided to look at the issue by standing much farther back. Acne essentially is just a symptom of what’s happening inside. Your body is giving you an alert like, “Hey hun, I know you’re trying really hard, but I have to keep letting you know that something is thrown off inside here!”

THANK GOODNESS. If we didn’t get acne, we might never figure out what’s happening inside our bodies.

For me personally, acne shed light on hormonal imbalances, food sensitivities, and ingredient intolerances. When I attacked acne from a holistic approach, my goal was not to “fix acne,” but to get my body to the way it was intended to work.

This came down to what I was putting in and on my body.

I started researching to find whatever I could about product ingredients and foods that affect the body. My main resources I have learned to love and trust over the past two years were:

Sarah’s Day (a health and fitness YouTuber who started her channel due to hormonal cystic acne)

Eat Pretty – Jolene Hart (a book completely devoted to how your diet affects your skin)

Cocokind (a women-made skincare line that is certified organic and socially conscious)

All three resources provided so much information about how most traditional acne products include chemicals that do more harm than good, and what you put into your body directly affects your skin. They explain things much better than I could, so I’ve linked their pages. Enjoy, and get learning!!

The secret to “beating” acne is all about out-smarting it. Know your skin, listen to your body, and become as educated on skin as possible. You get to be with this skin for your ENTIRE life. Learn about and love it.


What is your current skin care routine or products that you use?

Jules skincare

I used to look up influencers or YouTubers with perfect skin and try to replicate their skincare routines, product-for-product… and then be confused why it wouldn’t work in the same way for me.

GUYS. Your skin is yours. You don’t and probably shouldn’t use the same exact products as someone else. Find a routine that you love and believe works. You know your skin better than anyone else.

That being said, I believe every single type of skin loves and appreciates the major three: cleanse, tone, and moisturize. In order to be transparent, I’ll let you know what I’ve been using and loving for me!

DISCLAIMER: I have a history of severe cystic acne, moderate to serve comodonal acne, blackheads and millia. My current* skin, however, is sensitive, dry, and acne-prone.

* Skin changes guys. Your skincare should change too.






I have a few key tips when it comes to your routine.

  • Know what you’re putting on your face- ingredients are everything.
  • Make sure your skin is clean before going to bed – makeup should NEVER be slept in.
  • Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize, especially at night – whether you have dry, normal, or oily skin.
  • Love it. I look forward to cleansing and treating my skin every single night. Loving your routine makes all the difference.

Do you have any words of encouragement for people who struggle with skin insecurities?

I strongly believe that every single person has insecurities of some kind. Believe that.

You are not alone in your struggles. You are not loved less because of your insecurities. Those are lies.

Talk about your acne with people you trust. People who love you want to do just that: LOVE YOU. They can’t do that if you don’t tell them how you’re struggling and how you need to be loved.

Don’t pick. Just don’t do it.

Get hobbies!!! It’s much harder to focus on your skin flaws when you’re out doing stuff you love.

Lastly and most importantly:

Make the conscious decision to choose joy and love the way you were created every single day.

You are a show-stopper. You are a world-changer. You are a go-getter.

Pull your hair back. Wear red lips. Go bare-faced. Be bold.

Get after it, boo.





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