Will these products help me if I’m 24 with a little acne and brown spots???

Hi, I'm 24 years old with fairly clear skin, except for some bumpy areas here and there and the occasional pimple. I also have several brown spots from picking (which I promised myself I would stop!) Brown spots are my main concern, next are my whiteheads and blackheads. I plan to start using 0.025% retinoic acid gel at night , every 3 days. Can you please comment on my regimen if it's okay? I have sensitive, oily skin, and I'm prone to PIH (tan skin). Morning: Jason Apricot Scrub + pore minimizing toner + homemade 10% Vit. C serum (water, ascorbic acid, glycerin) + BB cream SPF 30. Evening: Homemade oil cleanser (60% castor oil, sunflower oil) + salicylic acid facial wash w/ Clarisonic + pore minimizing toner + moisturizer + generic 0.025% retinoic acid gel. So far, everything's working fine, except for the RA gel, which I haven't tried yet. Thank you!

Okay –  so these are good questions.    Here’s how I would adjust this:


  1.  Gentle cleanser but for heaven’s sake get  rid of that oily cleanser at your age!  It’s a pore clogging monster!   Use something like the Cetaphil or Cerave Cleansers or just your sal acid facial wash that you already have.  The toner does nothing usually.  I’d avoid the extra expense
  2. That Jason scrub can be too rough and irritating.  Either cut it down to 1-2 times a week or pick something like the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant.
  3. Vit C serum homemade is fine if it is mixed daily but 10% is low –  see if you can tolerate 15-20%.  Homemade solutions oxidize almost instantly.
  4. Sunscreen –  Not sure what the BB is –  just make sure you are using one that is noncomedogenic and a SPF 30 or higher with at least 10% zinc/titanium.


  1.  Same on the cleanser.  Okay to use with the Clarisonic.  If you are using the Clarisonic, don’t use a scrub the same day.  Overscrubbing can irritate your skin and aggravate the brown spots.  I would skip the toner. 
  2. Retinoic acid gel (check to make sure this is tretinoin not one of the others) at 0.025% is great for acne and brown spots.  

You must use a regimen for 8-12 weeks to see if it’s working unless you have a bad reaction to it.  Then stop it, of course.    If you are not making progress in 8-12 weeks, it’s a good idea to see a dermatologist!   Hope this helps.   Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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