Kendall Jenner's Skin Guru Spills Her 5 Tips For Clearing Acne Fast

Update: During the Golden Globes this past Sunday, Kendall Jenner was announced as the new face of Proactiv, following in the footsteps of stars like Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Adam Levine, and Jessica Simpson. In November, we spoke to dermatologist Christie Kidd, who treated Jenner in 2018, for her tips on clearing up acne-prone skin.

This story was originally published November 3, 2018.


Kendall Jenner's acne used to make headlines. Heavily-zoomed paparazzi photos magnifying barely-there chin zits became front-page news stories, tied to tired captions like, "Supermodels, they're just like us." She was even bullied for her barely-visible breakouts on social media, to the point of having to step in to shut down the negativity herself.

But you — and the Twitter trolls — may have noticed that Jenner's skin has done a complete 180 recently. At first, she owned her acne; then, she managed to kick it, leading to headlines that are less "just like us" and more like "glowy" and "radiant." So what changed? The answer: Christie Kidd, dermatology PA and Hollywood's resident skin-care expert. Kidd says that the supermodel walked into her office at a time when she was dealing with a particularly bad cycle of breakouts, and left with a simple regimen that changed her skin forever.

If you can't make it to Beverly Hills for an in-office consultation with Kidd, we have the next best thing: We asked the sought-after pro to break down her top 5 tips for healing acne and the specific active ingredients that work. It's surprisingly simple — scroll through and see.

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Design by Tristan Offit
Be Gentle

First things first: Put down the rough, scrubby hand towel. "The most important tip I give [patients] struggling with acne is actually a lesson on cleansing the skin properly," says Kidd. "So many people make their irritated skin much worse by scrubbing it raw with a washcloth. Use your hands, and start cleansing your face like you’d wash a newborn baby — super gently."
Kidd generally recommends her own CK Perfect Skin Cleanser, which isn't yet available on the mass market — but in a pinch, she reaches for the gentle Vanicream bar cleanser, which is safe for even the most sensitive skin.
Vanicream Vanicream Cleansing Bar for Sensitive Skin3.9 oz$4.38 Buy
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Pick Powerful Products

"I’m a big believer in a simple routine," Kidd tells us. She explains that using these four products: a gentle cleanser, medicated pads to eliminate bacteria, a resurfacing serum with glycolic and lactic acids, and SPF — may be pared-down, but they're seriously potent.
Design by Tristan Offit
Know Your Keywords

Kidd tells us that it's good to be well-versed in the ingredients that your skin responds to — and, conversely, rages against. She adds that it's important to find products with the right team of powerful active ingredients — those that don't cause dryness or irritation — and keep them in mind whenever you're shopping for new skin-care products.

"In terms of finding the right products to clear acne, the actives I use are salicylic, lactic, and glycolic acid, which can be found in my cleansing pads and skin serum," Kidd says. "I don't use any benzoyl peroxide in my products, because I find that those gentler actives are more effective for exfoliating the skin without drying it out."
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Learn To Layer

Kidd explains that an easy, layer-able routine is the secret to curing acne. "It can be as easy as three or four steps: cleansing your skin with the right face wash, layering on an anti-bacterial toner of sorts, something with witch hazel that will control the oils in the skin without stripping it, and then adding a non-comedogenic sunblock over top." Layering those active ingredients is crucial so that they can all work in tandem.
A sunscreen labeled non-comedogenic means that the ingredients won't clog your pores. Kidd tells us she formulates her own SPF, but she likes this one, too, thanks to its all-mineral filters and SPF 50 coverage.
aveneusa Mineral Ultra-light Hydrating Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+$28.00 Buy
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Explore Your Options

"Sometimes I'll recommend injectables in special circumstances, for patients who need a cystic pimple gone immediately," Kidd tells us. "If a model comes in with a big zit — an active pimple, not a scar — I would likely inject the pimple with a cortisone shot, then send her home with the instructions to alternate warm and cold compresses on the area. This delivers the fastest results, immediately reducing the inflammation."

The approach to heal acne scars is very different, but can also involve an injectable technique. "When patients come in with severe divots or pockmark in their skin, we can inject Juvederm filler to reduce the look of those scars," Kidd says — the filler will, well, fill the deep holes in the skin. Kidd also uses PRP, platelet-rich plasma treatment, which is when a small amount of blood is drawn, put through a centrifuge, and then injected back into the skin.

"Typically with serious scarring, I recommend a combination of both, because it takes a few weeks to see the results of PRP, so often Juvederm is a good initial step, and then we start using the PRP for long term results," Kidd says. Of course, it's most important to have a conversation with your own dermatologist about which treatment is best for your specific skin type and concerns — it's never a one-size-fits-all answer.
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