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English actress Jessica Barden knows a thing or two about resilience. The 29-year-old currently stars in the independent film Holler, about a young woman working a dangerous job in a scrap metal yard in the dead of winter, who keeps getting knocked down but finds a way to always get back up. It’s not much different than the battle Barden has faced in real life with severe chronic acne.
“I was on Accutane while I filmed this,” Barden tells me over Zoom from Sydney, where up until recently she was shooting the new Netflix series Pieces of Her. “I was the most self-conscious when I was filming Holler, because my acne was also affected by the temperature,” she says. “When it was cold, my acne would look purple. I hated it, not to mention it was super painful having such intense breakouts.”
Barden first went on the powerful prescription drug at the age of 18 (and then again at 25) after relentlessly trying several oral antibiotics (“which were a waste of time, and not great for you, either,” she says), topical creams, and various diets to remove foods often blamed for flare-ups. “Nothing was working, and my face still felt like it was on fire from all the severe breakouts,” Barden tells Glamour. “That’s why I needed something stronger. It changed my life.”
It also changed Barden’s perspective. “I love makeup and skin care, but you don’t get to enjoy any of that when you hate your skin and you’re so depressed from it. Now everything I put on my face is informed by what I went through.” That means that Barden draws the line at any painful laser treatments or creams that sting or cause a tingling sensation.
“That saying, ‘Beauty is pain?’ Well, I don’t believe that,” she says with a laugh. “I don’t know if I’ll ever do anything invasive to my face because I don’t want to experience severe pain like that again. Everything I do to my face has to be nourishing and kind.” This means that when Barden gets the occasional breakout now, she just “waits for it to leave.”
So for Glamour’s latest edition of Drop the Routine, Barden shares the products that she knows won’t irritate her skin and will leave it feeling soft and healthy.
The Lancer Skincare foaming face wash from The Method line, which I hadn’t heard of until I lived in L.A., and now I think every single person and their mother uses Lancer. It lasts a very long time, and lathers so well and feels so moisturizing. I also use the Caudalíe Make-Up Removing Cleansing Oil, but otherwise I don’t use any makeup wipes.
I use Lancer’s The Method: Polish exfoliator. It’s the only one I trust, because again, if you have acne, you know exfoliating can actually be an enemy and really mess with your skin. So I use their exfoliator once a week, and it smells like lavender.
I only use iS Clinical Hydra-Cool Serum because I always trust iS Clinical. Their serums feel like water and are not sticky or greasy.
Tatcha the Water Cream! It’s the best for normal or oily skin. I use it in the morning and it doesn’t interfere with anything else I put on my face.
My overnight sleeping masks
The Laneige Water Sleeping Mask which is very hydrating. And the Embryolisse Hydrating Masque. My boyfriend took it when he left Australia. And I use the Aloisia Marie seven-day skin-care system’s hydration line, and their ginseng vitality mask.
My lip balm
Vaseline Lip Therapy cocoa butter. At the end of the day, your lips are so soft, and it’s also the cheapest thing you can buy!
My face tools
Originally Appeared on Glamour