How I’m Staying (Mostly) Blemish Free

We’re bringing this post back as a timely follow up to our discussion about acne-banishing toners last week. ‘Tis the season for breakouts!

A few months back, I entered a phase of having stress breakouts.  This was something more than just the very specifically timed hormonal breakouts I’ve been used to.  Although Annmarie Gianni’s oil really works for those hormonal breakouts, it can be drying if used too often on the more sensitive parts of my face, plus I’m not in love with the scent.  I decided to try some new products.

There’s no better way to feel beautiful and confident than to have clear, glowing skin.  A healthy lifestyle is the best way to get there, but ya know I need a little extra help sometimes.  These two products are the perfect solution for me.

Blissoma Smooth A+ Perfecting Serum: I love this brand!  Everything I’ve used feels immediately soothing and wonderful on the skin.  This serum lets me add a layer of blemish protection without piling on too many oils.  I generally put this on between my face oil and sunscreen during the day, or between oil and a balm at night.  Usually I can just use it once a day, but if things are particularly harrowing I may use it twice.  It sinks right in and has a matte finish, yet is not drying at all.  It both prevents and treats blemishes, and I find myself with fewer blackheads and diminished pores.  The scent is very light – mainly I detect rose and frankincense.  This stuff is pretty perfect. ($25.99/1 oz)

Osmia Organics Spot Treatment: I didn’t even know I wanted a spot treatment until I tried this on a whim, while ordering some luscious Osmia body oils.  The Spot Treatment is an overnight wonder, without the drying or the overly strong scent some spot treatments have.  I mostly smell rosemary and citrus.  I’ve had success with this whether applied to bare skin, between layers of other products, or on top of everything. ($20/.16 oz)

It feels satisfying to have found blemish treatments so good I can stop looking for something else!  Have you tried these?


*First published March 2014.

42 Responses to “How I’m Staying (Mostly) Blemish Free”
  1. Hazel says:

    I’ve tried Osmia’s spot treatment. It’s great. Doesn’t dry out my skin to treat blemishes. Before that I’d be on a cycle of treat blemish, peel, treat, peel, etc. That stuff is a godsent,

  2. Emily says:

    I’m looking for a serum to help balance my oily/combination and acne prone skin – but I have a fragrance sensitivity to rose which has made it really challenging to find something that both works on my skin and doesn’t send my olfactory nerves into a tail spin. I’m also allergic to tree nuts, which future complicates things. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  3. No unfortunately I haven’t tried these. I’m still looking for the perfect spot treatment

  4. Kaylin says:

    I love Blissoma so much! I have both hormonal and stress-induced acne (24 and in grad school, yay!). I bought the A+ smoothing serum as sample first and couldn’t believe how great it worked as a spot treatment. It stopped inflamed pimples in their tracks. I’ve moved on to using it all over my face, twice daily. I mix it with the Pure lotion and find that to be all the moisturizer my combination skin needs. The occasional pimple I get these days is quickly subdued by this regimine. My sister uses the Awake cream and has seen her mild acne improve greatly. It has many of the same soothing ingredients as the A+ serum. We can both attest to how great the Free gel cleanser is at removing makeup without stripping the skin. I’m thrilled to have found a line that works so well with my skin!

  5. nan says:

    Highest compliments on Blissoma! I’ve been using their Amend serum – thanks to yet another one of your wonderful posts/suggestions – and it is really great. I’m very glad I tried.
    Hopefully I won’t be needing those but if the need arises, I already know where to turn to.

    Best, always

  6. I used to have blemishes almost everyday. Instead of looking fresh and radiant from the shower, I was looking worn out. I found out that it was an allergic reaction to the facial wash I was using then I went all organic but it got worst, my face kept itching. I am using a simple cleanser and moisturizer but it doesn’t do much of a rejuvenation to my skin. Reading through this post it’s all been compliments. I hope to share the same testimonies soon.

  7. Emma B says:

    I haven’t tried these, but I would like to. I have been getting some annoying rosacea breakouts on my cheeks. I may put an order for Blissoma samples next time an American friend visits (shipping to Canada is $30). Are there any Canadian stores that carry their products? I know that Clementine Fields has Osmia Organics products now.

    Because my skin gets so easily aggravated, I tend to do masks to prevent breakouts. My skin can deal with the irritation once a week but not daily. Following a previous post by Rebecca, I’ve started using the May Lindstrom Problem Solver on my jaw line and it’s really effective at unclogging pores and preventing breakouts. Unfortunately it irritates my cheeks. Pink clay (Argiletz) seems to soothe and unclog too. I’ve also got an eye on Marie Veronique Pacifics exfoliating moisture mask, which contains lactic acid. I’m looking for a gentle way of exfoliating and clearing pores without rubbing…

  8. Dana LaVoie says:

    I haven’t tried these particular products from Blissoma… I use the Nahla Beauty Organic Blemish Stick for breakouts. I I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT, and it is one of our most popular products. I can apply it to my dry, sensitive skin as many times per day as i like – blemishes vanish in 24-48 hours, and it never dries out the area or causes flaking of any kind. It can also be used preventatively as a serum. In our shop, we find that to balance oily, breakout-prone skin, we have the best luck with Nahla Beauty Oma No. 1 Serum (a facial oil), Nahla Beauty Primrose Calming Gel Moisturizer, and Living Libations Seabuckthorn Best Skin Ever. None of these has a strong smell – I don’t detect rose in any of these – but can check the ingredients – and we have samples available. I would love to hear what you think about these products. dana of

  9. Courtney says:

    I love the oil from Annemarie Gianni! Oddly enough, the scent is what I LOVE about it.

    Any ideas on how to recreate that scent? It’s a little too pricey for me to purchase as often as I want to.

  10. AJ says:

    These sound great–has anyone used them for resistant adult acne rather than just as a spot treatment? I’m currently doing natural products (Chagrin Valley Soap and Salve) and on a gluten-free dairy-free diet to no success and looking for an acne treatment that can help make a difference! Unfortunately, I think my problem is linked to the stresses of grad school :(

  11. Great post! I havent tried this beauty goodies but they are next in line for 2014 ( along with May Lindstrom products :-).x

  12. Lynne says:

    Osmia Spot Treatment is FANTASTIC. Works within hours. The redness/the bump/the everything is a mere shadow of what is was before. For more overall skin imbalances, I’ve been using Osmia Callibration Serum which seems to have even cut down on my need for the Spot Treatment!

  13. Nicolle Mackinnon says:

    I looooove both these products! I will go to my grave clutching the Osmia spot treatment – it’s the only thing that’s been working on my I-went-off-the-pill-and-got-a-horrible-internal-infection-that’s-showing-itself-on-my-skin blemishes (yeah, gross). The Blissoma is great too, for overall skin improvement. I don’t love the scent as much, but I think it’s just a little earthier than I like. It’s effectiveness makes the scent moot.

  14. Silvy says:

    Great post, and very timely, for me! I’ve been dealing with a nasty breakout that’s just about healed, but I’d love to give these puppies a try. So far, I’ve been using ACV as my spot treatment (this stuff is MAGIC- immediate results), and then putting a layer of my DIY blemish serum (rosehip and tea tree oil) over most of my face. Also did a clay mask yesterday and used Evan Healy’s Lemongrass Facial Polish as a mask (I think it really is gentle enough for breakouts), and have had great results! It was my first time trying the EH Facial Polish, and I love it! Really interesting ayurvedic ingredients.

  15. danielle says:

    My normally clear skin is dryer and breakout prone lately. i am not eating different so I have been trying to blame it on the long winter. I feel like my skin needs a bright day and some fresh air. It could be my age though-45; maybe I am in pre menopause. Or maybe extra stress at work. Either way, I think I will try the blisoma smooth. The price is good and I have never gone wrong with Rebecca’s recommendations.

  16. Angie says:

    I’m definitely going to have to try the Osmia spot treatment, thank you for the tip, timely post for me! Breakouts are the devil!

  17. AnnaMalone says:

    I haven’t tried those spot treatments before, but Pratima has a few products for problem/congested skin that have really been helping me. I have hormonal acne and skin that’s just prone to breakouts (even thought I’m 27, yay). Her herbal cleansers are excellent in that they are very gentle, but perfect for daily exfoliation and cleansing, even for my sensitive skin (I use the Pitta cleanser). The Sandalwood Soothing Lotion is a really great spot treatment and overall life-saver. And I am IN LOVE with the Lavender Clay Mask and Neem Purifying Cream. I was hesitant to try the Lavender Clay Mask at first, because I thought it might be too astringent, but I’m kicking myself for not trying it sooner. It nips those hormonal cystic blemishes in the bud, and it just makes your whole face feel so clarified and and clean and luminous. It actually has a semi-liquid consistency, which they told me makes it easier for the product to penetrate and heal the skin. (It also means it doesn’t dry your face out at all like some clay masks can; my skin actually feels quite hydrated after I use it.)

  18. Emy says:

    I’m currently using Retin-A for my cystic acne (it’s the one product I don’t dare let go of) — but I would love to try Blissoma Smooth A+ Perfecting Serum, due to the 4% niacinamide, which is the perfect concentration. :)

  19. Tegan says:

    this is the very combination ive been using for blemishes!!

  20. Hazel says:

    @Emma B: If you’re in Toronto there’s a retail store called Husk that carries Osmia Organics.

  21. Élora says:

    @Emma B: I live in Canada too and I’ve ordered Blissoma before from FoxyMango. It still ships from the US but if I remember correctly shipping was only around 10$ plus if you sign up for their newsletter or something you get 10% off so that can help offset the shipping charges. And I didn’t have to pay anything for customs. Hope this helps!

  22. Kasey says:

    This post could not have come at a better time! I’m experiencing lots of stress breakouts too which has been bumming me out because I’ve never been so prone to them before. I’ve been using the Osmia Spot Treatment and love it! I need to try that Blissoma Serum, sounds great! :)

  23. AJ says:

    @AnnaMalone: thanks for the tips! I will definitely check out Pratima

  24. Rebecca Bailey says:

    @Emily, it is hard to avoid both rose and tree nut oils. I can recommend Evan Healy’s Neem Immortelle Purifying Infusion ( I haven’t used it much on my face, but I’ve been trying it out on a weird neck breakout, and it’s working well. It is NOT stinky like neem typically is, it actually smells good.

    @Courtney, the Annmarie Gianni formula is so complex I don’t know if you can recreate, but the ingredients high on the list with the strongest scents (like rosemary and neem) might be a place to start.

    @AJ, the Blissoma Smooth can be used all over (as I do) or as a spot treatment. I recall that grad school stress, it’s intense. I wish I knew about all this great skin care back then!

    @Silvy, I haven’t tried the EH Lemongrass Polish yet, though I love the brand. How would you describe the scent? I have trouble with anything overly lemony.

    @danielle, at our age it’s much like puberty all over again. Buh! I hope Smooth works for you : )

    Good luck for those about to try these products, would love to hear how they work for your skin!

  25. AnnaMalone says:

    @AJ- you’re very welcome! Your skin sounds similar to mine. Pratima’s products are the ultimate in effective, natural luxury to me, and they’ve brought me a lot of relief. (Especially the lavender clay mask and the cleanser and oils made for Pitta complexions. I also adore her body oils.) They also have these really generous starter kits that are wonderful! I recently ordered the Pitta one for traveling. :)

  26. Silvy says:

    @Rebecca- To me, it doesn’t smell very lemony! It has a really earthy, herbal scent, definitely you can smell the triphala, chickpea powder, the tulsi… I guess it does have a subtle lemony scent, but combines with all the herbals for a more grassy smell.

  27. Rebecca Bailey says:

    @Silvy, thanks! Your description inspires me to give it a try.

  28. fern says:

    So, I had tried the Blissoma Perfecting Serum a couple of years ago and didn’t notice anything impressive. Since then, I worked on more of the internal reasons I have acne (very imbalanced hormones, food allergies, and too much sugar), and most of the acne cleared up, but not all of it – there’s still some hormonal stuff that goes on. I already use and love the Osmia spot treatment, so I thought I would try the perfecting serum again. I started using it 5 days ago, right when the usual hormonal spots started to pop up, and I was impressed with the results. The existing spots are clearing nicely (the bigger/deeper few are still there, but reduced in size and the smaller ones were gone within the first couple of days) and my skin tone is noticeably more even and a bit more glowy. This is the only thing I changed in my routine, so I’m going to go ahead and say I am now a superfan of the perfecting serum. Thank you, Rebecca, for convincing me to give it another try!

  29. I’ll have to try out the Blissoma Smooth A+ Perfecting Serum with such a glowing review for acneic skin like moi. I adore the Osmia Organics Spot Treatment but have been trying to find an alternative so my skin doesn’t become accustomed to it, that way it can keep delivering results.

    I’ve also been eyeing the facial oils/serums for acne-prone skin from Laurel Whole Plant Organics, OV Naturals, and Kypris. As for other spot treatments, the Province Apothecary is at the top of my wishlist and two budget friendly options are on my radar: Dessert Essence and the Zum Rub in Frankincense and Myrrh.

    Currently, when I have a blemish I’ve been using a detoxifying clay mask (i.e. May Lindstrom, Mahalo Care, Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay, etc.) as a spot treatment.

    @Emma B Nuicya, a Canadian online retailer, carries Blissoma.

  30. Michelle says:

    Tis the season for breakouts indeed, I’ve had quite a few along my jaw line recently which I attributed to hormones but they keep showing up! I was looking at the Indie Lee Blemish Stick but this Osmia Spot Trestment sounds good too. Thoughts on which one I should pick? Thanks!

  31. Mercedes says:

    I’ve found that manuka honey left on a pimple overnight helps it come to a head quickly, and then can be more effortlessly extracted. But I’ve been wanting to try the Osmia spot treatment for ages! Might pick it up the next time I order from The Detox Market or something. I’ve also had good success with the Burt’s Bees Blemish Stick in the past.

  32. Rebecca Bailey says:

    I’m still using these! For super powers during critical times, I may also add a couple drops of Odacite’s Black Cumin Cajeput from the Pure Elements serum concentrates (mixed with the Blissoma). I love it when products play nice together.

  33. Rebecca Bailey says:

    @Michelle, The Indie Lee ingredients are not something I would choose (Isopropyl Alcohol, Purified Water, Zinc, Sulphate, Salicylic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Camphor, Witch Hazel, Cellulose Gum, Menthol). Several of those are not what I would consider skin-friendly – most particularly the alcohol, camphor, and menthol. The Osmia is both gentle and effective, and the scent is light. In any case, I hope you find what works for you. I agree the jawline thing may be hormonal. Have you tried any changes in your eating habits? Eating super clean (plant-based and unprocessed) is the most important thing for my skin.

  34. Rebecca Bailey says:

    @Mercedes, love the honey trick too – I use manuka or thyme with great results. But, not always the most practical to sleep with honey. And for a blemish that I notice in the middle of the day, the Osmia usually takes care of it quickly without any mess.

  35. Sarah M says:

    Can anyone recommend something for the breakouts I’ve been getting on my back and chest?
    I switched from using oral birth control in February to a hormonal IUD and my skin hasn’t leveled out yet like I thought it would. Instead, it’s like my skin is taking revenge on me for the 10+ years I was on the pill :(.
    I know it can take a while for your body to re-adjust, but going from having zero pimples for over a decade to skin so bad that I can’t wear any of my summer clothes without feeling self conscious is disheartening. I’ve also had to start wearing face makeup regularly again, because I’ve been getting breakouts on my face (I rotate between RMS and Sante depending on the coverage I need).
    My doctor suggested an acne RX for it, but I’d like to avoid that if at all possible.
    I’ve tried the Osmia spot treatment but it didn’t work for my back and chest. My skin is really sensitive, but I’m getting pretty desperate at this point, and may succumb to the lure of big pharma if I can’t find a solution by the fall.
    I’ve been taking Florasil too, but I haven’t seen an improvement (
    Any help would be appreciated!

  36. Rebecca Bailey says:

    @Sarah M, For the back and chest, I’d recommend a weekly mask of May Lindstrom’s The Problem Solver (reviewed here:, and Evan Healy’s Neem Immortelle Purifying serum – I don’t seem to like it on my face but it’s great on my back, and a great price point for covering larger areas. Good luck!

  37. Megan says:

    Loving the recommendations. I mostly rely on treatment masks (DIY clay variations, manuka honey, May Lindstrom’s Problem Solver, etc.), but would love to try Osmia.

    I’m also curious to know: What natural concealers do other people use? I’m looking for a liquid or cream base with concentrated pigmentation, but don’t know where to start… I love RMS but un-cover was a bit too shiny and didn’t offer enough pigment to actually cover up the occasional angry-looking pimple. Can anyone recommend a more natural version of Make Up Forever’s Full Cover Concealer?

  38. Sarah M says:

    @ Rebecca Bailey:
    THANK YOU! I will check both of these out. Fingers crossed :)

  39. @Megan The Christopher Drummond is a liquid concealer that apparently is full coverage. I’ve also read that a little goes on a long way and that it is long lasting + doesn’t crease. It’s good for both spots and dark circles.

  40. Alyssa says:

    Hello all! I actually really love blissoma too. I used their fresh cleanser this winter and it really felt soothing on my skin. It took me a little bit to figure out that my skin didn’t need a ton of extra serums while using this- less is more when it comes to my acne! (Hormonal, jaw line, skin is combo leaning more towards dry) im going to try the free cleanser next for summer as it seems lighter. The smooth serum I have a sample of that has been lasting me forever is great too, I may have to pick up a full size when I get the free cleanser.

    Ive used the osmia spot treatment and felt that the smell was WAY too strong for me and while it doesn’t smell bad and I’m not scent sensitive it was at the point where coworkers could smell it on me from 10ft away! It was a bit too much for my skin also.

    The products I’ve had the most success with are leahlani’a honey love (works even better on my skin than mays clean dirt!) and her siren serum smells incredible and brightens my skin. Highly highly recommend. Also on lazier days I use acures brightening scrub which is a total dupe texture wise for my old favorite st. Ives scrub! I also just started using the last bits of eminences probiotic moisturizer. Smells strongly of tea tree and definitely not a winter moisturizer but great for summer. It is made for acne and also has Willow bark in it which is great for acne. Sometimes I mix it with a little of eminences red current spf 30 that I’m trying to finish up- great moisturizer with SPF that doesn’t break me out but I can’t find the exact ingredients anywhere which makes me nervous. Eminence is an organic line but I still wish I could see full list. Another recent discovery I’ve been doing well with is juice beauty’s spot treatment roll on- smells good but not strong, rolls on clear and drys so it works great under makeup.

    For the record I’ve also tried kypris clearing serum which I’m also trying to finish. It’s okay and hasn’t irrated me but I don’t think it’s doing enough for me to repurchase. That moonlight catalyst on the other hand…I only tried a sample but that stuff cleaned out my pores like no other. I’ve convinced myself I need to finish all other serums before purchasing though.

    Do any of my fellow acne prone people like the prickly pear serums by the way? I’ve tried samples and it definitely brightens everything up but I’m curious about long term. I’ve had it happen where I use something for a few weeks and it works awesome but then start reacting so I’m just wondering about anyone else’s experiences.

  41. Rachel says:

    Has anyone tried Moss skincare? I’ve been hearing good things.

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