The Realest Q: Is 100 Percent Clear Skin Even Possible?

Why we fight.

Yellow, Skin, Forehead, Eyebrow, Eyelash, Style, Organ, Temple, Neck, Earrings,
(Image credit: Getty)

It's about time somebody asked: What is even the point? From that first adolescent sojourn to the Clinique counter to going on The Pill ("for your skin, RIGHT?" as Kris Jenner needled Kylie) to funneling your rent money into Sunday Riley in the name of genes better than the ones you were born with, it's been a long, hard battle for a clear complexion—when will it ever end?

(Queue up this song.)

Of course, the point is that you might be 30 percent more spotty than you are now had you not spent years cutting out cheese and wheat and titrating hyaluronic and salicylic acids after that disastrous summer when something in your biology triggered one long volcanic breakout that didn't clear up until your freshman year of college. (Fact: Every woman can pinpoint exactly when she had her worst skin ever—that's how important this question is.) But whatever your issue—fine lines, uneven texture, hyperpigmentation—wouldn't you want to know if, in the end, your efforts would still be mostly futile?

"We understand a lot about the etiology of pimples—what causes them to form, even in the early stages," said Dr. Rachel Nazarian at Schweiger Dermatology Group. "And we use our topical and oral medication to prevent breakouts from ever happening. They make take a few weeks, or even months, to have maximum efficacy, but ultimately you can find a regimen that clear you completely and keeps you clear for a long time."

BUT WHAT IF I WANT IT NOW AND TO KEEP IT THAT WAY...FOREVER? Not possible, said Dr. Nazarian—at least not without some work. "Clear skin is possible, but not necessarily entirely through life without changing your regimen. Even people who took Accutane, which may keep skin clear for decades, will still break out occasionally and need to keep a basic skincare regimen." She would also like to add that she's personally never met anybody who's never had a zit, and that anybody who *says* she's never had a zit without any sort of maintenance is lying, so there.


Lip, Cheek, Hairstyle, Skin, Chin, Forehead, Eyebrow, Facial expression, Iris, Jaw,

(Image credit: Getty, design by Betsy Farrell)

But let's not develop a defeatist attitude about all this, shall we? Because isn't that what America (god save her)—nay, life— is all about? Constantly striving and recklessly hoping against all reason that, with some perspiration and 2 percent BHA exfoliant, we might someday achieve our wildest dreams? Soldier on, we say. Some things are worth waiting for.

Follow Marie Claire on Facebook for the latest celeb news, beauty tips, fascinating reads, livestream video, and more.

Chelsea Peng
Assistant Editor

Chelsea Peng is a writer and editor who was formerly the assistant editor at She's also worked for The Strategist and Refinery29, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. On her tombstone, she would like a GIF of herself that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, she's into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard she has to go lie down.