If you've ever dealt with acne, you know how much it sucks. It can feel like no matter how many prescription creams and drugstore serums you slather on your zits, and no matter how nicely you treat your face, your acne breakouts keep coming back with a vengeance.
So when one woman on Reddit posted a before-and-after photo of her "cured" acne, the internet—and yours truly—naturally freaked out, congratulating her and demanding her routine. The key to her clear skin? Retinol, a chemical exfoliator, which cleared up her adult acne in just three months.
How did retinol clear up her skin?
"Over-the-counter-products worked well for my mild teen acne, but after I turned 20, my skin started going downhill, which took a toll on my confidence and self-esteem," the woman (who goes by Trulystellar on Reddit) says. After two years of trying to self-treat her breakouts with no success, she eventually talked to her dermatologist, who prescribed her tretinoin (a type of retinoid that's a bit stronger than retinol).
"This stuff is a miracle in a tube," she says. "I immediately noticed a reduction in texture, and after a few months, my acne is gone and the fine lines on my forehead have vanished."
The before-and-after photos show her forehead prior to using tretinoin, in all , along with a picture of her forehead after just three months, looking completely bright, clear, and smooth. Even though this looks like some mystical voodoo, it's really just the result of the tretinoin, which speeds up your cell turnover to fade acne scars, unclog pores, and smooth wrinkles. It's basically the holy grail for treating aging and acne at the same time.
This article originally appeared on MarieClaire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.