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This Canadian TikToker Built A Following By Sharing Her Acne Journey & Here's How She Did It

These are her top tips for battling breakouts.

Sponsored Content Contributing Writer, Studio
This Canadian TikToker Built A Following By Sharing Her Acne Journey & Here's How She Did It

Dealing with pesky breakouts and textured skin can be a real pain. But the truth is, everyone's skin has its own unique characteristics, and that's totally normal.

Skin has uneven tone, discolouration and bumps. It can be oily, dry or a combination of the two (and it can change over time). Whatever you're dealing with, it's essential to develop a skincare routine that works for you.

Canadian Instagrammer Nikki knows this all too well, which is why she began documenting her experience with acne on @uglyducklingskincare, with a mission to embrace her real skin, find the products that work and help others on their own unique skincare journeys.

Narcity caught up with Nikki to chat all things skincare and acne. Read on to discover her best tips.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Nikki's story

Nikki never suffered from acne in her teens but in her twenties, Nikki's skin changed, leading her to search for a cure to the breakouts.

"There were times I’d cancel plans because of a breakout, (more times than I’d like to admit), and I avoided any situation where I’d have to show bare skin," Nikki told Narcity.

After embracing her skin for what it was, Nikki started @uglyducklingskincare in 2020 with a desire to help others struggling to feel confident in their skin. Three years later, she's built a combined following of over 350,000 on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube — an impressive number for a passion project that she runs on top of her full-time job in finance.

Rather than buying and trying products based on her skin type, she focuses on building a regimen around her skin concerns of the moment. The staples of her routine remain constant, though: a great cleanser, a targeted serum, moisturizer, and sunscreen.

When her skin is in breakout mode, Nikki adds only one more step, sharing: "The only difference for me is the addition of a targeted acne treatment, which can be drying, so you need to be more selective with the rest of the products in your routine and choose wisely."

She's also a big fan of sticking with the products you've found work for your skin, rather than buying into outrageous marketing claims and always trying something new. For Nikki, that includes CeraVe's Acne Foaming Cleanser, and many more of their products she's fallen in love with.

"CeraVe has been a staple in my routine for years — I used the foaming facial cleanser all throughout my 20s," she said.


for your acne AND your underarms! (AD) things I wish I knew about acne as a teen, as someone who has dealt with acne on and off for 10 years. One of my favourite ingredients, and one I still turn to, is Benzoyl Peroxide. I love the 4% #CeraVe Foaming Acne Wash and use it as a cleanser weekly, and bonus tip, I love it for my underarms to help control odour. My fave CeraVe Acne Foaming Cleanser also contains 3 essential ceramides, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide to help maintain the skin’s moisture barrier #ceravepartner #developedwithderms

"I love their affordability and commitment to simple ingredients that work. It’s a brand I rely on and recommend to everyone," she noted, adding that it's not necessary to spend a fortune to treat your skin well.

CeraVe's Acne Line

There's a reason that CeraVe's acne products are a favourite for breakout-prone skin — they're packed with helpful ingredients, like 4% benzoyl peroxide, an ingredient Nikki loves.

"I keep a benzoyl peroxide cleanser on rotation weekly, and then spot treat with a salicylic acid and pimple patches when needed (my favourite is the 'ice it, treat it, forget it' method)," Nikki said of her current skincare routine.

CeraVe's Acne Foaming Cleanser, which contains benzoyl peroxide, helps clear acne pimples and prevent new breakouts from forming. Plus, it's formulated with conditioning ingredients such as three essential ceramides, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid to help restore the skin barrier and allow skin to heal.

Recommended by the Acne and Rosacea Society of Canada, CeraVe's Acne Foaming Cleanser is also developed with dermatologists (like all of their products). So, Narcity caught up with double board-certified dermatologist Dr. Monica Li to get the low-down on why these ingredients are good choices for those with acne-prone skin."

Courtesy of CeraVe

A number of active ingredients are integrated into CeraVe products that target the causes contributing to acne development. These include benzoyl peroxide, retinol, salicylic acid, niacinamide and glycolic acid," Dr. Li explained, adding that the brand's Acne Control Gel, Acne Foaming Cleanser and Resurfacing Retinol Serum are all great examples.

Dr. Li says retinol helps with cell turnover to reduce acne-causing congestion and recommends pairing the serum with a moisturizer to alleviate potential dryness: "The PM Moisturizing Lotion and AM Moisturizer Lotion with SPF are excellent options," she said.

Everyone's skin is unique

Of course, what works for one person's skin may not work for someone else's. Nikki recommends sticking to the basics, sharing, "acne is so well studied… I stick to the proven ingredients: benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and retinoids being my favourites."

And if you have any questions, Nikki says her DMs on @uglyducklingskincare are always open.

In the meantime, if you want to start working with your own breakout-prone skin rather than fighting it, CeraVe's acne line of skin-restoring cleansers, serums, gels and moisturizers are an accessible option that won't break the bank.

To build your acne care routine, visit CeraVe's website.

Jenna Marie Schwartz
Sponsored Content Contributing Writer, Studio
Jenna Marie Schwartz is a Sponsored Content Contributing Writer for the Studio department focused on sponsored content and is based in Winnipeg, Canada.