Acne Before and After


My name is Becky, and I am the founder of le SECT. This might surprise you, but it wasn’t that long ago that I routinely struggled with acne. I was constantly broken out, with hormonal cystic acne on my jaw, blackheads all over my T zone, and a forehead so textured that even the blur tool in photo editing apps couldn’t help me. It took a huge toll on my self esteem; I felt like I couldn’t leave the house without makeup on, and even then, the texture and redness often showed through foundation with no problem. Quite frankly, I was embarrassed by my face, and no one should have to feel that way.

At the time, I wasn’t entirely sure what caused my acne; I thought it was something I just had. And, unfortunately, if you don’t know what’s causing a problem, you’ll never be able to recognize the solution. So every time I walked into a beauty retailer, desperate to find a “holy grail” product to fix my skin, I was overwhelmed with possibilities, and willing to try anything.

Could this clear up my face? This is expensive and looks fancy, so it must do a better job than other products, right? It was an endless cycle of purchasing, testing, getting nowhere (or sometimes making my face much worse), and returning.

Eventually, during yet another hopelessly frustrated late night googling session, I was able to find a few unbiased resources about skin anatomy and skincare products. I read and read, and eventually came away even more frustrated. Not only were many skincare products riddled with fragrances and known irritants, but these ingredients were even included in many “sensitive skin” fan favorites. I went over to my medicine cabinet and started reading… yep, probably half of the items I was using had some sort of fragrance or known irritant on the ingredient list. Not only that, but a lot of active ingredients in skincare products, like vitamins, antioxidants, and retinol, degrade in the presence of light and/or air. So that new cream I bought in the pretty glass jar? Yea, it’s fancy ingredient list wasn’t doing much after a few uses.

As I learned more and more, I refined my skincare routine, started making a few lifestyle changes, and eventually, my skin cleared up. It certainly wasn’t an overnight process (the before and after photos above were taken 13 months apart), but it was so worth it to feel like I finally had my skin figured out. I’m not going to pretend that it’s perfect all the time now; I still get breakouts every now and then, but they are much fewer and farther in between. Most days I feel like makeup is totally optional, which, in my opinion, is how it should be.


Once I had successfully figured out the cause of my acne and addressed it, I wanted to help other people do the same. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a retailer that curated its selection to only include products that:

1) don’t include any known fragrance, irritants, or sensitizers

2) are a proper pH level to use on skin

3) have packaging that does not render active ingredients useless before you finish the product

So I started compiling a list of ingredients, and researching how they affect skin. The research primarily comes from peer reviewed articles or databases compiled from such research (such as Paula’s Choice Ingredient Dictionary, EWG, and the Cosmetic Ingredient Review). All available sources are considered before any specific ingredient is given a final rating. If it is classified as a fragrance, or found to be an irritant or sensitizer, then it is placed on the “No” list.

So far, 1,800 ingredients (and counting) have been assessed, with over 300 falling into the “No” list. None of these 300+ ingredients can be found in any of the products that will be available through le SECT.

My goal is to make this store two things:

  1. A short list for consumers, filled with only the best products that are formulated properly, because no one should have to put in over a year of research in order to learn how to identify products that won’t irritate their skin.
  2. A source of unbiased information for all things skincare, so that if someone wants to become an expert, they can.

Since I am just one person, the “store” is going to be set up using affiliate links (for now). This means that if you click through to an item and purchase it, I may receive a small percentage of that sale. If you decide to purchase using an affiliate link, then thank you in advance! Your support is very appreciated, and let’s me gage how interested the internet is in this store becoming a real business.

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Thank you!