How Reddit Helped This Teen With Autism Find an Affordable Skin-Care Routine

Many beauty lovers know that the Skincare Addiction subreddit is a go-to resource for tried-and-true product recommendations from die-hards just like you. It's also become a virtual safe space where people can openly share tips and photos of their daily routines and skin conditions ranging from severe acne to dryness to hyperpigmentation.

So naturally, the forum was the first choice for San Francisco resident Callie Ross-Smith, 19, who turned to the community to help find a skin-care routine for her 16-year-old autistic brother, Alec. He had been teased at school over his acne — and Redditors everywhere were ready to share all of their best advice.

As Yahoo! reported, the thread, which was posted on June 20, quickly garnered responses packed with thoughtful, detailed recommendations to help Alec's skin. Best of all, many of the helpful Redditors noted that their advice was passed to them by friends and family on the autism spectrum. The recommendations not only take into account Alec's skin concerns but also recognize that he may have more specific product needs or ingredient sensitivities that are often associated with autism.

Others supported Callie's dedication to helping her brother find a way to fix his skin concerns. "It seems you’ve gotten plenty of good advice, but I just want to say that you’re an awesome sibling!" wrote a mom with an autistic son. "My heart swells for you and your efforts to help your brother. I have a special needs brother who also had (what sounds like) similar issues. I’m sure he is thankful for your help ?," wrote another user.

“In almost all cases, a dermatologist is a great person to turn to to help with severe acne, but for my brother, the traditional methods of fighting acne — such as topicals — just weren’t working,” Callie told Yahoo!. According to Callie, her brother's dermatologist "wasn’t sure what to do with us” after oral antibiotics — which successfully minimized Alec's breakouts, but are not a viable long-term solution — led to negative interactions with his anxiety and seizure medications.

However, thanks to the outpouring of advice from Reddit, Callie had found a new routine featuring almost exclusively drugstore products, just two days after her original post. According to her reply to the thread, Alec's morning routine consists of cleansing his face with water and Simple's Kind to Skin Cleansing Facial Wipes and moisturizing with either CeraVe Moisturizing Cream or First Aid Beauty.

At night, he'll repeat the process with the facial wipes and moisturizer, and once his skin adjusts to this routine, the plan is to eventually add a clarifying gel-based cleanser and Stridex pads, which contain acne-fighting salicylic acid.

"I decided to turn to [Reddit] because I saw how open and friendly everyone is in the SCA subreddit,” Callie told Teen Vogue. "It's always been a place for discussion and a positive environment — I felt like my brother's needs would fit right in with the goals of the community."

While acne can be one of the most isolating skin conditions, especially for young people, the objective of her thread was never to just help find the right solution for her brother's breakout: “My end goal really from this, though, for Alec as a person, is for him to learn a bit more on how to take care of himself. I feel like when people see that he respects himself, people will respect him.” Of course, everyone should be respected with or without their acne — it’s the most common skin condition in the world — but if treating your zits gives you an extra boost of confidence, that can be crucial to combatting bullies in the long run.

"If I could have everyone who responded in that thread, I’d just want to thank them for their kindness and time," Callie told Teen Vogue. "My family’s top priority is to have Alec be seen as an individual and be respected, and I believe the people from this thread did just that. For that, my family and I are extremely grateful."

"This community is really capable of beautiful things when we put our heads together," Callie wrote in her final post to the thread. "I’ve never seen a better example of human kindness." Agreed.

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