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skin tantrums

There are those times when your skin seems to have its own mind and purpose, antagonizing you with each glance or inspection the mirror.

Maybe it’s stress, diet or hormones, or a combination of all of those factors, your skin remains steadfastly, defiantly unbalanced for days and sometimes weeks. Ashley, FUTURE LYNN’s Beauty Contributor, and I were recently comparing skin freakout modes. We figured we could share our own fix-it routines, just in case you are in a similar desperate state.


I generally run on the dry side, but for some reason this winter my skin just went to a new level of sensitivity. I suspect it’s perimenopausal changes (but then again, I blame everything on perimenopause, even my Spotify 2020 Year End Wrapped list). There were a couple of weeks where my forehead and temples were constantly flaky and shedding skin. It was as gross as it sounds. I think some people might turn to polishes and scrubs if they see some flakiness, but for me, introducing an exfoliator can cause even more skin irritation, which then leads to more flakiness. Totally begets, if you know what I mean.

So my morning and night routines were boiled down to a bare minimum: (1) wear no makeup, (2) use only cold water to wash my face, and (3) stick to very simple, soothing skincare products.

Tatcha’s Indigo Cream is one of my go-to’s when my skin is irritated. It’s super rich and calming, and great for anyone who suffers from inflamed skin (perfect for post-laser treatments, for example). Laneige Cica Sleeping Mask is also a great product calming irritated skin. It’s part of a collection of sleeping masks, but this one is my favorite because it’s a richer cream-based formula rather than gel-based. And I’m not afraid to use a little Vaseline Petroleum Jelly on a spot here or there, if needed. I know it’s controversial, but sometimes you just need this plain-jane emollient when everything else just seems to frustrate your skin further.

Acne + Eczema

Ashley also struggles with areas of patchy dry skin, but also has acne along her jawline. When outbreaks occur, she stays consistent with cleansing, wears only clean masks when going outside, and also reminds herself to keep her hands away from her chin and jaw areas. For the acne prone areas of her face, she uses Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser which contains salicylic acid to control the oil, but is still very light and non-stripping.

She’s also been loving the Jorgobé Niacinamide Serum which she uses each morning. She finds this serum calms the acne and evens out the texture and tone of her skin.

Ashley also recommends two exfoliators to help clear pores and minimize their appearance: Umbrian Clay Pore Purifying Face Exfoliator for all skin types, and the more intense Formula 10.0.6 One Smooth Operator Pore Clearing Face Scrub for those with oily or non-sensitive skin.

On the days when she isn’t exfoliating, she will use a facial brush like the MISS A Cala Face Cleansing Brush with a foaming cleanser like Kate Somerville’s EradiKate Daily Foaming cleanser.

After cleansing, Ashley applies a few layers of lightweight hydrating serums or cream-based moisturizers (rather than gel-based ones). Her choices for serums include the Jorgobé Niacinamide Serum mentioned above, Kiehl’s Vital Skin-Strengthening Hyaluronic Acid Super Serum,and Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate. (I especially agree with Ashley’s recommendation of the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate – it absorbs quickly, and visibly improves the texture of your skin without being irritating.)

And these are her current favorite cream-based moisturizers, to layer over the serums: Youth to the People Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask, and Youth to the People Adaptogen Moisturizer.

Your Scalp

Just in case you are washing your hair less these days, it might be useful to exfoliate your scalp once in a while to remove the buildup of dead skin and oils that may cause some flakiness and even acne. I have used Christophe Robin’s Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt for a while now. It’s a bit of a splurge, but the container will last a very long time since you use it only every so often. It feels incredibly refreshing and provides a surprisingly amount of lather while you scrub away. I follow it with a soothing conditioner like Oribe’s Serene Scalp Balancing Conditioner. Again, another splurge, but maybe just use it once in a while to give yourself a little special spa day.

As always, we hope this has been useful. It’s fairly stressful to go through any type of inflammation or flare-up, and I know it often leads to a lot of experimentation, frustration and disappointment. Try to remember that it will pass, refrain from picking and examining your skin to no end, and keep your hands away from that jawline.

Do you have any follow up questions or comments? Or do you have your own favorite product recommendations to share? Please send an email to Would love to hear from you. 🖤

all opinions are our own; no free products or compensation were received from manufacturers for these mentions, with the exception of a sample of Jorgobé Niacinamide Serum tried by Ashley. Links embedded will direct to the manufacturer’s sites, but you can also shop these products from retailers like Ulta, Nordstrom, and Sephora.

main photo credit: Kelly Kennedy, @earlllgrey

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