6 things I do (and don't do) when I'm suffering from 'beauty editor' skin.

Listen to this story being read by Erin Docherty, here. 

Being Mamamia's beauty editor grants me many, many joys: trying sparkly new products before they hit shelves, attending fancy events, becoming friends with the postman, etc, etc.

B**chy, irritated skin is not one of those joys.

Now, I'm not saying this gig isn't a good time – but every now and then, things can get a bit hairy and unexpected on the skin front. Because contrary to what you might believe, beauty editors don't all have perfect skin. HA! Imagine that.

Because there's so many different products to try! So many different strengths! So many silly TikTok hacks! Only so many layers of skin!

Watch: A little snippet of another new friend. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

For example, last week my skin was looking a little bit... wonderful. Like, almost too good. Glowy. Clear. Kind of smug about it, in fact.

Fast forward to this week, and I've started using some new active products and have suddenly been blessed with a cute smattering of breakouts across my chin and cheeks.

Everything is feeling a helluva lot drier (than usual), a little irritated (especially around my eyes! Always the eyes) – and oh! Are they a couple of flaky patches? 



Image: Supplied

But alas, it's just part of the game. Your skin can be a real jerk sometimes – even when you're giving it a heap of nice things and paying it lots of attention and getting all this good advice from experts. 

Anyway. When my skin decides to start throwing a tanty, it's one big fat sign that it's time to switch things up.

So, here are six things I do (and don't do) when I'm suddenly dealing with breakouts and skin irritations and lots of other fun stuff.


Just a wee note before I start: Obviously this is all a bunch of stuff that works for my face and my individual skin concerns - but head to a dermatologist or skin expert if you're looking to suss out what's going on with your skin. Mmmkay? Good! Are we taking your car or mine?

1. Pull everything back.

It's back to basics, baby. When my skin is having a ~moment~, I like to pare everything back, and focus on repairing and nourishing my skin barrier rather than continuing to annihilate with it. Because when my skin is upset and yell-y, I find that less is always more.

This means I'll focus on using products that are gentle, creamy and safe for sensitive skin (see: all the boring-looking products that are actually really great for your skin), as well as adding as much moisture to my face as possible – including slapping on moisturiser morning and night. 

If things are *extra* dry and needy, I'll pop on an overnight mask or apply a nourishing balm all over my face and just give my skin a big old whack of hydration. 

2. Avoid too many active ingredients.

If things aren't looking great and everything feels really irritated, I'll also usually ditch active ingredients until things settle down for a bit.

That means I shelf the retinol/vitamin A, vitamin C, AHAs, BHAs, and any other letters of the alphabet. Sad, I know. But this gives my skin a chance to heal, take a holiday and decide wtf it wants to do with its life. 

3. Don't introduce any other new products.

While I heavily enjoy swapping and switching between different products (you wouldn't BELIEVE how much) that are all fresh and shiny and just-out-into-the-wild, now is not a good time to try anything new. In fact, it's a very bad time to do that. So, I don't.


This also goes for trying whacky TikTok hacks for the You Beauty podcast. If my skin is irritated or breaking out (or a little bit of column A and a little bit of column B), I'll either hand the baton to someone else or wait it out until my skin feels comfortable enough to have something like lube slathered all over it.

Speaking of, have a listen to You Beauty right here! Post continues after podcast. 

4. Make friends with a detox mask. Wear it on my face.

If my skin isn't feeling dry or irritated (what a treat!), but I've got a couple of BIG, LOUD shiners on my face (not a treat!), I'll get acquainted with a detox mask and use this once or twice a week. 

While breakouts are different for everyone, for me, detox masks are the easiest way to draw out all that junk that's just chilling in my pores, and get things on the road to recovery. 

I have a few faves here. Cosmedix Detox Mask, $59, is a real wizard and brings all of your goopy little friends up to the surface within a few hours. Another goodie is Beauté Pacifique Deep Pore Cleansing Mask, $48. Both are a very good time for assisting with congestion.

If I'm just breaking out in one area – say, just on my chin – I'll opt for a combo, and apply the detox mask where I need it and use a more hydrating formula on the rest of my face.

5. Avoid squeezing and picking spots.

Omg I'm so bad at this one. Like INSANELY not great at it. Because trying to not squeeze pulsating spots on your face is a very difficult thing to do. My one rule? If I'm going to squeeze it, it has to have a very obvious head. If it's just red and shiny and ten feet under my skin – no touchy.


My other rule is that if I'm going to squeeze it, I'll do it the right way. That is, no digging in with the nails, no bleeding, no tearing of the skin. And absolutely NO picking of the spot when it's a little bit flaky and just trying to heal, dammit.

6. Switch out my pillowcase.

Another thing I'll do if I find my skin is breaking out a lot, is to make sure I'm rotating my pillowcase regularly enough. Because while my pimples are sometimes the result of using new active ingredients, sometimes it's just due to congestion and clogged pores (breakouts and skin purging are different things, you guys).

You're supposed to switch 'em over once a week – so, my face going to absolute poo tends to remind me to stay on top of it. 

What can I do if I have beauty editor skin?

The fun thing is, you can also be blessed with beauty editor skin even if you're not a beauty editor! 


If you've been dipping your perfectly manicured toes into all different kinds of new, buzzy products and ingredients, and are suddenly experiencing some sensitivity and redness, with a side of irritation – you might have a compromised skin barrier, friend. But don't worry, it happens to the best of us! Especially beauty editors.

My number one tip, would be what I was talking about up there ^ – the 'less is more' thing. Try cutting your skincare routine right back, and use only the most basic, sensitive-skin friendly products.

Ditch the concentrated active ingredients, the fluffy new serums and the harsh exfoliators and peels, and focus on repairing, soothing and hydrating your skin. Because if you've done a real number on it, it can take a bit of time to heal – results won't happen overnight.


One of my go-to products for when I've really messed with my skin barrier is La Roche Posay B5 Cicaplast Baume, $19.95 – I talk about it at least once a week. I'd pop this on my face at night (it's thick, just FYI) and let it all soak in.

Just also be wary of using a whole heap of different ingredients on your skin, because they don't always play nice. There are certain skincare ingredients that shouldn't be mixed – for example, retinol, AHAs and BHAs aren't fun together. They don't dance at parties and certainly won't speak to each other.

Aside from the sensitivity front, if you're experiencing skin purging after using some fancy new active ingredients, sometimes the best thing you can do is to wait it out and not pick/squeeze/make everything worse. 

I know, I know. The s**ttest advice – but the most effective, I promise. 

What do you do when your skin decides to flip out? Share your tips with us in the comment section below. Go on, I showed you mine!

Looking for expert skin advice? We're giving you access to the best skin experts in the world. For the women who wash their face with a bar of soap, to the 12-steppers and everyone in between. The Skin Summit, presented by Mamamia, is an online event for anyone with a face. Streaming direct to your couch. Click here to join the waitlist and be the first to access early bird discount tickets.

Feature image: Erin Docherty/Mamamia.