How to Deal with a Bad Skin Day

We’ve all had them at one point or another–the “bad” skin day. This can mean different things for different people with varying skin types, including acne breakouts, redness and irritation, flare-ups of eczema or psoriasis, or simply a dull, lackluster complexion. The good news is that these symptoms don’t have to be permanent, as there are a number of skincare tips you can follow to help revive your skin and restore a brighter, smoother and healthier-looking complexion.

Go Minimal

When your skin isn’t looking or feeling great, it can be tempting to pile on product after product, followed by extra makeup. Although this is probably your first inclination, these habits can worsen your skin’s condition rather than help to clear it up quickly and effectively.

Instead, it’s best to take a minimal approach to your skin routine in these instances. If you are going to wear makeup, keep it light. The same goes for your skincare products. Use a cleanser, a moisturizer, and a gentle day cream and call it a day. This will help to give your skin a chance to restore itself without battling further irritation or clogged pores.


Although some nonessential products can stay on the shelf during a bad skin day, cleanser is one product that you don’t want to forget. Washing your face can help to sweep away the dirt, oil, makeup and other debris that may have become trapped inside your pores and is aggravating acne. If a dull, flaky complexion is a concern, removing the buildup on the surface of your skin by using the right cleanser can help to brighten your look.


Using a moisturizer can help to improve just about any unwanted skin condition, even in the case of acne-prone skin. The key is to understand the various types of moisturizing ingredients and choose the one (or combination) that best suits your needs.

    • Humectants are ingredients that draw moisture from the air in order to hydrate your skin. Be aware, however, that if the air humidity is not high enough, humectants can also pull water from the underlying layers of skin.
  • Occlusives are moisturizing ingredients that act as a barrier so that water cannot evaporate from the skin’s surface. For this reason, humectants are best used in combination with occlusives.
  • Emollients are typically esters or oils that are added to moisturizing formulas to add easy spreadability, as well as to help repair the skin barrier (Cosmetics and Toiletries).

Skip Exfoliation

Even when your skin is very flaky and itchy, it can be a good idea to skip exfoliation until you begin to see and feel an improvement in your skin’s condition. Exfoliating your skin can cause further irritation and may worsen the problem. Keep in mind, too, that depending on your skin type, you may not be able to tolerate regular exfoliation. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you evaluate your skin type and condition before beginning an exfoliation regimen.

Double-Check for Irritating Ingredients

In many cases, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of skin irritation, acne breakouts, or flare-ups of existing conditions. When these occur, double-check the ingredients in your skincare products to make sure you’re not unknowingly using products that could be contributing to unwanted skin conditions.

Some common skincare ingredients that are known irritants include sulfates, parabens, fragrance and essential oils. Whenever possible, avoid these ingredients and opt for skincare products that are fragrance- and dye-free and are non-comedogenic, meaning they won’t clog pores.

The skinbetter science Smoothing Experience contains three excellent anti-aging products that are gentle enough for sensitive skin types, yet are also nourishing and powerful enough to deliver effective results. If your skin typically cannot handle anti-aging products that contain retinoids, try AlphaRet® Overnight Cream FACE, part of the Smoothing Experience. This formula contains a revolutionary combination of a retinoid with lactic acid to help smooth the appearance of lines and wrinkles without causing irritation*.

In Summary

It’s not uncommon to experience the occasional bad skin day here and there, but you can minimize these occurrences by following a consistent skincare regimen that includes the most effective products that won’t aggravate skin. When a not-so-great skin day does happen, have a skincare back-up plan in mind that incorporates these handy tips!

*Individual results may vary.

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