So Soothing: Best Products for Sensitive Skin
Is your skin prone to inflammation or irritation? Do certain cleansers make you itchy or flaky? Do some moisturizers prompt you to break out? Well, then you’re probably used to navigating the tricky waters of having sensitive skin. But have you found the products that work for you? Well, not to worry, here’s a guide to some of the most effective yet gentle skincare products in the market.
When shopping for cleansers or lotions, keep in mind that it’s best to bypass any products with artificial dyes or fragrances. Also, baby products tend to be a safe bet since they’re designed for their tender skin. When reading through ingredient lists, keep an eye out for skin calming agents like lavender, aloe, white willow bark, chamomile, green tea, almond oil, licorice extract, and honey.
Here’s some useful info on the sensitive skin all-stars!
When I first started using Skyn Iceland’s big three — its Glacial Face Wash, The Antidote Quenching Daily Lotion (pictured above), and Icelandic Relief Eye Cream— I happened to be going through one of those “stressed skin” moments. I wasn’t getting enough sleep, was chuggin’ coffee like Juana Valdes (get the joke?), and my skin was reflecting my horrible routine, as I erupted in some unwanted breakouts which then led to redness and irritation. But then, I resorted to Skyn Iceland’s regimen and, within days, there was a remarkable difference (I realize that sounded very infomercial-y, but it’s so true!).
The Glacial Face Wash contains ingredients such as: gentle oat extract, cylindrica seed oil to repair the skin’s lipid barrier; Icelandic kelp to minimize inflammation; white willow bark to soothe and to serve as an antibacterial agent; Angelica Archangelica, an Icelandic plant that’s in the same family as ginseng and which helps to prevent infection; and Skyn Iceland’s trademark Biospheric Complex (which utilizes Icelandic glacial water, berries indigenous to the area, thyme extracts and other hydrating, skin-balancing components). The cleanser is powerful so, if you apply two pumps onto the palm of your hand and work into a nice, creamy lather, that should be more than enough for a thorough cleansing. Once you rinse off the face wash, it’ll feel like you peeled off a layer of skin to reveal a whole new, virginal layer. You know how sometimes you can feel a bit of cleanser residue even after rinsing? Not happening with this. Even better, you’ll get a nice, cool tingle along your skin.
The Antidote Quenching Daily Lotion is a light moisturizer that really penetrates the skin’s outer layer (you’ll actually fee a little bit of a tingle along your cheeks). The lotion’s ingredients include: white willow bark, a natural analgesic; Icelandic kelp; Chapparral extract, which smooths the skin’s surface; yeast extract, which moisturizes and calms the skin; oil-controlling meadow sweet extract; Angelica Archangelica; and, of course, the Biospheric Complex. The lotion actually has a peppermint-like smell that adds to that refreshing feel.
Lastly, the Icelandic Relief Eye Cream contains Vitamin K to increase circulation and diminish the appearance of dark circles, mandarin peel to attack any puffiness, rice peptides to stimulate collagen production and attack any fine lines and wrinkles, cotton powder to brighten the area (by creating an optical illusion that disguises wrinkling and puckering), and more. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this product if your primary concern is crow’s feet (or any type of wrinkling along the eye area) but, if you’re more focused on problems such as puffiness and dark circles (and who isn’t concerned with that, given the fast pace of city life?), then keep this at hand.
Pevonia Botanica Ligne Lavandou: Soothing Sensitive Skin Cream, $54; Sensitive Skin Cleanser, $27; Soothing Sensitive Skin Lotion, $26; Soothing Propolis Concentrate, $38.50; and Soothing Sensitive Skin Masque, $38. Visit Pevonia.com for more information and to find a retailer near you or log on to Dermstore.com
Pevonia Botanica’s Ligne Lavandou, a full line of skincare products designed especially for women with sensitive skin, relies on such gentle ingredients as aloe, bisabol (a chamomile extract that functions as an anti-inflammatory), vetiver (which boasts antibacterial properties), and calming lavender. The products are all free of artificial fragrances, dyes and preservatives (all of which can trigger problems such as itching, rashes, breakouts, dry patches and more).
I’m a huge fan of Pevonia’s products, and none of the products from the Ligne Lavandou line disappoint (though I WILL say that the cleanser has a milky, non-foaming consistency that’s a bit irksome since it leaves you feeling like you still need to apply a toner after rinsing in order to remove all of the residue). The all-stars here are the Soothing Propolis Concentrate, a serum-like substance containing lavender, vetiver oil and propolis (derived from French poplar trees) that unclogs your pores and helps to aid circulation, and the Soothing Sensitive Skin Cream, which boasts healing propolis, bisabol and moisturizing panthenol as main ingredients. The skin cream not only helps to clear up your skin, but it protects it against environmental stresses and delivers a healthy dose of hydration.
Glowology Lovely Body Lotion, $26, and Perfecting Creme, $62. Visit NoodleAndBoo.com
Maybe you’re one of the thousands of women who, despite having a clear visage, struggles with unsightly bumps on your legs or arms, ingrown hairs, stretch marks, flakiness, etc. If so, then I recommend treating your skin with Glowology’s Lovely Body Lotion, a hypoallergenic cream designed especially for women with sensitive skin (the creator is in, fact, the owner of Noodle & Boo, a line of skincare products designed for children, so she knows all about gentle formulas).
The Lovely Body Lotion contains milk protein, almond oil and clover honey to hydrate and nourish, as well as white tea and organic calendula to soothe any irritation. Not only will the lotion calm your skin, dissipating some of the redness and smoothing out those unseemly bumps, but it will leave you smelling like a sexy, delicious honey bunny.
The Perfecting Creme, meanwhile, is a rich, concentrated cream designed for expecting women who want to avoid emerging from their pregnancies with stretch marks along their bellies, thighs and hips. Containing avocado oil, cocoa butter, green bean extract, shea butter, organic sunflower seed oil, and honey, this super-powered balm helps to boost circulation and promote cellular regeneration, hence preventing stretch marks from emerging and diminishing the appearance of existing marks.
Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Plantidote Mega-Mushroom Face Cleanser, $26, and Mega-Mushroom Treatment Lotion, $30. Available at Origins.com
The cure for inflamed, red, blotchy, dry skin? Dr. Andrew Weil’s Plantidote collection, which relies on six ingredients: Hypsizygus ulmarius, Cordyceps and Reishi mushrooms, ginger, holy basil and tumeric. Together, these ingredients work to calm stressed skin and repair the skin’s lipid barrier.
Your first step in this regimen is, of course, the cleanser —which, in addition to the six vital ingredients, also contains licorice extract and bisabolol (a chamomile derivative) extract to calm and replenish skin. Follow with the Treatment Lotion, which feels like a refreshing toner (for best results, pour some onto a cotton ball and pat onto cleansed skin) and boasts such additional, skin calming ingredients as lavender, sweet orange and mandarin, will clear up your complexion and restore moisture to parched skin.
EOS Sensitive-Fragrance Free Ultra Moisturizing Shave Cream, $4.99. Available at Drugstore.com and EvolutionOfSmooth.com
Women with delicate skin tend to worry so much about whether shaving is the best hair removal option (as opposed to waxing, laser therapy, Nair, etc.), that they sometimes forget that it’s not just the razor that could lead to potential problems but the shaving cream being used. After all: those artificial fragrances and dyes can wreak havoc on gentle skin. Enter the new, fragrance-free “Sensitive” eos shave cream, a non-foaming formula containing natural aloe, oat and shea butter to hydrate and calm the skin, as well as vitamins E & C.
Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser for Face and Eyes, $28.50, and Gentle Soothing Booster, $42. Visit Dermalogica.com
This creamy, milky cleanser from Dermalogica packs such calming ingredients as lavender, echinacea, raspberry, cucumber and panthenol. Though you can either wipe the cleanser off with a damp cloth or rinse, I highly suggest you choose the latter, as it will lead to optimal results. It’s a gentle, odorless cleanser and it both removes any dirt and excess oil from your face and provides a protective barrier to make the skin less prone to inflammation at the hands of environmental pollutants.
The Gentle Soothing Booster, meanwhile, does precisely what the name implies, kicking the healing process into high gear. With ingredients like red raspberry extract, calendula extract and honey, all you need are a couple of drops to smooth onto your skin and you’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
H20 Plus Green Tea Urban Defense Facial Cleansing Milk, $26, and Green Tea Antioxidant Serum, $36. Visit H20Plus.com
I love green tea. It’s packed with healthy antioxidants that combat free radicals, and it naturally soothes (either when consumed or when applied directly onto the skin). H20’s sensitive skin line is centered on this ingredient. The Urban Cleansing Milk (which, despite its milky appearance, can lather up rather nicely) strips your face of any excess oil, dirt, or grime while boosting the skin’s natural defense barrier. The Antioxidant Serum, meanwhile, not only hydrates, but also protects the skin from UV exposure and environmental damages.
Weleda Almond Moisture Cream, $22. Visit USA.Weleda.com
Sweet almond oil is yet another wondrous ingredient when it comes to tackling delicate skin. Packed with essential fatty acids, it restores moisture to the skin. When paired with antioxidant-rich plum oil, it makes for a moisturizer that hydrates, soothes and rejuvenates skin.