Sensitive skin: Michelle’s talked about it before, and you already know about some of my skin issues. Something you didn’t know? Not only is my skin sensitive, but I also have rosacea (characterized by patchy flushing and inflammation on the cheeks, nose and forehead). Charming, I know. In the past, dermatologists have given me prescriptions for creams and gels—but they haven’t really helped. So, up until about a month ago, I was doing zip-zero-zilch to address the problem. Ignore it and it’ll go away, right? (Wrong.)
Now, combine the cold winter weather (I swear, it’s freezing in Vancouver!) with sensitivity and rosacea, and you can imagine the effects. (Michelle even went so far as to call winter a “bitch” and I totes agree. If you want some fab general winter skincare tips, check out her post.) When I heard about three new lines made precisely for sensitive skin and rosacea, it was like a SIGN. Not only did they calm my skin down, but they kept it moisturized, clear and even-toned (Gasp! I KNOW!). Let’s check ‘em out—but first, I want to give you a few tips on what to look for in your skincare.
Just in case you need a bit of a refresher, sensitive skin is characterized by being easily irritated. It can be excessively dry, delicate or prone to allergic reactions or product sensitivity. People who have rosacea generally have sensitive skin, but rosacea is a disorder of the facial blood vessels; basically, they’re hyper-responsive to things like the sun, stress, spice, cold temps, wind, hot drinks and alcohol. (Awesome for me that my fave thing ever is being in the sun and I adore spicy food. Also not gonna lie—I enjoy a few glasses of wine every now and again.) Irritatingly, women are three times more likely to develop rosacea than men.
In the winter, low humidity can make skin more sensitive, so it’s important to try to heal the skin’s barrier function—you want to top up depleted lipids and lock in hydration. The bottom line? A great moisturizer is key, and good things to look for in your products include aloe, chamomile, arnica, tea tree oil, vitamin E and vitamin C (see the lines below). It’s also crucial to stay away from classic irritants like artificial fragrance, colour and preservatives.
Now let’s talk about the lines I’m loving:
Riversol for Rosacea
This line from Vancouver-based derm Dr. Jason Rivers features a cleanser, serum and moisturizer, all specifically designed to reduce redness, improve clarity and hydrate your skin. The products use an ingredient you’ve probably never heard of called thujaplicin (yeah, me neither). It’s derived from the Western Red Cedar tree and is a super-powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic. The products also feature vitamins C and E, plus they’re hypoallergenic and fragrance- and dye-free.
I found the lotion super-hydrating, but without the oiliness found in a lot of prodz, and I loved the idea of using such a powerful and precious ingredient (read: super expensive to extract and produce) on my skin. The serum is also great as a preventative tool to address premature aging and assist in collagen formation. Yes, it’ll cost you a pretty penny, but you get what you pay for! There’s also the option of trying a sample kit to figure out if it’ll work for you.
Buy it: $218 for the set (includes cleanser, serum and moisturizer) at Riversol.com
Burt’s Bees Sensitive
Makers of the best lip balm EVA, Burt’s Bees has always been a fave of mine. Their new line for sensitive skin aims to prevent redness and irritation using cotton extract, which helps skin replenish its outer layer. Don’t ask me how. All I know is that it worked—the daily moisturizing cream, eye cream and night cream were all non-irritating and gentle on my skin. I’d been searching for a great night cream and this one gave me just the right amount of hydration without causing any breakouts or redness. I also love that the prodz are 99 percent natural.
Buy it: Products range from $12.99 to $24.99 at burtsbees.ca and select retailers
Eminence Calm Skin
Leave it to one of my fave organic companies to create this amazing, soothing line. It includes a chamomile cleanser, a chamomile moisturizer and an arnica masque, and I can’t say enough good things about all three. The cleanser is creamy and calming, the moisturizer kept me hydrated all day long, and the masque is a perfect fix for stressed-out skin.
Using chamomile tea, calendula oil (an antioxidant and antiseptic concentrate), Shea butter and aloe vera juice, the prodz are especially suited to peeps with rosacea-prone and sensitive skin. As with the other two lines, I’m looking forward to seeing what the long-term results will be—the Eminence site reports that 50 percent of users reported reduced redness in just 14 days! They also have a ton of other amazing products for us sensitive folk—I love the Couperose-C Serum, made with rosehip, peppermint, lavender and horsetail.
Buy it: Products range from $38-$58 at select spas and salons
Elizabeth Oborne is a Vancouver-based writer and holistic nutritionist. Follow her on Twitter: @Elizabeth_O_.
Were you blessed with sensitive skin?
Have you used any of these lines?
What products work best for you when your skin is irritated? (Share! Share!)