Are you part of the Sensitive Skin Club? What to look for in your skincare—and 3 new lines to soothe and calm

sensitive skin

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.

Irritated Skin Are you part of the Sensitive Skin Club? What to look for in your skincare—and 3 new lines to soothe and calmWhat to look for if you have sensitive skin or rosacea

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

 Are you part of the Sensitive Skin Club? What to look for in your skincare—and 3 new lines to soothe and calm

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

Burts Bees Sensitive Are you part of the Sensitive Skin Club? What to look for in your skincare—and 3 new lines to soothe and calm

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

Eminence Calm Skin Moisturizer Are you part of the Sensitive Skin Club? What to look for in your skincare—and 3 new lines to soothe and calm

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_.

Tell us:

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!)

21 Comments

Marisa
Tuesday, January 24/2012 at 2:06 pm

Oh, thank you so much! I’ve just been diagnosed with rosacea, and after years of using Jurilque and all of a sudden having it not work, I’ve been baffled as to what to do next. Thanks for the suggestions, I’m definitely going to look into them!

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Elizabeth
Wednesday, January 25/2012 at 3:18 pm

Hope you find something that works for you! Let us know how it goes!

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Janay
Tuesday, January 24/2012 at 3:27 pm

I have a form of psoriasis and I absolutely love the Eminence Chamomile cream… it’s worst on my chest so I mainly use it there, but if I had unlimited income it would be slathered all over! I am definitely going to try the Burt’s line though as I’m with you, the lip balm is the best!

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Elizabeth
Wednesday, January 25/2012 at 3:17 pm

Isn’t it the best (Burt’s)?! Good to know the Eminence cream works for you! I love it!

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MandyB
Tuesday, January 24/2012 at 8:05 pm

Ugh! I was in Vancouver over the weekend and the weather was so depressing. I almost preferred the -30 I left behind me in SK – at least it was sunny! Also, I love Eminence; their strawberry-rhubarb serum smells so yummy, and it makes my skin all fresh and glowy too.

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Elizabeth
Wednesday, January 25/2012 at 3:16 pm

Mmm, haven’t tried the serum but it sounds fab! And yes, I’m totally with you on the weather thing. I’d take sun and cold over gloom & rain any day :)

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Jenna
Wednesday, January 25/2012 at 4:05 am

I think the wake-up point for me in treating my sensitive skin was banning SLS/SLES from my skin/hair/everything routines! Glad you’ve found some useful products, having skin so dry and sensitive that sun, wind and air con can be painful (or almost painful) is no fun!

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Elizabeth
Wednesday, January 25/2012 at 3:15 pm

Absolutely! Figuring out the right combo of things to do and products that work is key.

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Jenna
Friday, January 27/2012 at 7:33 pm

Oh I know! I’m so glad I have everything from these guys: beebeauty.com – I can’t go without them now! I like that you use a mask with arnica in it – this is my go-to concealer: http://www.ereperez.com/shop/sc/41/face/new-arnica-concealers-.html

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QuiteLight
Wednesday, January 25/2012 at 12:54 pm

Yes, very sensitive skin. I break out in a rash whenever it’s irritated (or it’s Tuesday, or moon is full…), and the only thing that calms it is Burrific healing cream from From the Meadow. I’m practically a cultist when it comes to their stuff. If I gently rub in a dap on rash-prone area or the actual bumps, it disappears completely in a few days. It’s not the most moisturizing, so I put their Secret cream on top. Not even Dr. Haushka helped this much!

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QuiteLight
Wednesday, January 25/2012 at 1:06 pm

It’s a burdock based cream, should have mentioned.

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Elizabeth
Wednesday, January 25/2012 at 3:14 pm

You keep raving about this line and I keep meaning to try it! Awesome to have something that works for you :)

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QuiteLight
Wednesday, January 25/2012 at 3:40 pm

LOL! It’s 90% of my skincare, so yeah, I guess I do rave a lot! They’ve earned it.

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Mia
Friday, January 27/2012 at 1:25 am

I have not been diagnosed with Rosacea but do have a LOT of red in my skin and have recently discovered Murad Redness Therapy moisturizer. It has been working amazingly well for me and I have cut down on the amount of liquid foundation I need to cover the red. There are also a few other products in the redness therapy line but I have only tried the moisturizer so far. I am layering it over a hyaluronic acid serum (per your suggestion) to boost the moisture in these dry winter months. Highly recommended!

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Melissa
Friday, January 27/2012 at 3:28 am

I don’t have sensitive skin, but I got a full sized freebie of the Burt’s Bees Sensitive Cleanser as a BzzzAgent. I wasn’t really that excited at first, and then when I used it with my Clarisonic it was a perfect accompaniment! It was better than any of the other cleansers I had used with the Clarisonic before in terms of efficacy and comfort. It really got the gunk out. All of my friends with sensitive skin usually default to Cetaphil as their cleanser, but in my experience it didn’t clean thoroughly enough for me, it usually left a lot of makeup on my face that my toner would pick up instead. I’ve been recommending the BB cleanser to all of them since!

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QuiteLight
Tuesday, January 31/2012 at 12:11 pm

Cetaphil didn’t aggravate my skin probs overtly, but I did find it very drying over time. It wasn’t until I tried other things that I realized how drying it was. It’s pretty chemically too, so I’m not sure why it has this “sensitive skin” rep.

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Alana
Thursday, February 9/2012 at 9:57 pm

I’m not quite sure if I have sensitive skin (I’m normally on the oil/acne-prone/misery side), but I’ve found this winter that I’m having way more dryness than usual. I’ve been trying a host of different moisturizers (including emu oil, which some dude sold me at a health food store). It’s not classic dryness as in tightness or flakiness necessarily, but whenever I put anything on my skin, it starts to burn! I’m also getting some eczema-esque patches around my eyes (it burns even if my eyes water!), so I’ve been using Vaseline as per my doc’s suggestion. My husband has some pretty rough eczema, and he really likes Aveeno Baby Eczema Care Cream, but when I tried using that on my face, even that burned.

Does this sound similar to what you ‘sensitive skin’ ladies experience? Do you think these products might help the burn?

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QuiteLight
Friday, February 10/2012 at 12:08 pm

Oh, that sounds so painful! What worked best for me was go as natual as possible & check out books on natural skin care (Elizabeth recommended a bunch a while back). I won’t lie, I tried everything the stores first. They were “scientifically designed”, and I thought they’d be easier to get & use. But they didn’t help, & I wound up turning to natural products in sheer red, painful desperation.

I find sweet almond oil to be hydrating & very soothing on red, scaly patches. I’ve only heard of it not working for one person. I don’t know what skin condition you’re dealing with, but knowledgeable natural health types could probably help you with better suggestions.

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Mari Ohira
Saturday, February 11/2012 at 3:51 pm

My skin is very sensitive as well – and acne prone. My skin has never been better – and I have never received so many compliments – since I found my life product line: Avène. It is just fantastic for sensitive skins! I do face maks once in a while as well, and the only one my skin welcomes is Queen Julep Mint Mask. Thank god, no rosacea or pimples anymore!

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Nayab
Monday, February 20/2012 at 6:00 am

I definitely want to try the Eminence line . I’m looking for a good moisturizer. Is the moisturizer pore clogging? My new fav face cleanser is the gently cleanser from Caudalie and would love your take on that brand for sensitive skin.

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Mary Anne
Wednesday, April 18/2012 at 4:41 pm

I’m allergic to a lot of hypoallergenic skin products. Anything that contains the irritant stearic acid will make me break out in blisters, a rosacea outbreak. Many manufacturers, even though they know that stearic acid is an irritant, use it in their products anyway. The Made From Earth Green Tea Cleanser does not. Not only that but it is also non-drying and leaves my skin feeling soft and looking smooth and clean. I have been very happy with it, and my skin issues have cleared up considerably since I began using it.

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