How many times has your skin felt tight, sore or itchy and looked red in the past month? Research by beauty brand La Roche-Posay found that 60 per cent of women say they have sensitive skin. Experts believe pollution and lifestyle choices such as smoking, eating spicy foods and excessive use of astringent cleansers have made us more susceptible.
However, diagnosing this condition is tricky, as there’s no definitive test. To make it more complicated, there are two types of sensitive skin: sensitive and sensitised. The former is usually linked to genetics or environmental factors and tends to be more lasting, while sensitised skin can be a reaction to a particular ingredient in products. But regardless of which type you suffer, switching to a sensitive formula can help to ease the symptoms.
Over the past year, plenty of brands have come to the rescue with products promising to soothe and calm. However, for those of us who want to smooth lines and maintain firmness, there is a certain assumption that a face cream or serum targeted to sensitive skin would be less effective in terms of anti-ageing.
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Fortunately, the latest products tick all the boxes. Take, for example, Avène’s PhysioLift Eyes, which contains retinaldehyde. “Retinaldehyde is a precursor of retinol and has similar benefits and efficacy in treating fine lines and wrinkles, but it is gentler on the skin,” explains dermatologist Dr Justine Hextall.
An added benefit with sensitive skincare is that the formulas tend to be hydrating and packed full of ingredients to reduce inflammation. This is essential for maintaining a strong skin barrier.
“Dry, sensitive and reactive skin types, and those that are exposed to aggressive cosmetic routines, tend to have a dysfunctional barrier, which increases sensitivity and can exacerbate ageing,” says Sophie Seite, international scientific director of La Roche-Posay. “Traditional skincare products were able to protect the skin, but the newgeneration formulas have been developed to manage inflammation and preserve or restore the skin barrier.” With a stronger barrier function, skin retains its moisture and looks plumper and firmer. Win-win.
The best sensitive skincare products to use right now…
Eucerin UltraSensitive Soothing Cleansing lotion, £11.50
This gentle formula might stop your skin feeling stripped and sore.
Elemis Biotec Skin Energising Day Cream Sensitive, £75
Eighty-six per cent of women who tried this cream said their skin felt calmer after using it. That’s good enough for us.
Avène PhysioLift Eyes, £22
Blending anti-inflammatory ingredients with anti-ageing heroes, this cream will smooth crow’s feet and reduce puffiness.
La Roche-Posay Toleraine Ultra Overnight Moisturiser, £17.50
Calm, soothe and replenish skin while you sleep. It even has a stamp of approval from Allergy UK.
Chanel La Solution 10 de Chanel Sensitive Skin Cream, £58
Luxury meets simplicity. Chanel’s new face cream has been formulated with 10 soothing ingredients.