What constitutes sensitive skin? There are degrees of sensitivity, from the more common experiences of stinging, redness or burning after applying beauty products, to severely sensitive skin (which is characterised by skin bumps or pustules, extreme dryness and nerve tingling), and conditions such as rosacea and eczema which should be treated by a dermatologist.
According to sensitive skin experts La Roche-Posay, there are 5 types of skin sensitivity:
Sensitive: occasionally reacts to products or environmental changes.
Redness-prone: blushes and flushes in response to certain foods, alcohol or temperature changes.
Reactive: frequently reacts to both products and environmental factors.
Atopic: suffers from conditions like eczema or contact dermatitis.
Allergic: reacts to specific allergens in daily care products and the environment.
Even if you’ve never suffered from skin sensitivities before, they can, and often do, develop as we age. If you suffer from any of these, there are products that can treat them. We are lucky to have skincare (and makeup) brands specifically for sensitive skin available in Australia, whilst most beauty brands will have products suitable for sensitive skin. So, what are our picks of the bunch in terms of sensitive skin beauty? Read on below to find out.
Sensitive Skin Specialists
For those who experience skin sensitivities, the La Roche-Posay and Avene skincare brands are perfect for you. Completely formulated for sensitive skin, these brands won’t irritate your delicate skin.
La Roche-Posay’s brand tag line is “A better life for sensitive skin”, and with recommendations from over 25,000 dermatologists worldwide, you know they are experts in sensitive skin skincare. Using Thermal Spring Water from France as a key skincare ingredient, products are pure, anti-irritating, and gentle. The La Roche-Posay ranges have you covered, whether it is the Toleriane Ultra range for ultra and allergy prone skin, to Effaclar Duo (+) for clogged skin, Hyalu B5 for dry and dehydrated skin and skin showing signs of aging, and even Anthelios XL Sunscreen for the most sensitive skin. Add to this specialist products such as the Lipikar Baume AP+ for very dry, irritated body skin prone to itching, and Cicaplast Baume B5, a multi repairing balm which helps to repair sensitive skin, and you have a brand to cover every sensitivity. And, they have a range of makeup specially designed for sensitive skin. Check it out here. Our favourite 5 products are: Toleriane Ultra, a rich, ultra soothing day cream for day – 40ml RRP $39.95, Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Comfort Cream, a luxe ultra-comfortable sunscreen perfect for sensitive normal to dry skin (and it doesn’t leave white marks!) – 50ml RRP $29.95, Hyalu B5 Serum, contains, as the name suggests, Hyaluronic Acid, to create an invisible barrier on the surface of your skin to retain moisture and replump skin – end result, soothed, repaired and plum skin – 30ml RRP $69.95, Thermal Spring Water, with its unique combination of trace elements, sprays onto skin to instantly sooth and soften irritated skin. It even comes in a handy purse size, so you spray on the go and sooth your skin throughout the day – 50ml RRP $9.94, 300ml RRP $24.95, and rounding out our favourites is the ultra-moisturising Toleraine Teint Hydrating Water Cream Foundation, a wonderful water-based foundation, with hyaluronic acid, that leaves your sensitive irritated skin feeling soothed and comforted. Fragrance and paraben free, it is formulated not to irritate – available in 5 shades, 30ml RRP $39.95.
Our second sensitive skin specialist brand Avene, also hails from France, and also uses Thermal Spring Water, rich in silicates, as the base for their sensitive skin skincare range (so there really must be benefits in this Spring water!). Obtaining the water direct from the source in France allows Avene to create and produce the most pure, anti-irritating products possible. With a wide range of products, including Cleanance, for oily and acne prone skin, Cold Cream, to restore the hydrolipid film in very dry skin, Redness Relief, to relieve, you guessed it, persistent and reactive red skin, Physiolift, for skin 40+ prone to wrinkles and sagging, and the new Sunscreen line (plus many more), Avene is a true solution for skin that is sensitive and has other concerns too. Our favourite 5 products are: the Avene Eau Thermale Thermal Spring Water, which like the La Roche-Posay product helps to sooth and protect sensitive, allergic, and irritated skin. It’s easy to use, and the effect is instant, and also comes in a handy handbag size to spray during the day – 50ml RRP $12.95, 300ml RRP $25.95, The Antirougeurs Calm Soothing Mask is just brilliant to calm skin that is super-irritated, experiencing the symptoms of hot flushes, or post-laser treatment – 50ml RRP $42.95, Tolerance Extreme Cream hydrates, soothes and protects all types of sensitive skin, with a formula that mimics your skin own composition – 50ml RRP $49.95, you can exfoliate sensitive skin with the Avene Gentle Exfoliating Gel, with the paraben free formula gently exfoliating and removing dead skin cells whilst the Thermal Spring Water penetrates your skin and soothes – 75ml RRP $44.95, it’s a sad fact that if we have sensitive skin, our eyes tend to bear the brunt of this and look old before their time, which is why we love Physiolift Eyes, which helps to reduce puffiness, and tightens the skin around eyes, helping to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and dark circles – a true godsend for allergic eyes – 15ml RRP $64.95.
Most of the other beauty brands also have products specially for sensitive skin – there are numerous available in Australia. Whilst the brands aren’t specifically sensitive skin specialists, their sensitive skin products are extremely effective. Some of our favourite products are below.
Dr. Hauschka Soothing Cleansing Milk & Soothing Mask
Dr. Hauschka Soothing Cleansing Milk is a lovely gentle cleanser for sensitive skin. The light emulsion respects the natural pH and hydrolipid layer of your skin while cleansing, and has been formulated with protective properties that calm sensitivity and help diminish the appearance of redness. It has been formulated with anthyllis, soothing jojoba, almond and apricot kernel oils to cleanse and nourish, while fermented grain extracts of oat, wheat and rye lightly exfoliate. 145ml RRP $61.00. Follow this up with the brilliant Dr. Hauschka Soothing Mask, which fortifies sensitive skin prone to inflammation and redness, and helps it to retain its moisture. A plethora of powerful ingredients including lady’s mantle, borage, anthyllis, fresh quince seed extract and witch hazel hydrosol combine to help calm and strengthen your skin, whilst restoring and maintaining the skin’s moisture balance. Shea butter, macadamia nut and coconut oils provide nourishing care. Used once or twice a week, as needed, your skin is left silky soft and calmer. 30ml RRP $84.00.
A’kin Intense Hydration Day & Night Cream and Certified Organic Rosehip Oil
Calm and nourish dehydrated and sensitive skin with A’kin Intense Hydration Day & Night Cream. Rich in powerful antioxidants, and with organic shea butter and rosehip oil, your skin is left hydrated, replenished, and most of all soothed! Your skin feels silky smooth, and comfortable. 50ml RRP $39.95. A’kin Certified Organic Rosehip Oil is made from rosa canina seed extracts to deeply nourish and moisturise skin. It contains 80 per cent highly potent essential oils including omega 3, 6, and 9 to help fight the appearance of wrinkles and scars and increase skin suppleness and elasticity. For sensitive skin, it can also be used to reduce the appearance of rosacea and blemishes (as well as stretch marks). 20ml RRP $20.95.
Ella Bache SensiBeautics Rescue Cream
For skins needing intense calming, increased tolerance and enhanced barrier protection, the rich, velvety Ella Bache SensiBeautics Rescue Cream works wonders. Optimum tolerance is restored to even the most sensitive skins and redness is significantly reduced. Skin is protected and comforted, and the formula helps strengthen your skins barrier over time. Suitable for sensitivity, sensitised, irritated, couperose and rosacea skins. 50ml RRP $99.00.
Trilogy Very Gentle Restoring Oil
The hero of the Trilogy Sensitive range, Trilogy Very Gentle Restoring Oil is a deeply nourishing and restoring pure plant oil. Combining essential fatty acid and antioxidant-rich new super-oil maqui berry and Omega-7 rich sea buckthorn, this certified organic beauty oil is especially formulated to help nourish, repair and protect even the most fragile and intolerant sensitive skin against free radical and oxidative damage. Apricot oil containing vitamin A and E also works to soothe the skin to help slow the signs of aging. Perfectly suited to sensitive and highly reactive skin, Trilogy Very Gentle Restoring Oil is fragrance-free and dermatologically tested. 30ml RRP $37.95.
Skinstitut Laser Aid and Multi-Active Mist
If you suffer from Rosacea, this brilliant duo from skinstitut really calm your skin. The skinstitut Laser Aid is an ultra-soothing, calming moisturiser that works wonders on Rosacea. It was originally developed as a cream for post-laser use, so it is a great multi-tasker. Containing a rich blend of vitamins, botanical extracts and anti-oxidants the formula helps your skin repair itself, whilst calming skin irritation and redness. Used daily, the cream offers on-going relief for irritated skin. When paired with the skinstitut Multi-Active Mist (which is loaded with Vitamins B3 and C and helps strengthen skin), skin is left feeling calmer and less irritated. Laser Aid Cream 200ml, Multi Active Mist 100ml, RRP $45.00 each.