I feel like 2020 for me has been the year of deep respect to the skin barrier! given we’re heading into colder weather, I thought now would be a perfect time to share with you the best ingredients and products for supporting your skin’s barrier function (no matter what your budget is), so let’s jump in…
– AFFORDABLE –
One of the best brands out there for sensitive and compromised skin is CeraVe, so it’s no surprise their products are crammed full of great ingredients for strengthening and soothing the skin. New to me this autumn has been the CeraVe Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser* | £12.50. You only need a tiny amount of this and it transforms from a lotion-gel to a foam / lather when you add water. Amino acids and hyaluronic acid pull moisture into the skin and ceramides seal it in and promote a healthy skin barrier; perfect for those who want a foaming cleanser that’s not going to strip the skin. For makeup removal or for dry skin that needs a little something more during the colder months; I recommend the Inkey List’s Oat Cleansing Balm* | £9.99. This nourishing oil-based formula contains gentle, skin-loving ingredients like oat kernel oil, sunflower seed oil and sweet almond oil. It’s brilliant for removing makeup (as it emulsifies easily) but also for moisturising and softening the skin.
I do have a full review coming up of this brand but there’s an early love in the Facetheory Rejuvenating Moisturiser M2 for Sensitive Skin* | £12.99. This is a lightweight, almost lotion-like moisturiser that still packs a punch for dry, irritated, winter-beaten skin. It’s formulated with nourishing cocoa and shea butters, sunflower, argan and apricot oils to moisturise, fatty acids to replenish the skin, Vitamin E to protect, panthenol to retain water and lactic acid, to gently exfoliate, as well as attract moisture. Overall this is a fantastic option and it’s under £15!
– MID-RANGE –
Let’s talk about the eyes: many of us suffer from red, irritated skin around the eye area, particularly when dealing with harsher elements. Skin peeling and aggravation are no fun, so even if you’re not experiencing it yet; maintenance of the eye area is very important. I love the Curel Eye Zone Essence* | £22.50 | for that purpose. This is a lightweight gel packed full of replenishing lipids. It also contains no fragrances or harsh chemicals, so should see the delicate eye area through the colder months.
In terms of serums, I have two reasonably-priced options that are really helping me in the cold weather. The first is the Apothaka Barrier Support Serum | £19.50. It’s pretty obvious from the name why this product made it into my post; it’s a lightweight gel formula, so is also suitable for oily sensitive skin (not just for drier skin types). It’s formulated with hyaluronic acid, to pull in water, niacinamide to aid barrier function (it also has a host of other benefits like calming redness, regulating oil production in the skin and possibly even improving the appearance of pores and fine lines) and, again, those ceramides as skin building blocks. It’s lightweight, easily absorbed and soothing on the skin. The other is Niod’s Modulating Glucosides | £ 21 | which I recently repurchased. This is a nourishing, milky serum with oat lipids and ceramides to calm, soothe and protect the skin.
In terms of moisturisers, there are actually a couple of newbies on the block that have impressed me recently. First up, there’s the Skingredients Skin Good Fats Barrier Balm | £40. This is full of the good stuff, as the name suggests! It contains niacinamide, ceramides, oat extract, Vitamin E, calendula, panthenol (Vitamin B3) and shea butter; so a cocktail of soothing, replenishing, nourishing ingredients. What’s great about it is that it also doesn’t have an overly rich, slippery or greasy texture when it dries down, meaning that unless you’re very oily; you could probably benefit from slapping this on a couple of times a week. Another more recent find has been the Dr Ceuracle Cica Regen Cream* | £32 (15% off with code JASMINETALKSBEAUTY). Centella Asiatica (cica) still isn’t an ingredient I come across a lot in the western skincare world, but it’s incredibly popular in K-Beauty products because it soothes the skin, acts as an antioxidant, reduces redness and is a great source of amino acids. This moisturiser also contains nourishing shea butter and vegetable extracts for their antioxidant benefits. It’s free from fragrance and any obvious irritants and has a lighter, more lotion-like texture. For my normal / dehydrated skin that can get a little dry around this time of year; it’s a beautiful day cream, but even if you’re oilier, you could benefit from its skin-soothing properties by using this overnight.
Finally, for this category, I couldn’t not mention an old favourite: the Dr Jart Ceramidin Cream | £35.50. This is so moisturising with various fruit and plant oils and, of course, the titular ceramides. I love how it nourishes my skin, protects it from the elements and softens dry patches. It’s something I can use even when my skin is quite irritated and I’ve used an entire tube of it, which says a lot, coming from a beauty junkie!
– HIGH-END –
I mean, I’d put the entire range in this post if it wasn’t overkill, but I’ve chosen one to discuss today: the Kate Somerville DeliKate Soothing Cleanser* | £33. I’m almost out of this and will absolutely repurchase it, despite my abundance of cleansers; it’s that lovely! It’s formulated with ceramides, soothing aloe and moisturising oils and has a beautiful light and milky, non-foaming texture that gently cleanses dry, sensitive or compromised skin.
Moving on to serums, I’ve really been enjoying the Dr Dennis Gross B3 Adaptive Superfoods Stress Rescue Super Serum* | £75 | though it’s obviously not the cheapest option! It’s formulated with niacinamide and calming plant, root, fruit and vegetable extracts like avocado extract, acai, turmeric oil and licorice root extract (the last two ingredients in this list also have gentle brightening properties to perk up dull winter skin). There’s also squalane, a plant-based, skin-similar oil that replenishes the skin and is suitable for even the most sensitive skin types, alongside a little hint of lactic acid. In small quantities, it can pull water into the skin and also gently exfoliate without irritation to get rid of those dead skin cells. This is a soothing, calming serum that still brightens and replenishes. I also really love the Krave Beauty Great Barrier Relief Serum | £34.99. This is probably more on the mid-range end, but for us in the UK it’s relatively pricey to get hold of, but still worth it for me. Alongside ceramides, squalane and niacinamide (the classics!) we have calming and nourishing tamanu oil, as well as rosehip, which provides deep moisture and can also have healing properties. This is the one for super-sensitive skin that needs steering into recovery mode.
I have two moisturisers in this category; the first of which could be perfect for you if want the benefits of a barrier cream without the often-rich textures that come along with that. It’s the Harborist Environmental Moisture Light* | £45. This absorbs completely into my skin without feeling at all heavy or suffocating and is designed to support skin health and protect against the elements and other factors in your environment, like the central heating (which always wreaks havoc on my skin!) It’s formulated with camellia oil, meadowfoam seed oil, squalane and hyaluronic acid, so leaves my skin plump, soft, calm and moisturised. For something a little richer, I really like the Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream | £49. It’s still nothing too crazy; it’s not thick and the texture allows it to melt really nicely into my thirsty winter skin. Biossance are all about squalane and their version is sourced from sugar cane, for sustainability reasons. It’s a pretty simple, fragrance-free option that’s rich in fatty acids to replenish the skin in conjunction with the ceramides and jojoba esters. It’s fantastic and one of those creams I can travel with and use in the day or at night and know it’s going to leave my skin soft, smoothed, moisturised and replenished.
Finally, we have an oil! I’m sure it’s no surprise to the regulars that I’m bleating on about the Sunday Riley Juno Superfood + Antioxidant Oil | £54 | yet again! It’s a calming, nourishing, replenishing oil packed full of gentle, non-fragrant plant extracts rich in omegas and amino acids (like meadowfoam seed, cranberry and broccoli). I can trust it on my face even when my skin is dry, irritated and going a bit crazy.
Do you find your skin suffers around this time of year? Which products help you out with it?
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