Red, flaking skin? The over the counter products that work

Beauty: The right products make your skin comfortable, and restore a barrier function

 

Celtic skin is prone to imbalance. Though we aren’t particularly “good at” the sun, we are unfortunately not very good at cold conditions or temperature fluctuation either, and Ireland has a disproportionate number of people with certain skin conditions.

The most common is rosacea, which affects the face, and is characterised by redness, dilated blood vessels and, sometimes, breakouts. It is more common after the age of 40 and tends to affect fair-skinned people. Other skin conditions characterised by various types of irritation, such as dermatitis and eczema, are also common in Ireland.

If skin irritation is chronic, and begins to affect your quality of life, a trip to the GP or dermatologist is essential, but in milder cases, products can make a real difference, and they tend to be part of the management of ongoing skin conditions (guided by a doctor’s advice) anyway. Choosing the correct products to manage irritated skin conditions can make you more comfortable, but also restore a compromised barrier function. Without fixing this primary issue, it is impossible to solve other skin issues which necessarily arise from it.

When the skin’s natural barrier is not optimally functional, the skin is unable to hold hydration or moisture, resulting in hot, uncomfortable, and sometimes outright sore and flaky skin that feels thinly stretched over too large an area. Restoring the integrity of the barrier is the first step to rebalancing the skin.

The best such restorative product of the year so far is undoubtedly Dermalogica Ultracalming Barrier Defense Booster (€79.40 at dermalogica.ie). Four drops of this soothing oil will act as a comforting protective layer. Followed up with Dermalogica Ultra Calming Water Gel (€50.80 at dermalogica.ie), a gel which turns to liquid on contact with the skin, and irritated, tight, compromised skin will be showing improvement within days. These two products are designed to be used in tandem; they are so effective that it really is worth investing in both.

 If skin is not quite at the point where you would consider a two-product routine and a substantial dent in your wallet, La Roche Posay Toleriane Ultra (€19.99) is ideal for sensitised, reactive skin. The whole Toleriane range is worth a look if everything you put on your skin seems to redden or irk it. The range even has an eye cream, which can be difficult to find for roughened, problematic or flaking skin around the eyes. It can be applied to any skin type and will not exacerbate or congest it.

On the body, the most common skin ailment is eczema. Avéne Xeracalm Balm (€22.99), with its anti-inflammatory properties and lack of fragrance, is a tremendous relief to itching, angry patches of eczema and can be used on small children as well as adults. Slather it where needed regularly, and the improvement in your skin will impress you.

 Do not, however, forget about the scalp, which has a tendency to seek attention when ignored. Bioderma ABC Shampooing (€9.50) is gentle enough for babies and is ideal for those who tend to react to standard shampoos.

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