I am a winter baby through and through. I love the cold, the snow, Christmas and everything that comes with it. Sadly it seems my skin never got the memo, because the cold weather makes the eczema on my face flare up worse than any other time of year.
I’ve always had the occasional dry patch on my knees or hands, but as I’ve got older it seems my complexion has taken it upon itself to rebel against the cold, with sore, itchy eczema spots flaring up around my lips, eyebrows and – most frustratingly – on my eyelids, leaving my skin tight, itchy and raw.
If you’re in the same boat as me, then firstly please accept my sympathies, because it is not fun. Secondly, don’t worry, because I have tried and tested a lot of different skincare products over the years, and I’ve found the ones that not only don’t aggravate my skin, but they actually help improve it too.
So, if you’ve been battling against sensitive, irritated and itchy skin recently, here are the skincare saviours that I can’t live without – and they’re almost all under £15.
First things first, the cornerstone of any good skincare routine is a cleanser. For me, cleansing can really aggravate my skin, especially when I’m removing a full face of makeup that requires extra rubbing and friction.
I absolutely love a cleansing balm for melting my makeup away, but I’ve found the oily texture of most can cause my skin to sting after using them, which is why I decided to give Nip + Fab’s Ceramide Fix Cleansing Balm, £15.96 here (was £19.95), a whirl.
Rather than a classic balm-to-oil formula, it has a much thicker, rich and creamy texture that seemed to soothe my skin rather than irritate it. It also added a little extra protective barrier between my face and my fingers which stopped the friction from rubbing from causing more sensitivity.
It also contains biolin, which is a natural prebiotic that protects the skin barrier as well as synthetic ceramides that hydrate the skin – both things my eczema-prone skin needs.
Toners are usually one of those skincare products that leave my skin feeling tight and stripped of moisture, even without the added eczema factor, so picking the right one is essential when battling sensitive skin.
I absolutely swear by Aveeno’s Face Calm and Restore Soothing Toner,£8.49 here, which has been specially designed for sensitive skin types. It contains prebiotic oats and antioxidant feverfew extract which not only protects my skin barrier, but plumps my skin too to make it look fuller and more youthful.
It also has a lovely cooling formula that helps get rid of any lingering makeup traces whilst also nourishing my skin. A winner in my book.
There is absolutely no such thing as too many moisturisers in my book, and I tend to skip makeup altogether when I’m home in favour of topping up my moisturiser during the day to keep my skin feeling hydrated and stop it from getting too tight or sore.
On days where I don’t plan on wearing makeup, I use Oskia’s Rest Day Barrier Repair Balm, £68 here, instead of a usual moisturiser, as it’s ultra hydrating and repairing, and it’s perfect for giving my skin a little extra support when it’s feeling sensitive. However, I will say I find it pills on your skin fairly easily, which is why I only wear it on days when I’m not planning on applying makeup over the top of it.
One of my favourite day-to-day moisturisers and my go-to for makeup days is Skin Proud’s Secure The Barrier Skin Barrier Support Cream, £14.95 here, which is packed with ingredients like ceramide, squalene and niacinamide that support your skin barrier and protect and maintain your moisture barrier and lock in hydration. It’s also super lightweight, so you don’t need to worry about it being too thick or greasy when it comes to applying your makeup over the top.
When it's winter I tend to only use masks that are all about giving my skin some extra soothing and hydration, and one of my all-time faves is the ultra-affordable Revolution Skincare Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Sleeping Mask, £8 here.
It's a really thick, creamy overnight mask that gives your skin a massive hydration boost, and a little goes a long way. I use this quite literally every night (and sometimes in the day if I’m feeling extra sensitive and dry), and it still lasts me several months – not bad for £8.
Finally, it's less of a mask and more of an optional extra, but when it comes to the eczema on my eyelids finding something that soothes and depuffs them without feeling sticky or making my eyes water is no mean feat. For me, I find a tiny dab of Weleda Skin Food, £14.95 here, is perfect for adding a protective barrier to my eyelids that stops the eczema from being aggravated every time I blink, which is, obviously, often.
Now, go forth and enjoy hydrated, calm skin this winter – you deserve it.
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