I’ve always struggled with skin that’s prone to breakouts and redness, but something that’s only cropped up very recently is my current bout of sensitivity. Before, I would’ve never described my skin as sensitive, but I suspect that the seasonal change in weather (we had a cold, rainy spell in Cape Town a few weeks ago, followed by a sudden, week-long heat wave) has played a huge role in my skin’s reactivity over the last couple of months.
After doing a bit of reading up on the subject, I learnt that extreme heat changes (like going from freezing weather outdoors to blasting the heater in your car, for example) can be very drying on the skin, while strong winds also have a tendency to strip moisture from exposed skin. These factors combined all lead to an impaired barrier function, which means that your skin is not able to protect itself from external elements, nor is it able to retain much-needed moisture. You may experience dry patches, redness, and itchy, flaky skin as a result… and if you have an oily to combination skip type (like mine), you might find that this sudden dryness is joined by unwelcome breakouts as your skin desperately attempts to produce excess sebum to protect your skin.
I also found myself reacting to another skincare product a few weeks ago, which resulted in a very red, flaky, and inflamed patch of skin on my chin. I’d gotten a bit over-zealous with an exfoliator, and my skin was so raw and painful, that it even felt warm to the touch. I searched my cupboards high and low for something to help soothe my sensitive skin, and I came across a can of La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water, which contains an incredibly high concentration of selenium to help calm and soothe sensitive skin, while offering a burst of hydration at the same time. It was round about this same time that La Roche-Posay contacted me to find out whether I would be interested in trying their Toleriane range, which is designed specifically for sensitive, intolerant skin types. Synchronicity!
I started using La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane range the minute the products arrived at my door, and I also made an appointment to visit Sarah Stringer, a skin therapist who works closely with Dr Ian Webster, a renowned dermatologist based in Somerset West, who is also the founder of Dermastore. Sarah assessed my skin using the Visia skin analysis, which makes use of multi-spectral photographs of your face to determine the current condition of your skin and to pinpoint any problem areas to focus on during future treatments.
I wasn’t surprised to find that my biggest skincare concerns at the moment are enlarged pores (top, left) and brown spots, but I was incredibly pleased to find that the incidence of redness (top, right) has improved dramatically and that I’m in the 90th percentile – a good ranking for my age and skin type, and no doubt down to the fact that I’ve been using the Toleriane range religiously over the past few weeks.
This is hands-down one of the best cleansers I’ve ever used. It’s a creamy formulation that’s applied to dry skin, then either rinsed off or tissued off to remove every last trace of makeup and other impurities. It’s formulated specifically for dry, sensitive skin, as well as for skin that’s prone to rosacea and redness. I absolutely love the feel of this cleanser on my skin – it removes all my makeup (although I’d recommend using a gentle micellar water or eye makeup remover for waterproof formulations), without stripping my skin or leaving it feeling tight, itchy or dry. It doesn’t contain any fragrances, preservatives, parabens or surfactants and makes use of minimal ingredients (think La Roche-Posay’s Thermal Spring Water and glycerin) to ensure optimum barrier function for sensitive, intolerant skins.
STEP TWO | La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water (R150)
After cleansing, I like to follow up with a few spritzes of La Roche-Posay’s Thermal Spring Water, which is the active ingredient found in all their products. This Thermal Spring Water is rich in trace elements and mineral salts, such as Selenium, to help soothe sensitive, inflamed and irritated skin in a flash. I also enjoy using it after shaving my legs to help calm any redness and to prevent shaving rash, and it’s a handbag essential to help cool and refresh your skin on the go – especially during the hot, summer months. (I’ve also heard that it’s fantastic for treating and preventing nappy rash).
STEP THREE | Moisturise
I’ve been using a combination of La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Intense Soothing Care (R300) and La Roche-Posay Riche Soothing Protective Care (R300), depending on what I feel that my skin needs at the time. I use the Ultra Soothing Care every morning and most nights – it’s a lightweight formulation that is instantly absorbed into my skin, and leaves it feeling soft, well-hydrated, and comfortable. I am utterly obsessed with this airtight pump packaging, which features a shrinking pouch to prevent wastage and contamination of the product. That way, you know that your ultra-senstive skin is protected against any harmful bacteria or contaminants.
If I’ve spent a lot of time outdoors or in the sun, I like to use the Riche Protective Care at night for an extra dose of moisture. This specific cream is formulated for dry, sensitive skins and it’s a little richer than the Ultra Soothing Care.
I’ve shared more about these products and my personal experiences of them in the video, below. Grab a cup of tea and a snack, and have a watch! Let me know if you have any questions around skin sensitivity – you can leave a comment down below, and I’ll be sure to answer where possible, otherwise I’ll enlist the help of Dr Webster or Sarah to assist in answering your burning questions (pun fully intended!)
* This post is NOT sponsored, but I did receive the full La Roche-Posay Toleriane range to try and review