So my skin is kind of crazy. On its dating profile it would probably describe itself as ‘quirky’ but we all know that just means psychopath. You wouldn’t want to date my skin (let’s disregard the creepiness that would entail): one day it’s all happy and understanding but the next it goes insane because you looked at it the wrong way. Peh. Anyway so I’ve had to deal with this for a while, and in the process I’ve whittled down my skin-soothing arsenal to 3 products:
Calamine Lotion, Avene Skin Recovery Cream, and Avene Soothing Moisture Mask.
These 3 products are my all-rounders, ready for most skin issues (apart from like…the plague. You should probably see someone about that.).
Calamine Lotion is awesome stuff. It is really cheap and has a multitude of uses:
- Itches: Calamine lotion is really effective when it comes to relieving itches. During my first week in Japan I was bitten loads of times by mosquitoes – and Japanese mosquitoes leave impressive marks (about the size of a 10p coin)! Calamine lotion soothed the bites instantly and effectively. Calamine also works well on itchy rashes. Incidentally, Calamine lotion doesn’t treat the rashes – so while your rash may have stopped itching, it doesn’t mean it will go away.
- Blemishes: Calamine lotion contains Zinc Oxide and therefore can make an effective on-the-spot blemish treatment. Many people use it as a mask to absorb oil but this should only really be done by those with super-oily skin; Calamine lotion can be very drying.
- Sunburn: While I can attest to the effectiveness of Calamine lotion for blemishes and itches, I haven’t been sunburned in years and so I can’t vouch for its sunburn-soothing properties. I have heard, however, of many cases where Calamine lotion has been helpful in soothing sunburn, and hey, if you have it in the house you might as well try it.
The one issue I have with Calamine lotion is its consistency: it is very watery so if you apply a lot of it to an area you need to lie still and wait for it to dry before you do anything. Otherwise it will just run off the area. I think you can get it in cream form though so perhaps when I restock I’ll buy that instead.
Avene Skin Recovery Cream
- Rashes: While Calamine Lotion is effective in soothing itchy rashes, Avene Skin Recovery Cream covers the other types of rash. Sometimes I get rashes from shaving that burn and this recovery cream is really good at treating and soothing them. I also use it on any rashes where there is broken skin – I’m not sure if this is recommended but I have had nothing but good results so far.
- Moisturiser for sensitive skin: This cream is meant to restore the skin’s ‘natural balance’ so if my skin is a little more dehydrated than usual I often use this instead of my usual moisturiser. Also if my skin is being a little temperamental I prefer to use this to moisturise to minimise the risk of my skin going insane. My skin has been really dry recently but sadly this cream hasn’t been too effective in helping with that. I think that this cream is more useful when your skin is behaving in a different way from usual. Right now my skin is naturally very dry, so this cream doesn’t do much – but when my skin is just having a bad day and acting strangely this cream is the first thing I reach for.
Avene Soothing Moisture Mask
- Reactive Skin: So my skin had a tantrum a few months ago. It got to the point where some parts of my skin started reacting to water. This reactiveness had some link to how dehydrated my skin was even though my skin didn’t look dehydrated – no flakiness etc.. Either way, using this moisture mask seemed to restore my skin to its normal state and with frequent use its usual defences returned.
- Dry Patches at the Corners of your Mouth: Sometimes I don’t really use this as a mask, instead I keep it on and use it as a moisturiser. This is especially the case when the corners of my mouth get really dry and cracked. I’m not really sure why this happens – some people say a vitamin B deficiency, some people say toothpaste (?) – but it’s annoying and sometimes kind of painful if you open your mouth too wide. Anyway when I notice the corners of my mouth getting a bit tender I put this on every night just on those areas and I leave it on until morning. It works pretty well as a preventative measure. It’s so-so as a treatment: I find that once those cracks are there they’re very very difficult to get rid of.
Incidentally, this product is not specifically designed for sensitive skin. All Avene products are carefully formulated to some extent to minimise the chance of adverse reactions, but there are a few which are targeted more specifically to sensitive skin (like the Skin Recovery Cream). This mask has fragrance in it so for those who are super-sensitive, you may want to steer clear.
Sudocrem almost made it on this list – I do find it useful as an all-round treatment but I don’t find it as effective as any of the products listed above. Many people swear by Aloe Vera gel (buy the purest version possible) but for me I find it largely ineffective.