Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Testing, testing... moisturisers for problem skin

In December I blogged about beauty for busy mums, following a British Mummy Bloggers' Twitter party. Unsurprisingly, most mums don't have time to beautify themselves on a daily basis and rely on a handful of essentials. These include: moisturisers and cleansers, mascara and lipstick or lip salve. 

Moisturisers for dry, sensitive and problem skin
Many mums find that after having a child their skin is not as it used to be. In most cases the skin becomes dry and sensitive. And if you are an older mum, the dryness can be quite pronounced so you will have to find a product that can hydrate your skin without irritating it. And if you have problem skin, you need extra gentle ingredients, which means going for a fragrance-free moisturiser.

I'm an older mum and have gone from a combination skin (verging on the greasy) to a dry, sensitive skin. At first I thought the change was temporary, but while my body skin has reverted to what it used to be, my face is as dry as the Sahara desert. I also live in a windy area, which makes my facial skin look rough and dehydrated. Some days my skin looks like sandpaper, which does bring any fine lines into relief.

In this past two months I have been trying various moisturisers, sourced through a PR network. I have chosen products that are affordable, so this is a Crème de la Mer-free zone. 

The first moisturisers I tested are made in the U.S. and are distributed in the UK by Abbliss Ltd. They are both long-lasting products, once opened, Gloves In A Bottle has a recommended lifespan of 24 months, while SKIN MD can be used for 18 months - this is pretty unusual as most moisturisers have a recommended expiry date of 12 months after opening.

Gloves In A Bottle - the review 
Gloves In A Bottle
Gloves In A Bottle (£5.21 per 60ml, click here for stockist info) is not a product I have come across before, possibly because this is an American moisturiser that targets sensitive and problem skin (eczema and very dry skin). Women's magazines usually showcase conventional, mainstream moisturisers you find in supermarkets and at chemists. You can find this product at Selfridges and some chemists (and online) - if you want to try before you buy, you can ask for a free sample.

Gloves In A Bottle is hypoallergenic, fragrance- and colourant-free and is recommended by American dermatologists. It also claims to stay put, while conventional lotions come off when you wash. Its website has an impressive array of information on how this cream works to retain moisture. It is suitable for face, body and hands. I tried this product for several days but it soon became apparent that it's an effective moisturiser.

The first time I applied it to my face it gently exfoliated it, so my skin looked hydrated and of a pleasing colour (dead skin cells on your skin do give it a greyish tint). It was quite a strange experience but pleasant as it sank in really well and didn't feel greasy on my fingers. It also felt pleasantly cool and fresh when massaged in. My skin felt softer to the touch and was still soft and hydrated 24 hours later, despite a bitter wind outside and full-power central heating indoors. The label advises to reapply cream every four hours but in my case I found a little went a long way. I don't have problem skin, just dry skin and this cream did the job well and quickly.

So these are the pros, does Gloves In A Bottle have any cons? I can't fault this moisturiser, the only thing that might let it down is that name is a bit weird and the packaging basic and outdated, so if you can't live without fancy packaging and strong scents, this is not for you.

SKIN MD - the review

This American shielding lotion (with SPF15) is suitable for face, hand and body, and claims to be more effective than conventional moisturisers. It is suitable for problem skin and it aims to reduce the amount of steroid cream needed by psoriasis sufferers. There is plenty more information on its website, if you like finding out more about the product and what it does to your skin.

I massaged a small amount into my Sahara-dry facial skin and found it that it sank well and it was instantly effective.  I also liked the fact that my fingers were not oily. Creams that sink slowly and leave you with greasy fingers are one of my bugbears.

I was also pleased to notice that the area around my eyes, which has some fine lines, looked smoother and plumper. So not only it moisturised my parchment skin, SKIN MD also gave it a youthful glow.

As with Gloves In A Bottle, you can order a free sample of this lotion by clicking here. It's on sale at selected Boots stores and at (£15.31 per 120 ml). And if you want a product with green credentials, the manufacturer uses solar power energy at their plant.

And the cons? The packaging looks kind of medical and it's not one of the cheapest lotions I tested, still it's not as expensive as a
Clarins, Origins or Clinique daily moisturiser.

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