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Sensitive Skin and Scalp Saviours?

Author: Lauren Coleman

I’ve always had sensitive-ish skin. I’m nowhere near as delicate as Charlotte but I have had my fair share of allergic reactions over the years. I suffered from contact dermatitis on my legs as a child and frequently have chapped, broken skin on my hands through the winter months. During my GSCEs I remember my history teacher asking how long exactly did I think the eczema outbreak on my hands (that was preventing me from doing my homework) would last? I thought it was a better excuse than blaming the non-existent dog for eating my coursework.

During my two rounds of IVF I was advised to cut down on the amount of chemicals I was exposed to. An excuse to do less housework? I’m in! When it came to beauty products I ditched the acids and retinol and stopped painting my nails. Thank the lord it’s advised to wear thick socks when you’re in theatre, although considering the invasiveness of the procedure I’m surprised how concerned I was about my unvarnished feet 😉
On Charlotte’s recommendation I had been using Ollson Shampoo for several months beforehand and already used coconut oil for a plethora of beauty needs. I started using Sanex products as they include zero parabens and stopped spraying the Chanel.

Even with a stripped back beauty routine, a few months ago the skin around my eyes and ears became itchy and inflamed. I’ve never been a fan of using steroid creams around the eyes but in pregnancy it’s a definite no-no. A trip to the doctor’s surgery ended with a recommendation for E45 but the pharmacist refused to give it to me for the delicate eye area. After a bit of negotation I did come home with a tube but it didn’t make an impact.

A couple of weeks later a Tropics consultant recommended Tamumu Balm. This is in no way a sponsored post and I have a mixed experience with this ‘wonder’ vegan product. Formulated from ingredients including organic tamunu oil, macadamia oil and shea butter, the redness gradually began to subside after around four days of using. I was raving about the product which can be used on stretch marks, eczema, scars, burns and acne. Sadly a week or two later though the inflammation is back. Thank god for sunglasses as I look like I’ve done a few rounds with Mike Tyson. Given the success of it in the early days it’s definitely a product I intend to use after pregnancy. To be honest with all these extra hormones, I’m not sure any product would help at the moment but if you’ve got sensitive skin then it could be worth giving it a try as it has a whole load of uses.

James’ Grandma highly recommends Propolis, a natural resinous mixture honey bees produce by mixing saliva and beeswax with exudate gathered from botanical sources. Apparently it has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It’s not been testing for use during pregnancy so I haven’t given it a whirl but she absolutely swears by it.

I’m conscious I’ve spoken about reducing the amount of chemicals and then I’m about to chat about a product that more than likely includes a few. My scalp has definitely got worse over the last few months and I’m not keen on using an anti-dandruff medicated shampoo. I was pointed in the direction of The Body Shop Ginger Shampoo and have to say after two applications I’ve seen such a difference in the dryness and flakiness of my scalp. How glam to talk about dandruff on a Monday morning. Again one to give a whirl if you’d prefer to steer clear of any of the more harsher products.

Any other products you’d recommend for sensitive and delicate skin? Does anyone else have sore skin around their peeepers? What do you use on it?

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42 thoughts on “Sensitive Skin and Scalp Saviours?

    1. You’ve jogged my memory on this Amelia. I’m sure my friend was very pleased with herself when she got some of this. Does it come in and out of stock quickly?

  1. Have you tried Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream? I’ve never tried it on my eyes but it’s worked on other patches of dry sensitive skin. I’ve also ordered Glossier Balm Dotcom which I’m hoping will be a similar product… 🤞🏻 Probably both a bit think for your eyes though… sorry, not much help! Hope you find something that works soon xxxx

    1. I’ve never really got on with 8 hour cream but I know it works wonders on other. Let us know how you get on with the Glossier one x

  2. Have you thought of using lanolin? I used mine for just about everything after my daughter was born – obsessive hand washing after and before happy changes meant my hands were raw, but I found that this worked wonders.

  3. I have awful skin around my eyes – when it really flares up the only thing that works is steroid cream unfortunately, but when it’s not too bad then Epaderm Ointmemt is gentle enough to be smeared all over and keeps the skin moist – I would recommend. It comes as a cream aswell but I find the ointment is more effective.

    You have my sympathy though – I find it tough having flare ups as on top of being itchy and sore, I look awful too – like I’ve been crying/am really knackered/have been beaten up. Not great for the self confidence! Like you, I am grateful for sunglasses at the moment!

  4. Lansinoh lanolin cream could be worth a try? It’s magic for sore lips and sore nips in the early days of breastfeeding and I always have a tube around. I can’t inagine the propolis would do any harm- but the thought of sticky honey around my eyes is not pleasant! What does your acupuncturist say?

    My hair has been haywire after having second baby- itchy, flaky, greasy and falling out. I tried Joico at the hairdressers recommendation after my faithful Neals Yard was clearly too harsh but it didn’t do anything. I looked at the Body Shop ginger shampoo but was lulled by the pink peony Klorane products in all their French prettiness and they worked brilliantly for the itching but didn’t get me my shine back… on holiday used some mini ones with argan oil (the turquoise bottle) and finally my hair looks alive again!

    1. Ahh Lucy, I have some of that somewhere as Charlotte said it was good for all sorts of cracked skin. Good shout.
      So annoying with the hair products – you found one thing to sort one problem and then it causes something else. Glad you’ve got your shine back!
      I’m not seeing my acupuncturist at the moment. I was only getting a few hours morning sickness relief and it was three hour round trip. Using the funds for yoga and hypnobirthing instead!

      1. Wow three hours!!! Is there nobody closer she would recommend!! From Northamptonshire I’d almost suggest heading south to Herts where I know some great practitioners as it’s only an hour! Would totally suggest if you can find anyone closer do because it’s invaluable in the third trimester for a smooth labour in my admittedly anecdotal personal experience. Would she not talk to you on the phone after all that time and money invested in her?! I know my mum would for one of her patients.

        You can pick up a hypnobirthing CD for a fiver secondhand btw- Maggie Howell is great with a not annoying voice and lovely visualisations.

          1. Ha ha!. It’s an hour away, then an hour session, then an hour back. Yep I’m going to go back closer to the labour but for now it’s good to have a clearer diary as NCT starts soon.
            Thanks for the Maggie Howell suggestion. x

  5. I’ve been suffering from terrible dermatitis around my eyes in the last few months. Still not sure what’s causing it but sun cream is definitely one of the culprits…
    I’ve just started using Cetaphil face suncream for sensitive skin and it’s amazing so far – spf50, light and no burning sensation. Would really recommend.

    1. Yes Sarah! When I put my La Roche-Posay one on the other day my eyes were on fire! I’m having to rely on the spf in my moisturiser and wearing a hat when I’m outside. Will have a look at Cetaphil. Thanks for the recommendation.

  6. My Aussie friends swear by Lucas’ paw paw ointment. You can get it on amazon and health food shops. It’s a natural product.

  7. you have my sympathies. My skin has always been sensitive but it’s gone a bit mental since I’ve had children. My scalp and hair are not great either; I may give the body shop shampoo a go as I’m suffering with an itchy scalp and limp hair – attractive. My skin has gone from dehydrated to dry and spotty and Uber sensitive since having my second baby. I have been using ultra balm from lush as a cleanser it’s really natural and soothing. I use a flannel to take it off and then their eau Roma water as a toner to make sure it’s all off and I’m really clean. It’s the only toner I’ve ever used that doesn’t irritate.

    1. I really like lush products Anna. I use ultrabland and my skin is much clearer than when I was using Liz Earle.
      Hope all goes well with the ginger shampoo.

  8. I’ve recently developed seborhheaic dermatitis and salycilic acid has been my skin saviour.
    I’m definitely going to check out that ginger shampoo.
    Any tips on oil free SPF very much welcome. On La Roche Posay at the moment which is okaaaaay but not perfect.

    1. Hi Amy, there’s a recommendation for Cetaphil face suncream in the comments. Could be worth checking out.

  9. I completely feel your pain Lauren. I suffer with mild eczema but for the first 5 months of my pregnancy it got really bad, especially around my eyes! I was so desperate I have to admit I did put the smallest amount of mild steroid cream on my eyelids just to get it under control.

    I’m pleased to report that it got better as the weeks past and now (7 months pregnant) it has gone completely 🙂 The only thing that remains is having incredibly dry lips. I have to put Lucas Papaw ointment on them at least 4/5 a day! I can’t recommend Papaw ointment enough (I think someone else has above too). As an aside the label says you can use it on nappy rash too!

    The other thing I used was any of the Aveeno products containing oats. Not too sure on their chemical credentials though.

    Hang in there, hopefully it will improve soon and fingers crossed our babies don’t suffer with the same sensitive skin as us.

    1. Aveeno and I don’t get on which is such a shame! There’s so many great products that folks recommend but they just don’t seem to suit my skin!
      Best of luck with the rest of your pregnancy and good to hear yours eczema is under control.

  10. Sorry to hear you’ve been suffering with eczema Lauren. Mine really flared up and got infected during both my pregnancies and I had to bring out the steroid cream in the end as I couldn’t tolerate it anymore. The eye flareups are quite a recent thing for me and can’t for the life of me figure out what causes them. I can look like I’ve spent the day crying one day and absolutely fine the next. I find if I slather my eyes in vaseline I do look a bit better in the morning but it’s no miracle cure. Remember it’s not all black and white with medication in pregnancy, most things haven’t been tested (not very ethical to do that) rather than proven to cause harm.

    1. Hi Kat, yes that’s a very good point about medication tests.
      Hope your eyes are okay today.

  11. Sorry to hear you have been suffering too. I have had really bad eczema throughout my pregnancy and the heat makes it worse. At the point where I couldn’t sleep for all the itching I went to the pharmacist and he did say that I could apply a small amount of steroid cream for a week. After a few days fretting it went down anyway so I have left it for now. I find that e45 makes it so much worse! Will definitely be trying some of the above suggestions! X

  12. I was prescribed a steroid cream for my eczema when I was pregnant. I had a massive stubborn patch on the inside of my forearm which wouldn’t go away with anything non steriod. My eczema pretty much disappeared whilst I was pregnant but did come back afterwards. 🙁.

    I found la Roche posay cicaplast Baume works quite well at healing and then avene skin recovery cream to put the moisture back.

    Waitrose bottom cream is fab for dry bits. I’ve used it on chapped hands with gloves and dry feet with socks (attractive!) or Vaseline!

  13. I’ve found MooGoo shampoo and conditioner amazing for stopping psoriasis on my scalp in its tracks. I heard about it from others who have had the same results.

  14. My son had terrible eczema around his eyes when he was a baby and we tried many different types of creams both prescribed and shop bought. After hours spent googling eye eczema, I came across Dr Organic Manuka Honey Rescue Cream, available in Holland and Barrett. It was a miracle product and the only thing that really worked. We use it still for eczema flare ups. Good luck getting it under control

  15. Lauren I’ve had eczema, hay fever and allergies from being a kid.My mum bought me my first Simple products and still use them today.I’ve tried more expensive treatments from “posh” companies when I got a bit older and had more money but you know after a while they all started to irritate me again. So back to the good old Simple …the range these days is fantastic. I always had to get steroid cream off the doctor when I tried other things and she told me the more stuff you use on your skin the worse it will get you are actually stripping the skin of its natural barrier by constantly using different stuff. Simple does what it says on the tin xx

  16. The red itchy skin around your eyes sounds a bit like periocular dermatitis (meaning dermatitis around the eyes). I have very sensitive perioral dermatitis (meaning around the mouth). Thanks goodness you didn’t get the steroid cream as that’s a major no-no, it might initially work but when you stop using the steroid cream you’ll have steroid withdrawl which will make it worse. There’s a helpful facebook group for perioral dermatitis that I joined when I was at my worst, creams with zinc are meant to be the best thing, so those recommending the nappy cream above are on the case. Avene cicalfate cream seems to be the wonder product. Its the kind of thing you have to put on at night though as its all white. However some people find the fillers in the creams make them break out, there are zinc powders you can get that you just mix with water that will do the same thing.

    On the sensitive skin front, I’ve found Avene products to be wonderful (the thermal water spray is supposed to be good for itchiness, but I don’t get itchy so cant vouch for that). This is the most gentle moisturiser I’ve ever found: https://www.eau-thermale-avene.co.nz/face/products-for-daily-use/intolerant-skin/skin-recovery-cream

    I also like REN products, the calming cleanser is lovely https://www.renskincare.com/products/evercalm-gentle-cleansing-milk

    I also use this Korres moisturiser. https://www.korres.com/en/face/moisturising/almond-blossom-moisturising-cream-normal-dry-skin As a bonus its smells amazing, but some people are allergic to scent in skin products so be careful with that one if you are.

    I’m allergic to propolis (broke out in hives last time I used something with it in!) so won’t be going there! My scalp is utterly terrible at the moment so definately going to look into that body shop shampoo. The Olsson one looks good too but I looked it up and its double the price here in New Zealand as it is in the UK!

  17. I have suffered with eczema around my eyes whilst pregnant and when breastfeeding. I saw a dermatologist who confirmed it was fine to use steroid cream as you need to use something to get it under control when it flares up. I then use aveeno and vaseline. I tried the Holland and Barrett manuka honey cream and all sorts of other things but they didn’t work. Best of luck x

  18. I’ve read various blogs where Childs Farm baby moisturiser is mentioned. You can buy it online or from Superdrug. If you google it, there’s lots of people sharing how it’s cleared their, or their baby’s, eczema or psoriasis. Hope you find something that works for you.

  19. I have sensitive skin and was diagnosed with rosacea 2 years ago which has been driving me mad. But a couple of months ago I discovered Pai skincare products and they’re working wonders for me. I’ve tried so many things (Cetaphil, Avene, La Roche Posay etc) and I can honestly say that Pai have been by far the best for me.

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