May 18th 2021
Sense and Sensitivity
Sense and Sensitivity: The best balms for sensitive skin
November 24th 2016 / 0 comment
A multi-purpose soothing balm is a must for those with skin sensitivities - here’s my pick of the very best healing heroes
The problem with having temperamental skin is you just never know when or where the next issue will crop up. Stressed out? Here, says my skin, have some patchy eczema to add to your woes. Not used enough skin barrier-repairing ingredients before the cold weather hits? Here, says my skin again, have some cracked lips, a dry, blotchy face and elbows that feel like sandpaper. The new season with its icy winds and cranked up central heating is reason enough to arm yourself with a richer skincare salve, but I find myself using them year-round for all manner of problems - whatever my outspoken skin is feeling disgruntled by, you can guarantee a calming balm will quieten it down.
Luckily, an all-purpose balm is something most organic and sensitive-friendly brands do well - having an all-round healer is a no brainer for them and for us, the sufferers. Here’s my pick of the best balms around that are well worth having up your sleeve (or wherever else disaster hits)…
Pai Head to Toe Hero Buruti Balm
£20, Buy online
Brand new from organic skincare brand Pai is this saviour of a balm. A vegan formula that was years in the making, it’s free from lanolin, beeswax and petroleum jelly, as well as having no synthetic fragrance or essential oils, ensuring even the most sensitive of skin can use it. The natural vanilla scent is so subtle that it’s almost buttery, while the skin-improving benefits come courtesy of buruti oil, kukui (a nourishing Hawaiian oil) and anti-inflammatory calendula. On application, it melts into the skin almost like an oil, only without the spill and certainly without the grease. There's no stickiness left behind and it leaves skin looking brighter and healthier - my poor, neglected and gloveless hands looked less weathered after massaging this in on a particularly cold day. I love that it's ideal for chapped lips too; another winning formula from my favourite sensitive skin brand.
Pommade Divine Remedy Balm
£20, Buy online
From the new to the old - over 300 years old, to be exact. Pommade Divine has had quite a journey through beauty history with everyone from royals to monks making use of the cure-all ointment. GTG’s Sarah Vine describes the smell rather aptly as 'quite unique, like the inside of a very grand old wardrobe in a very grand old house’, and the blend of lanolin, shea butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove is unique in texture too. A rich, soft balm, it’s a natural antiseptic, and can help to relieve anything from a bad bruise to inflamed skin and psoriasis. Free from mineral oil, synthetic fragrance and parabens, it works for baby skin and beyond.
Lanolips Golden Dry Skin Salve
£17.99, Buy online
For those who are fans of lanolin, you’ll find no better than Lanolips with its medical-grade ingredients. This golden wonder contains manuka honey and vitamin E as well as its signature lanolin to soothe skin back to health - I use it on cracked hands, dry patches of eczema and wherever else I need some seriously intense, instant hydration. It lasts forever too, as you need very little to see big results.
Herbfarmacy Mallow Beauty Balm
£18, Buy online
This little hero really does it all - you can use it as a cleansing balm to rid you of the day’s makeup or simply as an all-purpose moisturising balm; or, for an intensive treatment, apply and leave overnight as a soothing face mask for radiant skin when you wake up. Certified organic, this balm has won awards for its skin-calming properties thanks to the combination of marshmallow, mullein, jojoba and shea butter. Despite the home-grown essential oils, it’s not overly strong - suitable for rosacea, psoriasis and eczema sufferers.
Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm
£9, Buy online
A great all-rounder on a budget, Eucerin’s fragrance-free balm is brilliant for both protecting and repairing the skin. With panthenol (a derivative of vitamin B), glycerin, a moisturiser, and bisabolol (from chamomile), it soothes rough, dry, cracked skin and creates a protective barrier to prevent any further damage while the skin recovers. Sporty types will find it useful to prevent chafing (ouch) and it’s working wonders on my chapped hands (which I usually protect with the hand cream from the same brand, but the season change has required something that’s more heavy duty).
Indeed Labs 10 Balm Soothing Cream
£19.99, Buy online
Is it a balm, is it a cream? A balm by name but a cream by nature, who knows - all I know is this intensive treatment is a dream for sensitive skin types. Indeed Labs are, as a brand, great for selecting ingredients that you need and leaving out all those that you don’t, and this newer product is no exception; fragrance-free, paraben-free and colourant-free, what it does contain is honey extract, propolis extract, pollen extract, royal jelly, arnica, bisabolol, allantoin, vitamin E, buruti oil and baobab oil. The 10 natural soothers work together in this silky-soft cream/balm to hydrate and replenish stressed-out skin. The best in this edit for using on the face, but you can use it wherever it’s required too. Another stroke of Indeed genius.
Twelve Beauty Rewarding Body Balm
£80, Buy online
Last but by no means least is this luxurious skin treat from Twelve. This body balm was the first product that Twelve founder Pedro Catala created, after working as a pharmacist for over 10 years and deciding that the remedies for his patients’ skin simply weren’t up to scratch. Perfect for treating dehydrated and fragile skin, it has only the best ingredients for effective, impressive results. Squalane, a skincare superhero, is top of the list, as well as organic ingredients ranging from jojoba oil to mallow, shea butter to argan oil, plus hyaluronic acid to help keep skin soft and supple. It’s pricey, yes, but this large 200ml jar will keep your skin incredibly well nourished and comforted; it's currently being used in various clinics in London to treat the patients Pedro created it for. On application it sinks in to leave no residue whatsoever, only silky, hydrated skin that looks instantly more radiant. Take that, winter.
Got a favourite balm? Let me know in the comments!