Where better to find skincare for compromised skin than in a range created by a dermatologist? Here are the brands, and products, that come with the ultimate seal of approval
I’ve never stepped into a dermatologist’s clinic; despite my many sensitive skin issues , some of which led to hyperpigmentation that lasted years, no doctor has ever been concerned enough to refer me and I’ve never felt my needs - or budget - quite stretched to the cost of going private. But while I’d love an hour with a derm to go through my skin problems in detail (who am I kidding? I’d want a whole day), it’s not the only way to get their expertise into your skincare routine - many of those more clinical-looking beauty brands out there have in fact been formulated by dermatologists, and what better endorsement for a product than to know a doctor made it?
Of course, it’s not a foolproof plan - everyone’s sensitive skin is different, and many of the dermatologist-created brands out there focus on results-driven skincare which could be too potent depending on your particular issue. But whether they’re high performance products or a gentle, back to basics range, what you can be sure of is that they tend to be no-nonsense formulas, almost always fragrance-free (or in the least, low in synthetic perfumes) and are very practical - no filler ingredients or gimmicks to be found.
Here are the brands and products made by dermatologists that I really rate for sensitive, reactive skin…
Dr Sam’s skincare
From £16, buy online
Dr Sam Bunting has long been GTG’s go-to derm for no-nonsense (there’s that phrase again) skincare advice - she understands how women feel about their skin and works from her clinic in London as well as posting regular vlogs about everything from acne drugs to makeup. Last year she thrilled us all by launching Dr Sam’s skincare - a range that’s free from fragrance, physical exfoliants, essential oils and denatured alcohol, and unsurprisingly the reviews are fairly unanimous in their praise. So far the collection includes the Flawless Cleanser, a non-comedogenic jelly cleanser, and the Flawless Moisturiser which is a gel-like cream with 5% niacinamide that helps to boost your skin’s tolerance. A third hero product is arriving at the end of this month - our lips are sealed (for now) but it’s got bestseller written all over it…
From £10, buy online
Created by a US dermatologist known simply as Dr Carl (as in Dr Carl Thornfeldt, who is unreservedly passionate about what he does - I’ve been lucky enough to meet him in person and I’m not sure I’ve ever met someone so enthusiastic about skincare), Epionce is not as well known as it should be. As a child Dr Carl suffered with dermatitis, and so the brand’s key ethos is to reverse skin barrier disruption , and repair inflammation - AKA the two main concerns for anyone with sensitivity. It’s a no-brainer. Their Medical Barrier Cream , £29.50, is the hero of the range and ideal if you suffer with eczema or psoriasis, reducing inflammation while creating a protective layer on the epidermis. I’m a fan of their Milky Lotion Cleanser , £27.50, and Ultra Shield SPF50 , £29.50, too - these three basics are a good start for anyone with compromised skin.
From £19.60, buy online
Created by Neostrata (which incidentally is another great brand), Exuviance was developed by Dr Van Scott and Dr Yu, a dermatologist and dermatopharmacologist who are renowned in the industry for discovering the powers of AHAs and being the original patent holders of the first glycolic peel; we beauty consumers have a lot to thank them for. The skincare line is more results-driven than back-to-basics, so I still tread carefully with my sensitive skin (fragrance crops up in some products, though is always minimal) but the cleansers are particularly good for blemish-prone complexions, while the fragrance-free Bionic Eye Creme Plus , £45, has a gentle formula combining PHAs and retinyl to target signs of ageing without causing irritation.
from £10, buy online
Founded by Dr Howard Murad , who is known fondly among editors as one of the nicest experts in beauty, Murad is one of the better known brands in this list and for good reason. Dr Murad himself has written twelve bestsellers on the topics of health and skincare, with his ethos being that 'skincare is healthcare'. Another results-driven brand, the range is vast, but two of their super sensitive-friendly products are regulars on my bathroom shelf - the Soothing Gel Cleanser , £30 and the Soothing Serum , £49.50, both of which are part of their anti-redness collection. I also rate the Pore Extractor Pomegranate Mask and can’t live without the Rapid Relief Spot Treatment , £20; it’s the first product I’ve found that works on spots with visible results and no irritation. Pick and choose carefully depending on your sensitivities, but you’re in safe hands.