AS a nation we are a big bunch of softies. Our celtic skin is delicate and needs a lot of tender loving care.
We are also prone to sensitive skin, which is skin prone to itching and irritation that can be caused by a cosmetic. Many people use the same product all their lives and can wake up one morning and are allergic to it. Over 50% of Irish women say their skin is sensitive and this leads to the question what cosmetics are safe to use on our precious little skins.
When I think 'hyperallergenic' cosmetics I always think Clinque. In 1968 Clinque premiered as the world's first allergy tested, dermatologist-driven line. The trademark is why Clinque therapists wear the white lab coat, giving a clinical face to the brand.
When a dermatologist is diagnosing sensitive skin, they look for skin reactions such as bumps or skin erosion, very dry skin which is very uncomfortable and a tendency towards blushing and skin flushing.
So we are a shy and sensitive bunch, who need to be careful about what we put on our skin. Cleansing with highly fragranced and deodarant soaps are a no-no for the face, as are wipes, instead use soap-free cleansers such as mild cleansing bars (Avene do a great one). Liquid cleansers and cream cleansers are also safe. When looking for cosmetics, read the ingredients and look for products containing only a few ingredients and little or no fragrance. Avoid antibacterial or deodorant ingredients, avoid alcohol and retinoids or alpha-hydroxy acids as they can also increase the skin's sensitivity levels. If you are trying a new cosmetic line, I recommend getting a sample first and apply a little behind your ear and leave it 24 hrs to check for a reaction. Renee Zellweger, is also fair skinned and has arrived red faced to many of her movies due to rosacea, a condition that produces flushing and redness on the face and across the cheeks, nose and forehead. William Shatner, the former captain of the Starship Enterprise, also suffers from rosacea, which is nicknamed the "curse of the celts".
Another great skincare range is La Roche Posay. I love their body milk, suncare range and my favourite is Cicaplast Baume B5, a hero product if ever there is one, it is a healing cream for scars, acne, nappy rash, eczema breakouts, teething rashes and tattoo healing (I wonder does Cheryl Cole have some for her bum). It is parben-free, fragrance free, lanolin free, white mark free, non sticky and non greasy. Apply twice daily to pre-washed and dried skin - you can be generous with the product and it can be applied to body, face and lips.
New to the award winning Cicaplast range is Cicaplast lips, the product has a melt-in texture and soothes and repairs damaged and irritated lips. The comfort feeling lasts for 12 hours after application, even after eating. Cicaplast lips works on the lips, mouth, nostrils and philtrum, which is the little dimple between the upper lips and nostrils (I was always told that little mark was there because an angel put a finger on a baby's mouth to keep a secret before they were born). Anybody who suffers with dry lips and is prone to cold sores will love this as it limits dehydration and restricts the development of new cracks for up to 12 hours after application. At €6.50 it is a good buy and will be in pharmacies nationwide from this week.
One of the worst allergic reactions I ever saw was from a lipstick - think Angelina Jolie lips x 10. The technical name for it is 'eczematous cheilitis' and it can be caused by lip liners, lip balms, lip gloss, lip plumbers and sunscreens. Lip plumpers are used to increase the apparent volume of the lips, either by vasodilation or hydration. Lip swelling is the desired effect following the use of lip plumper. However, a kiss soon after application of the product may result in an unintened tranfer of the reaction, be warned lads. My advice when it comes to lipstick is neither a borrower nor a lender be and when it comes to testing a lip colour in a pharmacy, test on your hand, not your lips.
New to BIA Beauty is skin superfood and this is for everthing from bites and burns to dry skin and rashes as well as eczema, psoriasis, acne and rosacea. It is gentle and soothing, while poweful enough to deal with even the most sensitive and problem prone skin. This is a handy little product and comes in a super light airless pump which prolongs its shelf life and makes it lighter for you to carry. Every time I use this product I love seeing the guaranted Irish sign on it.
A new serum just out is called Idelia Life Serum, which claims to change your life in just eight days. This baby is from Vichy, who have researched 'behavioural ageing' and found that seven out of 10 women carry out at least one action that affects their skin quality in a negative way. When skin is suffocating, polluted, over-exposed, tired and over-stressed, it is less likely to repair itself and wrinkles, imperfections and dark spots form more easily. Idelia Life Serum leaves the skin instantly smoothed, plumped, illluminated and as a serum it penetrates the dermis deeper than a moisturiser. As a ultra-light concentrate, it is formulated with soothing and regenerating Vichy thermal spa water, so it is suitable for sensitive skins. Apply a dab of serum over the whole face in the morning and or at night. it can be used alone for normal or combination skin and under regular day or night care for dry or very dry skin. I have three of these serums up for testing.
Yoiu can write to Mary O'Donnell at The Kerryman, 9/10 Denny St Tralee, email me at email@example.com and don't forgot about my facebook page Mary O Donnell Beauty.
Next Week recession busting tips.