Beauty Clinic: Essential oil-free skincare

Q. Do you have a list of products that do not contain essential oils, or evening primrose or rosehip oil?  I take prescribed medication for a serious health problem, which interacts with essential oils and it is impossible to find appropriate skincare on the high street, apart from Avêne and Biotherm.  (I prefer not to shop online.)  Also – can you recommend a facial that I could have? A. We are sorry to hear about your health problem but hope that we can help with skincare.  We turned to our good friend Gill Sinclair, co-founder of Victoria Health (, has a severe allergy to essential oils and says she ‘has landed in A&E on a drip more times than I care to remember because I have unknowingly used products with essential oils – or had them used on me’.

Derma E CleanserShe recommends the American brand Derma E, which formulates products especially for sensitive skin.  This range is, however, only available online in the UK (Gill offers it on her own website, where it's a bestseller).  Derma E offers a range of skincare options, including the following:

• Soothing Cleanser with Anti-Ageing Pycnogenol. This creamy cleanser, which you apply on a damp skin, also contains green tea, chamomile and lemongrass.

• Soothing Toner with Pycnogenol.  It restores the skin’s pH (acid alkali) balance, closes pores and prepares your complexion for moisturiser.

• Soothing Moisturising Cream with Pycnogenol. With vitamin E, C and A also aloe, this is an all-round moisturiser.  (NB it does contain jojoba seed oil.)

Avene Skin Recovery CreamYou mention Avêne, which is sold in Boots stores, and their Rich Skin Recovery Cream does not contain any oils that we can see.  The main ingredients are thermal spring water and paraffinum liquidum – which would be one way round your problem if your skin is intolerant to absolutely all oils.  You might also want to look at the Aveeno range, which is widely available, is based on extract of oats and does not appear to contain essential or other oils.

Perhaps instead of a facial you could try facial massage or acupuncture, taking your own products to the therapist. If you explain your skin challenges, we're sure they'll be happy to accommodate you...

Derma E Soothing Cleanser with Anti-Ageing Pycnogenol/£15 for 175 ml at - buy here

• Derma E Soothing Toner with Pycnogenol/£15 for 175 ml at - buy here

• Derma E Soothing Moisturising Cream with Pycnogenol/£22 for 56 g at - buy here

• Avêne Rich Skin Recovery Cream/£12.50 for 40 ml at - buy here