Q. It’s that time of year when my moisturiser and make-up are sliding off my face and we have yet to hit summer.  I have very sensitive skin and therefore am very carefully about what products I use.  I have combination skintype: normal with an oily T-zone.  At present my T-zone is very shiny regardless of all the usual tricks.  Is there a face moisturiser that has matt-based qualities, an SPF 15 and will nourish my sensitive skin – or am I asking to much from a product?
A. We, too, have touchy skins but have never had problems with Estée Lauder’s DayWear range, which we rate very highly as a summer moisturiser.  As with Clinique’s range, Lauder like to offer various different formulations of the same product, to target specific skintypes.  (Frankly, we wish every brand did this;  this fine-tuning for different complexions is one reason we repeatedly recommend these two well-known names in our Q&A answers.)

We would like to quote from a review on Lauder’s own site, which we think underlines why this would be a good choice for you (yes, it’s their own site, but we trust them!):  ‘I have oily skin and for years have searched for a moisturiser that keeps my skin dry throughout the day.  DayWear Advanced Multi-Protection Antioxidant SPF15, is the perfect solution even in hot and humid conditions, and protects you in the sun.’  With its light lotion texture and subtle cucumbery scent, we think you’ll like it, but do let us know.

•  Estée Lauder DayWear Advanced Multi-Protection Antioxidant SPF15 Lotion, £39 for 50 ml at www.boots.com; buy here


Q. Out of the blue my face is lately feeling a bit sensitive, irritated and taut.  I’ve gone through the process of eliminating products I’ve always used and have come to the conclusion (though most probably just coincidence) that it may be since using a new bottle of A’kin Rosehip Oil, a product I have used on and off for months with usually great results.  I was wondering if it could be the Vitamin A that cold pressed rosehip oil contains as I’ve read that it can change the barrier on the skin’s surface with prolonged use resulting in sensitivity – could it be just this bottle that is a problem – is that possible?  I love facial oil at night which has been part of my ritual since testing AD Synergy for you and have used Liz Earle’s and Clarins amongst others since. I was using the A’kin one because it really seemed to outshine the others initially! I have never had a problem with any product before and my life has always revolved around trying new ones (I have tested for you many times and am currently doing so – this started before your parcel arrived).  I am 43 and have not changed my HRT or supplements either.

 A. Well, despite the fact that rosehip oil is frequently prescribed for people with sensitive skin, we can both react badly to rosehip oil, too:  it sometimes brings Jo out in red, eczema-like patches and Sarah’s face has been known to kind of blow up.  The point about rosehip oil (also known as Rosa mosqueta) is that it triggers an action:  it is a natural source of trans retinoic acid (vitamin A) and Essential Fatty Acids.  It can help with scarring (even keloid scarring) as well as burns, and studies have found it is excellent for skin regeneration.  However, anything which is powerful enough to trigger an action can also trigger a re-action.  And some people are indeed sensitive to vitamin A, resulting in redness and flaking.  What we suggest is that you put the A’kin product aside, and go back to one of your other favourite oils.  Don’t change anything else in your regime.  Assess your skin after a month – use a magnifying mirror (never our favourite experience but the best way to see what your skin’s doing, up close).  If your skin has calmed down, it’s probably the oil that was the problem.  (And strange as it seems, it is possible to develop a reaction to a product even after you’ve been using it for a while.)  If your skin hasn’t calmed down and the redness/tautness is still there, you’ll need to do a bit more detective work.  It’s worth repeating our general rule not to chop and change products too frequently;  never introduce a new regime all at once but stagger introductions 10 days to a fortnight apart – and keep a close eye on your skin, after any new product introduction.  And no matter what a beauty consultant tells you, or how badly you want a product to work, skin should never ‘get worse before it gets better’.  If your skin doesn’t like something, ditch it.  End of story.


Q. I have very sensitive skin and am allergic to plant products also. Do you know of a skin care range that I can use. The doctor suggested an organic range might be the way forward.

 A.There is a wonderful range for ultra-sensitive skins from Barefoot Botanicals called (appropriately) S.O.S., specifically targeted at dry, irritated skins and also those with eczema, psoriasis or skins which are withdrawing from steroid treatment.  Within the range there is a Soothing Face Wash and also Rescue Me Face & Body Cream.  Don’t be put off by the fact that the same product is designed to do double duty:  this calming, hydrating blend (which did well with testers for our book The Green Beauty Bible) is more than gentle enough for faces, incorporating borage oil, evening primrose oil, shea butter and some very soothing, gentle herbs.  If you know which ingredients you’re sensitive to, you’ll find a full list on their website if you click here.  Another range with a reputation for ultra-gentleness is Essential Care, who make two products you might like to check out:  Organic Repair Lotion, and (if dryness is a problem, as well as sensitivity) Essential Care Organic Ultra Rich.  We would also highly recommend supplementing with Ideal Omega IdealOmega 3, a supplement that we absolutely swear by ourselves.  We’ve had great feedback from people we’ve turned onto this Essential Fatty Acid supplement, who’ve also experienced great skin improvements.

• The Green Beauty Bible -

•  Barefoot Botanicals S.O.S. Soothing Face Wash, £16 for 200 ml at www.barefoot-botanicals.combuy here

•  Barefoot Botanicals Rescue Me Face & Body Cream, £18 for 100 ml at www.victoriahealth.com; buy here (NB you’ll also get an exclusive 5% discount with all orders when visiting from our site; discount deducted automatically at checkout)

•  Essential Care Organic Repair Lotion, £18 for 200 ml at www.essential-care.co.ukbuy here

•  Essential Care Organic Ultra Rich, £18 for 175 g at  www.essential-care.co.uk buy here  

•  Ideal Omega IdealOmega 3, £23.70 for 60 capsules at www.victoriahealth.combuy here

(NB Don’t forget your exclusive 5% discount with most VH products when ordering from our site; discount deducted automatically at checkout.)