Three eczema creams, two types of humidifiers and four other supremely soothing skincare items.
It's nearly April, which means Toronto is not yet sticky with humidity nor freezing cold. Instead, temps fluctuate between jackets-off 23 degrees Celsius and should-I-be-wearing-tights-with-this-dress 10 degrees Celsius. My skin reacts accordingly. Below, the nine products helping me maintain equilibrium.
I work as a beauty editor, so no one batted an eye when I set up this humidifier from Dyson—the brand who made the tool that convinced me to start blowdrying my hair—on a chair in the middle of our department for "research." It would have taken little to convince them though. Sensors in the device measure and regulate room temperature, so you never feel like you're blanketed with humidity. There is also a cooling setting, which I suspect will come in handy this summer. Air is zapped with a built-in UltraViolet light (ideal for less-than-pristine office environments), killing any bacteria, before it is recirculated evenly throughout a 172-square foot space (this meant the culture team that sits adjacent to us also benefitted from the increased humidity). On the days I've let it run from morning to night, I noticed my 4 p.m oily face is not as severe as usual. You can thank me for the glowing skin later.
Dyson Humidifier in Black/Nickel ($599.99), at dysoncanada.ca.
Should you not work in beauty and need a humidifier that is slightly more subtle, I suggest this one from Saje. (It's technically a diffuser, but you can use it sans essential oils at the office and it does the trick.) It's compact and operates pretty much silently—I have noticed a slight gurgle of water every now and again, but it's not unpleasant, kind of like being river-side—and there was no compromise on design. I have a marble-looking one on my bedside table that gives off a soft blue light (you can switch it off if you prefer to sleep in absolute darkness) that I use religiously.
Saje Natural Wellness aromaBreeze Ultrasonic Diffuser ($74.95), at saje.com.
I don't usually wear primer, but this one is my go-to when my skin is reactive and can't handle my regular arsenal of serum, moisturizer and sunscreen products layered overtop one another. It has SPF 20 (I usually go higher in the summer, but this is fine for spring when I spend most of my days indoors) and a green tint, which helps to neutralize redness before I put on foundation. (I have worn it on its own sans foundation, and the green doesn't linger if you rub it in sufficiently.) The formula does have silicone in it, which I don't usually love the feel of in my beauty products, but I find beneficial in this case since it helps the product glide over any uneven patches on my face from acne or eczema.
Dermalogica UltraCalming Redness Relief Primer ($65.50), at dermalogica.ca.
SkinCeuticals Soothing Mask
My face is prone to turning tomato-red after working out, or even walking down the street on a particularly warm day. This mask is a godsend. You know how beauty editors are always telling you to stick your hydrating masks in the freezer before applying because it's soothing? This mask does that without having to ever store it beside your produce. SkinCeuticals tested the product on people who had just had Fraxel laser resurfacing, and used thermal imagery to show that skin was an average of 2.8 degrees Celsius cooler (that's huge!) where the mask was applied. Its mix of cucumber, thyme and olive extracts, hyaluronic acid and calming peptides nix all signs of reactive skin, including redness/blotchiness, dullness and a feeling of tightness. As someone who has all these symptoms (yay?) I can attest it does just that.
SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Masque ($68), at medi-spas and dermatologist offices nationally.
Ren Calming Mask
Where the SkinCeuticals mask has the texture of a gel-lotion, this mask is a rich comforting cream. I slather it on before bed, let it sink in for as long as possible (the official recommendation is 10 minutes) and then gently splash some water on my face and dab off the extra. I don't find I need to apply anything on top, but you could add an oil if your skin is super dry.
Ren Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask ($47), at sephora.com.
I love the size of this tube and how convenient it is to carry around. I always have it in my purse so I can apply to my hands on the go. It's not particularly thick, but seriously calms and soothes the dry patches around my wrists and thumbs with its ingredients like arnica, bee pollen and vitamin E.
Indeed 10balm ($19.99), at indeedlabs.com.
Glysomed Eczema Control
According to the Eczema Society of Canada, eczema is more common in Canada than anywhere else in the world, with approximately 17% of Canadians affected. (I blame the weather fluctuations for mine.) This new hand cream from Glysomed is the most recent addition to my lineup, and, surprise surprise, what I love about it is that it goes on super smooth—no greasy hands here, thank you very much. Its hero ingredient is colloidal oatmeal, an eczema remedy that's been around for ages, boosted with a blend of chamomile and oat-infused glycerin as well as oat kernel oil.
Glysomed Eczema Control ($10), at londondrugs.com.
This fragrance and paraben-free formula saved me from itchy, dry legs throughout winter and I'll be keeping it around for summer—a testament to its ability moisturize without leaving you feeling like an oil slick.
Bioderma Atoderm Intensive Balm ($24.90), at drugstores and mass-market retailers.
Province Apothecary Body Oil
This is the least oily oil I have ever used. It sits on my desk at work, and I apply right after I wash my hands. (It's always best to apply oil on slightly damp skin for optimal absorption. You can also spray your hands with toner before applying for the same effect.) It absorbs immediately into my skin—I can get right back to typing on my keyboard without things becoming a slippery mess—and smells divine. Highly recommended.
Province Apothecary Radiant Body Oil ($58), at provinceapothecary.com.