For skin that is increasingly dry, itchy and sore…


Elemis Sensitive Cleansing Wash Q: I'm a 34-year-old black female who has always been prone to break outs. Recently my skin has got worse. It first started with itching on the Friday afternoon. On Saturday it became dry and flaky. It's rough to touch and sore. The pimples are raised and infected.

There are also many small dark marks, which look like acne scars but some are in areas where I didn't have pimples or scars before. It's frustrating as I follow a beauty regime. It's making me feel down and ruining my confidence. My GP has recommended anti-histamine.

Alison: For a short period of time I would advise you to forget about the oiliness and the spottiness. The reason for this is because you need to treat the sensitivity of your skin. You have described to me some form of allergic reaction that could have happened because of the products you've used, stress or even an air pollutant – when I stay in hotel rooms, for example, I sometimes find myself allergic to what they put in the air vents as air freshener.

So, something has caused an allergic reaction and although what has created it has probably gone or subsided, you have been left with a sensitised skin type. I don't want to treat it for problematic skin – oiliness or spottiness – as all products designed to help problematic skin would be too harsh at this time. It's important that you tackle and calm down the sensitivity first.

The best way to do this is to use the least amount of products and to maintain the simplest of skincare
routines. It's great that you've had it checked out by a doctor and I hope the anti-histamine is starting to help you. I would recommend you also use the Elemis Sensitive Cleansing Wash and the Elemis S.O.S Cream - which we do in a collection. You only need these two products until your skin has calmed down.

It doesn't necessarily mean that the spots will go away. But spots can be a side effect of an allergy, so you may find that you're not that spotty once you've calmed your sensitivity down. This is why I'm not recommending a strong routine to tackle your spots directly.

So calm your sensitivity down and then judge your skin. It may go back to being combination – as, by the sounds of it, it wasn't as bad as it has become now. Now it seems like it's gone into, what I call, a 'negative circle' – it's getting worse and worse. So, just use those two products for at least one hormonal cycle – about four to eight weeks. Your hormones can affect your skin too so you need to use them for a longer period of time to be able to judge it accurately.

Your doctor's advice followed by my skincare advice should give you a dramatic improvement. If you don't have successful results, then please write back to me and hopefully I'll be able to help you further. I also don't want to say yet what you will need next, after your skin has calmed down, so if you write again I should be able to help. For example, you may like Alpha-H products so watch out for a Today's Special Value coming up in May.


  1. Sue September 17, 2010 at 5:45 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison
    Can you become sensitive to make up brushes. I treated myself to a bare essentials set a few months ago & was really happy with the coverage. But a few times after using it my neck & face flared up, very red & itchy & has left me with pigmentation marks on my neck. I’ve reduced my skin routine down to a bare minimum and the pigmentation seems to be clearing, but still bumpy. What kind of foundation do you recommend? Is it poss. to return to using mineral make up & using the brush?

  2. Lee Prudence Mayne February 7, 2013 at 11:05 am -  Reply

    Hi Alison,
    After reading rave reviews about liz earle cleanse and polish and their positive effect on Rosacea I ordered some products. Initially, my face appeared a little red, but i thought this was just the products working. However, my rosacea got progressivly worse and my face was swollen and stinging. After doing some further research, I discovered that one of the ingredients – eucalyptus, can actually make rosacea worse, which I think happened to me. I have now purcashed Elemis sensitive wash with the sos cream and my skin is now calming down. My GP has also put me on docycycline for the rosacea. I have never had such a bad reaction and I don’t know what moisuriser I should be using to complement the face wash I’m now using. I am 54 and usually keep my skin routine simple as not to aggrevate it. Can you help?
    Many thanks,
    Lee Mayne

  3. Elaine Badger March 4, 2013 at 6:30 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison. I am 38 year old. I am looking a skincare range. Over the yaers i have tried many but never seem to get anything right for me. My skin is dry dehydrated i have a red nose an cheeks. a few broken capilliaries and prone to an odd spot. I would appreciate your help. also help with exfoliation and mask.
    Many thanks,

  4. Rebecca Dann August 23, 2013 at 12:43 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison,
    Please, please help me.
    I am 46 and for the last three years I have had problematic skin on my face, which is becoming increasingly worse. It is presenting as contact dermatitis, very red, sore and flaking skin around my eyes and on my eyelids. My doctor has prescribed 0.5% steroid for when it is really bad, but I have read that this can cause cataracts, so I do not wish to continue using it.
    An allergy test has revealed no allergies, so I think it must be hormonal. I am unable to wear any sort of makeup and I am finding it difficult to keep the skin stable. I have a frontline job, which means I am in the public eye and my self esteem is plummeting!
    Please could you recommend skincare/makeup that can tackle my problem? Any help and advice you can give me will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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