It’s a sad but true fact that any skincare addict will, at one point or another, set fire to their face. Perhaps not literally, but also often not by accident. If one highly active product doesn’t quite give the results we want, we pile it on hoping for more, and if it gives great results, well, we still want more. Or maybe you’ve just been ‘blessed’ with easily irritated skin and don’t even need to reach for one-too-many hard-core acids to get a reaction. Either way, many of us know the pain that is irritated, red, itchy, stinging skin that is in need of a fire extinguisher. Here, we round up our favourite creams you can rely on to soothe and calm, no matter the cause.

For when the thought of rubbing in a cream makes you wince

The Body Shop Aloe Soothing Day Cream

Banish all thoughts of The Body Shop being home only to heavily-fragranced body products and get excited. At an absolutely brilliant price point, this performs better than many moisturisers three times the price. A gorgeously-textured cream that sinks in with only the slightest need for actually touching your poor sore face, but that still feels nourishing, both upon application and hours later. A truly, cannot go wrong option.

When you want a simple option that still feels luxe

La Solution 10 de Chanel Sensitive Skin Cream

Chanel partnered with a dermatologist to create this cream with only ten ingredients, which to some may not sound like minimal formulation but in this day and age does make it a rarity. When your skin is in distress, it’s important to use tried and tested ingredients that won’t do any further harm, and this formula relies on basic-in-the-best-way skincare ingredients like squalane and glycerin (an ingredient which all four creams feature) to rehydrate, and shea butter to give a thicker, comforting feel. Plus, the iconic black and white packaging provides psychological fortification when skin is especially troubled.

The use it everywhere, on anything, all the time choice

QV Cream

Find it at any chemist, use it on any part of the body or face, have one in every drawer. Neither too light nor too rich, it doesn’t just disappear once on but doesn’t feel heavy; rather, you will continue to feel its comforting presence well after application. As mentioned above, it is important to use time-honoured ingredients when skin is irritated, and it is really only during these circumstances that I would happily recommend a product containing mineral oil. Being an occlusive ingredient, for a lot of skin conditions and skin types it is often best to avoid, but when your skin is upset, mineral oil’s ability to form a barrier to prevent any further moisture loss is just what your face needs.

The investment that you’ll want to give a permanent spot on the bathroom shelf

Crème de la Mer

If you want iconic skincare, you reach for La Mer; however, iconic status often comes with a price tag to match. There’s simply no getting around its eye-watering expense – a 30ml pot, just over half the size of a standard moisturiser, is $242. (To be honest, were I not a beauty writer for whom PR samples are part of the job, I’m not sure it wouldn’t have remained on my ‘love to try it, someday’ list forever.) But oh, how glad my poor, peeling, burning face was to use this every night. A tiny bit goes a long way, and thick as it is it sinks into skin shockingly quickly and makes it feel cushioned, plump and cosseted; truly, it is exactly what you need if you’re at the point where you feel your face may just pack up and go home if you apply one more product.

Using this cream was an interesting reminder that, as with all skincare advice, your mileage may vary. I have had consistent acne for years and yet this has never once broken me out, though you may expect such a rich cream would. Also, as a general rule of thumb, when your skin is upset it’s best to avoid any fragrance in your products, from essential oils to perfumes, and yet this does contain fragrance. Far from being an irritant, for me, going to bed smelling like a wealthy lady who has her life together was just a precursor to the joy of waking up with calm, glowing skin.

Story by Zoe Briggs. Feature image via Instagram @lamer.

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