After the best summer in living memory (for me, at least; those older have enjoyed banging on about the summer of ’76 which was, of course, hotter, longer and tougher) we find ourselves hurtling into autumn. The leaves are starting to fall, the nights are drawing in and we’re all desperately trying to not talk about Christmas before the time when it’s acceptable to talk about Christmas.
But can I just say (and this is not a Christmas post, I’d like to make that clear) that it’s very difficult not to think about Christmas because – truthfully – what else is there to look forward to? I know that we’re supposed to rejoice in the crisp air, the burnished colours, the benefits of being allowed to “hibernate” and the realisation that we can now wear tights, but really? It’s just a clever, positive spin on the fact that we have to now endure a whole run of dreary, dark months. Hibernation during this time is a necessity, not a perk.
And when was being able to wear tights any sort of bonus? Good grief! You’re either hoisting them up every ten seconds or using a black biro to colour in your legs through the myriad of holes that inevitably appear the very first time you put them on. Add to that the fact that they seem to make my shins ridiculously dry and flaky and we have ourselves a clothing item that could only have been designed by Satan himself. (Though I will admit that they do make my legs look excellent and the ones with tummy control are great for getting a smooth silhouette beneath dresses and pencil skirts.)
Anyway, all of this is rather an unsubtle segue into the main theme of today’s post, which is dry, itchy skin. I’ve been testing out the excellent AVEENO® Dermexa range which has been formulated to soothe, moisturise and reduce discomfort. Many of you will be familiar with AVEENO® products already; in fact when I asked on The Uphill if anyone had recommendations for products suitable for Angelica’s eczema-prone skin, the brand was a firm favourite. But I think that the Dermexa range goes a step further, when we’re talking about skin that’s uncomfortably dry; the products in the range are so full of emollients that the moisturising and soothing effects are truly long-lasting and noticeable.
I actually discovered the range in the first place because of Angelica’s dry, eczema-prone skin. Before trying Dermexa she had been given a big tub of grease to apply twice-daily as a sort of maintenance moisturiser between applications of her prescription cream, and it was just horrendous to put on. The Dermexa Fast and Long-Lasting Balm was a brilliant replacement – I could still feel that her skin was properly moisturised the following morning, if I applied it before bed, but it was really pleasant to apply and didn’t leave her ridiculously greasy.
And at the same time I was doing my own bit of skincare testing, rubbing the excess balm into my hands, especially the backs of them, and noticing that they were beautifully soft when I woke up.
Which brings me back around to Autumn and tight-wearing weather, because I’ve been using both the Dermexa Fast and Long-Lasting Balm and the slightly lighter Daily Emollient Cream on my notoriously scaly, itchy shins. (As soon as the weather turns cold the skin on my lower legs starts to look like crocodile skin and it’s really tempting to pick at the scaly, flaky bits.) I don’t often do a “whole body” moisturisation session these days, but the lower legs are an absolute must for me if I don’t want to morph into a reptilian, so I’ve been using the Long-Lasting Balm at night after a bath or, if it’s a morning shower, the Daily Emollient Cream.
Both are formulated with Colloidal Oatmeal and Avenanthramides (had to copy and paste that word, blimey!) known for their soothing properties and then ceramides which are known to help strengthen the skin’s natural barrier. So as well as instant relief from very dry, itchy skin there’s a longer-term game going on here; helping the skin to retain moisture and protect itself against the outside world.
The funny thing is, before Angelica’s eczema first flared up I didn’t ever think to treat my dry shins with anything properly targeted at very dry skin. It’s only since I’ve tried dedicated solutions on her skin that I’ve realised how immediately effective they can be and I’m absolutely over the moon with how well the Dermexa range works. As a maintenance solution, to keep her skin moisturised and protected, it’s excellent – it’s easy to get hold of and affordable enough to apply regularly and in generous amounts.
The fact that the whole family can use it – I’ve been doing Ted’s legs, recently, as it looks as though he’s inherited my crocodile gene – is a massive advantage. There’s no way I would have voluntarily applied Angelica’s “pot of grease” (as it quickly became known) to my own skin but the Dermexa Long-Lasting Balm feels like something I’d choose to use anyway.
Surprisingly, there’s no greasy residue with either the Balm or the Daily Emollient Cream – you’d think that the balm would leave you feeling as though you’d been basted with goose fat but within minutes my skin feels supple and moisturised with no unpleasant oiliness. The Emollient Cream leaves more of a noticeable barrier on the skin, which is interesting considering how the texture of the product is so much lighter, but it’s a very comfortable feel, not a greasy or sticky one.
And it’s pleasing, really, when you suffer with itchiness due to dryness to feel that you’ve applied a product that’s actually working – so many creams are formulated to “instantly absorb” or “leave no trace” but then skin feels no different after application. Or the benefits are just so short-lived that it seems pointless having taken the time to apply it!
I almost wrapped up this little review without mentioning the Dermexa Daily Emollient Body Wash, which contains similar soothing, barrier-restoring ingredients as the moisturisers in the range. It’s non-drying, which is actually quite a rare thing in the affordable, mainstream body wash market – most leave my skin feeling as though it’s had all of the moisture surgically extracted from it, even the ones that claim to be formulated for very dry skin or sensitive baby skin. You would have thought that non-drying body washes and bath additives would be the norm, but it amazes me every time I walk down the supermarket aisles that there isn’t more choice.
I digress, as usual. The AVEENO® Dermexa range is a great one to have as a bathroom staple – excellent for very dry, itchy skin. It’s also suitable for eczema-prone skin, but not so hefty and intense that it’s off-putting for the rest of the family to use. It’s basically, to sum up, a brilliant, intensely-moisturising all-rounder that has the strength to support skin that requires extra attention.
You can find the Daily Emollient Cream and Daily Emollient Body Wash at Boots here* and the full Dermexa range at Tesco here. There’s more info, as well as full ingredients lists (bravo AVEENO®) here.
This post contains advertorial for AVEENO® Dermexa.