Sensitive Skincare Post: Bioderma, Physiogel, Acseine, Hada Labo, Eucerin

Sorry if this post may not interest everyone, i.e. those who do not have sensitive skin, but I thought it was time I share my findings in the sensitive skincare world in the past six months of struggling with random rash and acne breakouts.

Again, thank you so much for your support at my Naruko blog sale where I had to get rid of some products that I’m allergic to.

I thought my skin was just sensitive to the usual baddies: strong chemicals, parabens, alcohol, and fragrance but I think I can’t tolerate a lot of natural/organic skincare as well. So my lineup of sensitive skincare belongs to the stripped down variety where there are fewer irritants than your average skincare product.

For those living in Japan, you can try Bioderma’s Sensibio range and it’s available at Matsumotokiyoshi, Loft, and Tomod’s.

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From left to right: Sensibio Light Soothing Cream Sensitive Intolerant Skin Normal to Combination Skin; Sensibio Lotion Normal to Dry Sensitive Skin; Sensibio H2O Sensitive Skin Ultra-Mild Non-Rinse Cleanser Makeup Remover.

The price range is around 2900JPY and above though the small H2O cleanser is around 1500JPY for just 100ml but that finishes very quickly.

Let’s start with the good products: the cleanser is indeed a good non-irritating non-rinse makeup remover. There is no alcohol and the skin feels refreshed and clean after makeup has been wiped off but even this HG cleanser is no match for Majolica Majorca’s mascara.

The lotion has been great for my chest and back and it has never been so smooth. I’ve had minimal pimple break outs in these areas and I really think this lotion has something to do with it. Unfortunately, this lotion doesn’t work on my face and it kind of crept up on me. For a whole month, my skin felt fairly smooth and blemish-free but then I started getting bumps on my cheeks and forehead, areas which I don’t normally get any acne. I’m not sure if what I had were even pimples because they didn’t look like clogged pores nor were they inflamed. But after I stopped using this product for a few days, all the bumps disappeared.

The soothing cream which is supposed to be a light moisturizer was way too rich in autumn but didn’t have enough moisturizing power in winter. Overall it’s not a terrible product but it just didn’t work for me in terms of hydration.

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Another brand that specializes in sensitive skin is Acseine which is a Japanese brand. It has a counter in Ginza’s Matsuya and a small section in Loft. I was glad they had a sample pack so I could sample their AD range which is completely free from nasty chemical additives and fragrance.

From left to right: Cleansing Oil, Facial Soap AD, Skin Control Lotion, AD Control Essence, Milky Gel AD (day moisturizer), Skin Protector AD (night cream).

I love their Skin Control Lotion AD and it was gentle enough for my face. I used this throughout my Vietnam trip and I will definitely repurchase this. Unfortunately, the rest of the range just didn’t suit me.

The Milky Gel and the Skin Protector were way too rich for me and just sat on the surface of my skin. Putting on makeup over this was just a nightmare and I was an oily mess in just a couple of hours. The AD Control Essence is meant to be a hydrating serum but I seriously doubt it penetrated my pores as it felt like it just stayed unabsorbed on my skin.

The cleansing oil worked fine but it is quite pricey at 3100JPY for a 120ml full-sized bottle. The facial soap had the usual soap effect which made my skin feel a bit tight after washing. Some people may like that feeling because it means all the dirt has been cleaned off so I wouldn’t rule this out completely. Sometimes I like to do this type of squeaky clean cleanse to get the crap off my face, sort of like “clarifying” your skin, you know?

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From left to right: Physiogel Cream, Eucerin Aquaporin Active Moisturizing Cream Light, Sensibio Light Soothing Cream Sensitive Intolerant Skin Normal to Combination Skin, Hada Labo es Milk.

I’ve used the above four moisturizers for a few months now and my conclusion is that the Physiogel Cream, SGD42 (USD33) for 150ml has had the best effect on my skin. I actually saw this brand on Bubz Beauty’s blog and Youtube video and wanted to get the exact same lotion but I couldn’t find it so I settled for their basic cream which my mum’s friend raved about as a night moisturizer. I think it does the job and is not greasy but I’m well aware that it does just that, i.e. moisturize, and has no other added benefits.

But hey, as long as it doesn’t irritate my skin, I’m happy. I even bought a lotion version for more humid weather and I don’t think I can live without this moisturizer. It’s not sold in Japan so I stocked up in Singapore and I’ll probably try and buy some more when I go to New York next month.

The Eucerin moisturizer actually had fragrance which surprised me. This one worked well for me for two weeks and then snuck up on me like the Bioderma Sensibio Lotion — little bumps appeared on my cheeks and my skin just generally felt rough to the touch, like there was a strange invisible residue or something. So I used the rest of the cream on my arms and legs.

The Hada Labo es Milk (review on the whole es range here) has been great for my eye area but it’s too rich for my oily skin. I think it works fine at night but I prefer using my Jason Natural Vitamin E Oil that not only deeply moisturizes my skin but seems to help heal the various bumps and scars on my forehead and cheeks which have pretty much recovered from my previous breakouts.

I would like to add that I brought back the Clinique Anti-Blemish Clearing Moisturizer into my regime for the past month and I apply it only to my T-zone before the Vitamin E Oil — so far so good and my skin has seen much fewer clogged pores and I will stick to this routine for now.

I hope you found my post useful in some way if you have sensitive skin. Just a piece of advice: try to introduce one new product to your skin at a time so you can determine if it could cause you any reaction. It also took me all this while to admit that I simply cannot use “fancy/fun” skincare anymore and I really feel okay (I just spend more on makeup now — lol!)

Do you have any sensitive skin products to recommend?

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9 comments

  1. YES! I have sensitive skin, and I love Hada Labo, Bioderma, Eucerin, Vichy, La Roche-Posay and other French pharmacy brands! I particulary love the Bioderma SPF100 Sunscreen.

  2. I love love love Biodroga. It’s a spa line from Germany that’s available here in the States. I normally use the Puran Line (because I have oily blemish prone skin). But I also used the Sensitive Skin Line when I had a flare up from an rookie esthetician over did the microdermabrasion. The lotion -mild and milky cleanser are both wonderful. I don’t recommend the BB cream though, it’s too heavy and the colors are geared towards more European skin tones.

  3. I’ve read so many good things about the Bioderma cleansing water in European blogs I think I really have to try it. (Although not washing my face with water still icks me out somehow, but maybe it’s okay in the morning and will actually improve my dehydrated skin.)

    I also react to botanical ingredients. Tea tree oil on breakouts?! O____o

  4. Forgot to say thanks for this article! m(_ _)m
    And do you use the Mutenka stuff you’re selling?

    Btw, I really like La Roche Posay’s Toleriane Fluid, it only has like 8 ingredients.

  5. @Jamilla: I have yet to try La Roche-Posay but am keen to because I saw that their new moisturizer for sensitive skin has no icky additives.

    @Amanda: I’ve never heard of Biodroga – I’ll look out for this brand when I’m in the US!

    @Julia: I actually still wash my face with a facial wash after I use the Bioderma cleansing water. I, too, cannot bear a non-rinse formula. Although I could see splashing my face with only water after using it. I’m still using Mutenka’s cleansing oil to remove makeup as it’s cheap and good. I sometimes use their facial wash if I feel very oily and dirty…maybe about once a week.

  6. I use that HadaLabo ES Milk, too. It was great in the UK, but I feel it’s a little too sticky for Msian weather. No breakouts, though, just a bit too rich I reckon.

    Thanks for this post. It’s really useful to refer to if I ever need it. I had an outbreak of pimples back when I was 19 after years of having smooth skin. It was horrible.
    From then on, I’ve always been very careful and always, always test new products on a small patch of skin for 24 hours first.

  7. skin care for sensitive skin is tricky… I don’t have sensitive skin I remember using Lush (the toner) when my skin was feeling sensitive and it worked well. I love more “organic” kind of products too, I do feel they’re more gentle on the skin!

  8. Hi Joey, it seems like common sense to do a patch test but I never do it — thanks for the tip!

  9. Nic: yeah I do feel like natural/organic products tend to exclude nasties like parabens and alcohol, which are good for more sensitive skin.

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