This $56 Serum Was Made for Over-Sensitive Skin That Usually Hates Everything

Got sensitive skin that seems to reject anything stronger than water?

Or pushed your skin a little too far recently and have been left with a skin barrier more impaired than a fairground bumper car ride?

Then you need to know about this new La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Dermallergo Serum 20ml

It’s a serum that was pretty much tailor-made for over-sensitive skin. You know, skin that throws a tantrum whenever you put anything even remotely fun on it.

But before we get into my La Roche-Posay serum review, here's a quick recap on sensitive skin and what it likes (and doesn't like).

What is Sensitive Skin?

A little recap - sensitive skin can be genetic or a condition brought on by lifestyle factors - or a combination of both.

Typical symptoms include burning, stinging, tightness and possibly redness without any obvious rash or other cause.

For your reference, here's a selfie of my sensitive skin. She's looking a bit pink and irritated.

Britt Stewart Sensitive SkinBritt Stewart Sensitive Skin

As dermatologist Dr Cara McDonald of Victoria’s Complete Skincare Specialists explains, “The term ‘sensitive skin’ describes a skin type that is intolerant to normal stimuli such as change in temperature and certain skincare products."

“In those affected, certain active ingredients and fragrances seem to cause neurogenic inflammation, where the nerve endings become excessively sensitive, causing significant discomfort."

In short, your skin could be sensitive after going too hard on really potent active ingredients, or it could be your skin’s default state naturally.

It’s also important to remember irritation can be caused by more than just the products you’re putting on your face, including things like sun exposure or even using water that’s too hot.

Want more skincare tips for sensitive skin? Check out our sensitive skin routine in this YouTube video below!

What Not to Use on Sensitive Skin.

The general rule is to be gentle. Treat your poor, sensitive skin kindly and with TLC.

That’s because if your skin is sensitive, it doesn’t have its usual self-healing powers as the outer protective layer is weak and impaired.

According to Dr McDonald, certain ingredients in skincare are prone to causing irritation no matter your skin type, so they can be especially problematic in sensitive skin.

“The main problem ingredients are fragrances, preservatives, some sunscreens and many botanical ingredients,” she says.  

“Those with sensitive skin also tend to have difficulty using actives and anti-aging ingredients such at retinols, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and Vitamin C, as they can’t tolerate what other people may experience as slight tingling or dryness.”

What is the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Dermallergo Serum?

Back to this very special serum for sensitive skin.

Small but mighty, the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Dermallergo Serum is designed to be a daily, soothing serum for sensitive skin.

(Side note, I’ve found La Roche-Posay’s sensitive skin range generally among the best so it’s no surprise this is amongst the best serums for sensitive skin.)

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Dermallergo SerumLa Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Dermallergo Serum

If you have ultra-sensitive or allergy-prone skin, you’re going to want to get this on your face, stat. Its main purpose is to reduce skin discomfort and help strengthen the skin barrier.

It also contains the brand’s highest concentration of Neurosensine™, a soothing and caring active ingredient. (If your mum was a serum, it would be this one.)

Neurosensine is a dipeptide found naturally in the skin. What’s a dipeptide? A peptide derived from two amino acids, its main function is to maintain the pH of your cells and act as antioxidants.

Containing 0 per cent preservatives, fragrance and alcohol, this serum promises to hydrate for up to 48 hours, and help to strengthen your skin barrier after just one hour.

Who Can Use the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Serum?

This serum is suitable for all skin types, but you’re going to get the most out of it if:

  • Your skin tends to be or is currently sensitive.

  • Your skin feels tight or dry.

  • Your skin is irritated.

  • You have unwanted redness.

My La Roche Posay Toleriane Serum Review.

Britt StewartBritt Stewart

I’ve been battling another round of dry, irritated #IsoSkin (sending love to my fellow Victorians), so this La Roche Posay Toleriane serum review and trial came at the perfect time.

My skin needed some calming, gentle, and strengthening base products and this proved to be a one-two punch. It hydrates and calms down any redness.

The serum has a distinct, slightly science-y smell that’s subtle but not unpleasant. The actual texture is a slightly cloudy-coloured light gel that rubs into the skin really nicely. It’s not sticky or greasy but has an ever so slightly tacky finish that melts away after a few seconds.

The application is important - it really does absorb into the skin fast so there’s no need for any vigorous rubbing. 

Now the weather is warming up (and I’m still in lockdown) I’ve been skipping primer and instead using the Ultra Violette Supreme Screen SPF 50+ Hydrating Facial Sunscreen

This serum sat nicely under it without pilling. It also made a soothing and hydrating base for makeup and played well with all the products I applied on top. See below!

Britt StewartBritt Stewart

Where Does the Toleriane Serum Fit in My Routine?

But where does this serum go in my current skincare routine, you ask?

The instructions say to apply morning and night on the face and neck. It’s even gentle enough for the under eye area. The best way to order your skincare regimen is to layer them according to their target in the skin.

“After cleansing, the first products to apply are those with active ingredients designed to be delivered to the dermis. These might include retinols, AHAs, niacinamide and Vitamin C,” says Dr McDonald.

Then it’s time for a calming, strengthening and hydrating product like the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Dermallergo Serum 20ml

“It will penetrate the epidermis, help to hold moisture, and strengthen the skin barrier. It will also make the products with the active ingredients easier to tolerate for those with sensitive skin."

Finally, follow that with dermatologist-recommended sun protection in the day, and a minimalist (non-irritating) barrier cream in the evening for those who need it.

And as an added bonus, you can pop your serum bottle in the fridge 30 minutes before use for an even cooler experience. Winner.