Here’s a very effective and affordable moisturiser for you, if you’re after something lightweight in texture yet deeply nourishing and simply formulated. Suitable for sensitive, itchy, dry skin (as well as skin with no particular complaints), Ihada Medicated Emulsion from Shiseido is one of my go-to moisturisers during the cold winter months.
I can’t think of many other moisturisers that are this fluid in texture yet this effective. It absorbs perfectly into the skin without greasy, sticky residue yet doesn’t leave any feeling of tightness. Delicate and flimsy to apply but with a surprising richness, it is an excellent all-rounder for those who want a moisturiser with added calming benefits. It features an anti-inflammatory blend of allantoin and dipotassium glycyrrhizate which relieves signs of dry, sensitive skin including rough patches and itchiness.
Specially formulated for sensitive skin, the entire Ihada (pronounced “ee-ha-da”) line features petrolatum. I don’t get the irrational fear of petrolatum that people seem to have. It has been used with great success in dermatology for centuries and is actually the gold standard for bringing water to the skin and keeping it there. It’s inert, making it one of the safest ingredients. In fact, petrolatum helps with barrier repair, wound healing, and keeping harmful things like bacteria and allergens out.
A commenter once suggested that Ihada could have used natural alternatives such as jojoba oil or squalane. Plant oils consist of many chemicals and contain impurities which make them risky for sensitive skin. The fact they are “natural” is inconsequential — from the skin’s point of view, topically applied botanicals are just as foreign as lab-made chemicals. Furthermore, these oils don’t exist in nature as such. They are extracted by various means and then heavily processed. You don’t just tap a tree and collect the oil in a little jug like you do maple syrup.
Ihada Medicated Emulsion acts like a shield over the skin to help replenish and prevent moisture loss, keeping it hydrated, plump, and happy. Tight skin feels instantly soothed and smoothed, skin that feels battered and rough will see (and feel) a definite improvement in quite a short amount of time. It’s sold in major drugstores across Japan. You can also find it on Amazon Japan, currently ¥1,436 instead of ¥1,600 (the RRP).