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Review: Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer

Every now and then, on my way home from work my skin will become super red and blotchy. I don’t have rosacea, so for a long time I had no idea why my skin would flare up so much. I finally narrowed it down to temperature fluctuations and general tiredness and stress. At work, the air con is blasting all day (which I hate most of the time as I’m always cold) and when I leave work and go to the train station, it suddenly gets very hot (the train station is underground). Once I hop on the train it’s cold again (more air con) and then when I get off in Sydney’s West, it’s hot again. No wonder my skin just goes mental on me for a while (it literally looks like I’m sunburnt temporarily). I saw Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer and was intrigued because it’s a moisturiser created to soothe stressed skin. It’s the first Kiehl’s product I have tried, so I was eager to share my results with you 🙂


Now what stressed skin means is open to interpretation. It’s not quite scientific per se, but I was still curious. Here is what Kiehl’s says about it’s Stress-Minimizing Daily Hydrator:

Although everyone encounters stress, more than 50% of people actually experience its visible signs on skin. Because daily stress is unpredictable, skin can become vulnerable, resulting in hyper-sensitivity that shows visible fatigue and dehydration, or that triggers inflammation that can lead to redness and flare-ups.

Our chemists have formulated the first antidote for stress-prone skin, Skin Rescuer. Naturally-derived Rosa Gallica helps control skin’s visible response to stress by preventing inflammation, while Mannose, a unique sugar molecule, works to protect the skin barrier, making it less vulnerable to stress going forward. Soothing Chamomile Extract provides instant comfort and relief, ensuring skin is left cool and calm.

With daily use, this restorative, all-day hydrating formula actively works to make stressed skin less vulnerable, minimizing and protecting against the visible signs of stress on skin. “Stress-proof” skin is visibly well-balanced and hydrated with a clear, fresh and unified tone.

  1. Formulated specifically for skin that experiences the signs of stress, our unique, ground-breaking moisturizer minimizes and helps protect against the visible effects of daily stress.

  2. Helps control skin’s visible response to stress by preventing inflammation

  3. Protects the skin barrier to make skin less vulnerable to stress

  4. Provides instant comfort and relief to stress-prone skin

  5. Provides all-day hydration


The first thing this moisturiser is, is hydrating. The second ingredient in this formula after water is glycerin. Glycerin is maybe a ‘basic’ and common moisturiser but that does not mean it isn’t amazing, because it is! It is both a humectant, occlusive moisturiser AND an emollient. Emollients not only smooth the skin – but they also stop water evaporation from happening, so you skin retains moisture better. The third ingredient in the formula is squalene. Squalene occurs naturally in sebum (but it only makes up a small amount of sebum, 13% or something like that) and in other substances like olive oil, rice bran oil and shark liver. Shark liver may sound odd, but apparently a lot of cosmetic companies used shark derived squalene in the past (poor sharks!) luckily thats not the common thing to do anymore. Squalene also provides some anti-oxidant capability which is awesome – protecting your skin from unnecessary ageing. Because squalene is something our own bodies produce, it’s easily absorbed by the skin and doesn’t leave the skin greasy but is still moisturising. It also helps repair our lipid barrier, which if your remember from my Skin SOS post, if your lipid barrier has broken down, infections, bacteria and regular everyday irritants can more easily penetrate the skin and hyper-sensitivity can step in. Squalene is used in hospitals on babies skin if babies are unwell because it protects their skin and has some anti-fungal properties. I can now totally see why Kiehl’s would use squalene in a stress-minimising moisturiser! The moisturiser also contains emollient shea butter (which also has some anti-oxidant capabilities) and ceramides – specifically, ceramide 1 (EOS – strengthens skin cells), ceramide 2 (NS – reinforces the lipid barrier and skin ‘matrix’), ceramide 3 (NP – helps your skin hold moisture), ceramide 6 (AP – lightly exfoliates) and ceramide 9 (EOP). Ceramides are great because they are naturally found in the skin, in-between skin cells, holding cells together and make them strong. The ceramides in Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer is quite low (they are at the bottom of the ingredient list) but I’m still glad that they are added in there.

So what other goodies are in there? Rose Gallica extract and camomile reduce inflammation. Camomile also speeds up skin healing and  soothes the skin quite quickly for instant relief. Gotu Kola extract is also included, and contains vitamins A, B, C and D and a range of minerals like zinc, magnesium, calcium, silica and manganese. One of the other interesting additions is the sugar molecule, mannose. Mannose is said to re-enforce the lipid barrier and retains moisture (it works as a humectant). As mannose is a sugar chain, it is a glycan, and glycans have become quite famous in skin care over the last few years because they help cells communicate more effectively (YSL have a famous skincare line based on glycans – Forever Youth Liberator line). As we get older, glycans tend to work less effectively and bio-chemical changes deep within the skin turn sluggish. Charging up this process to work more effectively is quite amazing (but that’s also a topic for another day 😉 ) so I’m excited to see this ingredient in the list!

Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer isn’t marketed as being scent free, which is a shame on one part because sensitive skin can be very irritated by scents, but on the other hand some of the scent come from the rose Gallica extract which minimises inflammation. The formula also contains p-anisic acid which is a type of fragrance. I have a feeling this was added  in order to diffuse some of the natural scents from the other extracts/ingredients – because when you smell the moisturiser, it doesn’t have a distinct scent at all. It’s rather ‘medicinal like’? This makes sense if you take into consideration Kiehl’s past (creating medicinal like skin care products in a pharmacy for customers) It isn’t strong nor is it noticeable really.

So what are my own personal thoughts about this moisturiser? Firstly, it comes in a pump which is great! It means the moisturiser formula stays more stable and the ingredients more potent, thanks to the air-tight container. You also get 75ml of product over your standard 50ml facial moisturiser, for $50. The cream itself is quite light, ‘almost’ like a light lotion. It does however, have some tackiness/stickiness to it. The moisturiser blends and sinks into the skin easily, but some of this tackiness remains on the skin surface. For this reason, I can’t see myself using this moisturiser in the morning, under makeup even though it is marketed as a day and night moisturiser. For night time use it is fine and I wake up with happy and comfortable skin.

In regards to the moisturiser being ‘stress-minimizing’, I would say that I am happy with this claim. When applied to my poor red and inflammed skin, I don’t experience any stinging or unpleasant sensation. It isn’t ‘cooling’ but it helps my skin feel comfortable. Could a regular moisturiser do the same? Maybe, but I like the highly moisturising formula and that many of the ingredients that have been added are anti-inflammatory (which I need!) and lipid re-enforcing (also important for soothing skin and keeping sensitivity at bay). I would also add that while my redness doesn’t subside instantly after application, it does reduce more quickly with the help of this guy. I use this moisturiser as a ‘treatment’ moisturiser and it works for me. I think you get a well formulated product for a reasonable price. being the first Kiehl’s product I have ever tried I’m quite impressed 🙂 You can find Kiehl’s in department stores (like Myer), free standing shops (there’s one in the QVB in Sydney) and online here if you live in Aus.

Have you ever tried a Kiehl’s product before beauties? What are your thoughts on the brand and products?

Until next time!

Beauty Bee~

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#camomileextract #glycerin #KiehlsSkinRescuer #stressedskin #rosegallicaextract #SheaButter #squalene #stressminimizing #Kiehls #gotukolaextract #ceramides

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