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If you have hypersensitive skin that seems to react to every product you apply, you’re not alone! Sensitive skin is one of the most common skin complaints. Research has shown that half of all women consider their skin to be sensitive. But dermatologists say that many women don’t have a true skin condition – it’s often the skincare products they’re using that are causing the irritation. Only about one in ten women has sensitivity that’s caused by a chronic condition like eczema or rosacea.
This is actually great news, since you may be able to fix your irritation, redness, and other skin problems by switching to gentler skincare products that are free of irritants. Some of the ingredients that are commonly found in skincare, such as fragrances, essential oils, and parabens are known to aggravate sensitive skin types. I used to have frequent allergic reactions to skincare until I started avoiding products with harsh ingredients. If you want to break the cycle of skin sensitization and finally get the clear, glowing complexion you’ve always desired, read on for our list of some of the best skincare products for ultra-sensitive skin below.
Experts say people with sensitive skin should avoid foaming face washes that have harsh cleansing agents like sodium lauryl sulfate because they’ll leave your face feeling dry and inflamed. The cleansing milks and balms below have much gentler ingredients that will remove your makeup without stripping your skin.
Bioderma micellar water is by far one of the best skincare products for ultra-sensitive skin. It looks like plain water but actually has tiny balls of cleansing oil suspended in it. It cuts through heavy makeup like it’s nothing, all while hydrating the skin and soothing irritation. You don’t even have to rinse it off, so it’s a great product to keep on your nightstand for those late nights when you can’t be bothered to wash your face.
This balm from Omorovicza not only cleanses the skin and removes makeup but also provides intense hydration. It has a thick, rich texture that melts into your skin as you rub it in. It also breaks down makeup easily while leaving your face feeling soft and supple. While it’s a bit of a splurge item, I personally think it’s worth it because it’s definitely helped my skin.
Want a cleanser that’s a little more hydrating than micellar water but not as thick and rich as a cleansing balm? Enter Caudalie Gentle Cleansing Milk. It’s a great soothing cleanser for people with combination or oily skin. It has oat extract to help clear your pores and improve skin texture plus some sweet almond and grapeseed oils to hydrate your face and combat redness.
Toners may seem like an unnecessary step in your skincare routine, but they’re actually a pretty critical part of it. Lots of things your skin comes into contact with daily, such as makeup and pollution, can upset its pH balance. Toners help restore a healthy pH and make it easier for your skin to absorb the other products in your routine like serum and moisturizer.
However, if you slather on a toner that’s full of stripping astringents like alcohol and witch hazel, it can actually do more harm than good. The hydrating toners below don’t have any drying ingredients, so they’ll balance and calm your skin instead of making it feel inflamed.
It’s usually best for people with sensitive skin to avoid skincare products with dozens of active ingredients. In my experience, it’s difficult to figure out what you’re allergic to when all of your products have huge ingredient lists. I’ve also noticed that I’m less likely to have reactions to products with simple formulations like this grape water toner from Caudalie.
It has just three ingredients – grape juice, grape water, and nitrogen. It’s made from organic Bordeaux grapes that have hydrating and soothing properties, so it’s great for calming redness, rosacea, and irritation. You can use it as a toner or a makeup setting spray, so it’s multi-purpose. And best of all, it’s really affordable.
Korean skincare for sensitive skin has come a long way. Korean brands used to pack their products with irritating fragrances and essential oils, making it impossible for women with skin conditions to use them. But recently companies like Klairs have started creating fragrance-free products so that we can all partake in Korean beauty.
This unscented toner is free of both alcohol and essential oils, so it won’t dry out or irritate finicky skin. It has soothing plant extracts like aloe and licorice root to calm redness along with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid to plump up your skin and leave it glowing.
This Gentle Toning Lotion from Avène is another one of the best skincare products for ultra-sensitive skin. It contains eight skin-loving ingredients like thermal spring water that will leave your face feeling calm, balanced, and ready for serum.
Finding a serum that works for you when you have hypersensitive skin can be tough. Serums are designed to address skin concerns like hyperpigmentation and dryness, so they usually have high concentrations of active ingredients. This makes the products much more effective but can also make them too potent for people with temperamental skin.
However, experts don’t recommend that you cut serums out of your routine completely. As they penetrate the skin more deeply than moisturizers, they’re worth adding to your skincare rotation. Just make sure you patch test new serums on your arms before applying them to your face. Also, try to stick to products with minimal ingredients like the ones below.
Josie Maran makes some of the best skincare for sensitive skin because her products are simple yet effective. Her Pure Argan Milk serum contains under ten ingredients and is mainly made up of organic argan oil microdroplets and purified water.
Because this product uses microdroplets rather than straight up argan oil, it sinks into the skin well and doesn’t leave behind a greasy residue. So if you have oily or combination skin, you’ll still be able to use it without clogging up your pores.
Another one of my favorite serums is from Caudalie’s Vinosource line. It contains grape water, which has lots of antioxidants like Vitamin C that will protect your skin from free radicals, reduce inflammation, and lighten dark spots. It also has hyaluronic acid and squalane to hydrate and plump your skin. And just like Josie Maran’s serum, it has a lightweight texture that won’t clog your pores, so it’s suitable for people with oily, acne-prone skin.
SW Basics offers some of the best skincare products for ultra-sensitive skin because they usually contain five ingredients or less. This nourishing serum only has four components – avocado, geranium, turmeric, and coffee oil. All of these oils have tons of antioxidants, so they’ll help soothe irritation, reduce the appearance of acne scars, and brighten up dull skin. Geranium oil is also antibacterial and regulates sebum production, so this serum will keep breakouts at bay.
When choosing moisturizers and other skincare for sensitive skin, you should try to avoid harmful ingredients like parabens, sulfates, dyes, and fragrances. The products below are free of common irritants and chock full of soothing ingredients, such as shea butter and oatmeal, that will leave your skin feeling hydrated and refreshed.
High-end skincare brands often put sensitizing ingredients like perfumes and essential oils in their products to make them feel more luxurious. This prevents people with temperamental skin from being able to use them and treat themselves to high-end skincare.
That’s why we were so happy to see that Chanel has a simple yet luxe moisturizer that’s designed specifically for ultra-sensitive skin. It has just ten ingredients, including a rare white tea called silver needle tea that contains high levels of polyphenols. Polyphenols can help protect your face from sun damage, which people with sensitive skin are particularly prone to. Silver needle tea has also been shown to decrease levels of a nerve growth factor that causes skin sensitivity.
The only downside is that this moisturizer is a bit pricey. But if you have some extra cash to spare and want to treat yourself, it’s a great option.
La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane Moisturizers is one of the best skincare products for ultra-sensitive skin because it contains neurosensine, a compound that helps reduce discomfort and repair your skin’s protective barrier. It’s also free of some common irritating ingredients, such as parabens, fragrance, and alcohol, and has shea butter to smooth and hydrate your skin.
First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Cream is full of hydrating ingredients, so it’s great for people with dry, flaky skin. It has licorice and allantoin, which help soothe red, itchy skin. The ingredient list also features colloidal oatmeal, which is FDA-approved to treat itching caused by eczema. Shea butter and ceramide round out this nourishing skin cream – they moisturize the skin and help protect and repair its barrier.
If you don’t have the money to replace all of your skincare products, don’t worry! Experts say that people with sensitive skin can actually benefit from following a pared down skincare routine that consists of just a cleanser and moisturizer. So start by purchasing a few high-quality skincare basics to put yourself on the road to better skin and then fill out the rest of your routine later. As with anything else, great skincare starts with one step at a time!
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