The Skincare Ingredients You Should Look For If You Have Sensitive Skin

Finding skincare products that won’t irritate your sensitive skin can be one of the biggest challenges, that is apart from figuring out what order you should perform your skincare in. It can sometimes even feel like when others are jumping on all of the latest skincare trends, you’re left in the dust just trying to find anything that won’t break you out or leave your skin red and blotchy. But don’t fret, you’re not alone. In fact, as it turns out, sensitive skin is relatively common, with roughly 60% to 70% of women and 50% to 60% of men reportedly having some degree of skin sensitivity, per the National Center for Biotechnology Information. 

While navigating this skin issue can be a challenge, it is certainly not impossible. If you follow a strict list of ingredients to implement into your skincare routine — and which ingredients to definitely avoid — you’ll find yourself with happy, healthy skin.

Use different products in the morning than at night if you have sensitive skin

Having sensitive skin simply means that the skin is more prone to irritation and inflammation due to exposure to certain chemicals, dyes, and fragrances. Sensitive skin can also lead to impaired skin barrier function, leaving your skin more susceptible to the elements and irritants. According to Byrdie, some of the best ingredients to look for in your skincare include hyaluronic acid, ceramides, CoQ10, lactic acid, green tea extract, centella asiatica, niacinamide, and caffeine. Antioxidant-rich products should be used in the morning in order to protect the skin from irritants throughout the day, per Megan Felton and Ksenia Selivanova, co-founders of skincare consultancy Lion/ne. They added, “Sensitivity often goes hand in hand with dehydration, since the skin will be losing moisture” (via Byrdie).

As for what to use in the evening, Felton and Selivanova recommended exfoliating in order to “aid in the desquamation [or skin peeling] cycle of the skin.” They added, “This could be with a gentle microfiber cloth if the skin is too sensitive to take any chemical exfoliants, but PHAs are a good option here too.”

Here's what you should try to avoid if you have sensitive skin

Those with sensitive skin will want to look for products that have the fewest chemicals possible, which ultimately leads to more natural skincare products. Using natural products reduces the chances of your sensitive skin coming in contact with hormone-unbalancing substances, as well as alcohols that will dry out or irritate the skin. Therefore, for the most natural and sensitive ingredients, Green People highlighted aloe vera, calendula extract, chamomile extract, marshmallow extract, shea butter, squalane, and beeswax products as the most beneficial.

According to Glamour, it’s just as important to identify which products you should avoid if you have sensitive skin. Ingredients you should try to look out for and ultimately avoid include retinol, salicylic acid, coconut oil, benzoyl peroxide, vitamin E, and hydroquinone.

But in the end, addressing the needs of your sensitive skin truly comes down to the quality of care you give it. Wearing sunscreen, drinking water, taking showers with cool water, moisturizing, and avoiding stress will show you the best results in the end, leading to overall stronger skin (per Healthgrades).

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