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Sensitive skin at best is a nuisance and at worst, it’s downright painful but if you know what ingredients work with your sensitive skin then you can enjoy clear, healthy and calm skin. While every person’s skin is different and what works for your best friend’s sensitive skin may not work for your sensitive skin, there are several well-known irritants that sensitive skin would do well to avoid and we’ve got them listed here.
Without a doubt the number one ingredient that skin care experts recommend you stay away from if you have sensitive skin is alcohol. Alcohol is pervasive in skin care products from cleansers and toners to creams and lotions, so it can seem a bit overwhelming to think about removing this ingredient from all your skin care products, but your skin will definitely appreciate your effort. Alcohol is used frequently because it gives a quick dry finish, but in doing so, it also strips moisture for your skin resulting in irritation and inflammation. Stick to using products that are free from alcohol, which treat your skin more gently.
The cardinal rule of skin care is to wear your sunscreen every single day, no matter what the weather looks like outside, to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays. However, if you have sensitive skin you may be tempted to skip the sunscreen because it may irritate or inflame your skin. Not all sunscreens are created equal where sensitive skin is concerned and chemical sunscreens contain ingredients such as oxybenzone that can be too harsh on sensitive skin. Because it is still essential to protect your skin from the sun (because UV damage can further irritate sensitive skin), you may want to turn to mineral-based sunscreens that contain the active ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide since there are usually well tolerated by sensitive skin.
Fragrance is another ingredient that skin care experts often cite as one that you should completely avoid if you experience sensitive skin. “Fragrance is a known irritant, and as an ingredient, it doesn’t add any benefit to skin care products,” says Dr. Doris Day, M.D., clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. Fragrance can be a sneaky ingredient, “unscented” products can still contain a fragrance to mask any unpleasant odor from natural ingredients. Look for products that are completely fragrance-free to keep your sensitive skin calm.
Exfoliation, like sunscreen, is a necessary part of healthy skin care, but when you have sensitive skin, exfoliation is a tricky matter. Avoid abrasive scrubs that will cause damage, inflammation, redness and severe irritation. Different scrubs use different means of exfoliation but a few common ingredients to avoid include apricot kernels, pumice, walnut shells and aluminum oxide crystals. Salicylic acid in low concentrations can be a great way to exfoliate sensitive skin, especially if you have sensitive and acne-prone skin.
Dealing with sensitive skin does not have to be a constant struggle; when you find the right products you will be able to enjoy healthy, radiant skin. It may take a while to discover what ingredients and products work best for your sensitive skin, but you can begin your search by first knowing which ingredients you should definitely avoid. Avoid the above ingredients and be on your way to calmer, clearer skin.