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If you have sensitive skin, you know it can be a challenge to find skincare products that won’t cause you unending torment and irritation. Many products can be just fine for your friends, but the moment they touch your epidermis, all hell breaks loose, and your skin is transformed into a nightmare of redness, itchiness, dryness, and maybe even noticeable inflammation.
The good news? If you can read ingredient lists and remember a few names (or write them down and take a note with you when you go shopping), you can rest assured that even if you have sensitive skin, irritation doesn’t need to be a regular part of your everyday life. On that note, keep reading for a few
Ingredients to Avoid
The ingredients on this list are either known not to play nice with allergies (which can often be a part of skin sensitivity) or are just generally irritating. Do yourself a favor and—if you ever find one of these ingredients on a skincare label, don’t put it in your cart. Your skin will thank you later.
- Alcohol: Alcohol is an astringent, and while astringents have a few uses in medicine and sometimes skincare, they’re incredibly drying and don’t have any place in regularly used products if you have sensitive skin.
- Fragrances: Not actually a single ingredient, but various compounds will be listed as just “fragrance” on the packaging. Some of them might be okay, but enough of them aren’t that it’s safer to stay away.
- Sulfates: Not a ton is known about this one, but they do cause irritation at the very least. Stay far away.
- Wrong Chemical Sunscreens: Protecting your skin from the sun is very, very important for avoiding damage and irritation, but you need to make sure you’re not using a compound which, itself, causes irritation. If sunscreens are bothering your skin, a switch to a physical sunblock with zinc oxide and/or aluminum dioxide could help.
- Rough Physical Exfoliants: Getting an exfoliating scrub with little granules or beads in it can be a bad idea if you have sensitive skin, especially if they’re irregularly shaped. Either go with a chemical exfoliant like glycolic acid or opt for smooth, round beads in your scrub.
Ingredients to Look For
It turns out there are a few ingredients that are actually well known to soothe and keep sensitive-skin in check. The following are a few ingredients that you can be happy about finding on the label of that product you were thinking about trying.
- Tea Extracts: Green tea extract and white tea extract can help soothe irritation and boost circulation, have an anti-inflammatory effect, and are full of antioxidants.
- Sunflower Oil: With a high vitamin-E content, sunflower oil helps repair the natural lipid barrier to keep your skin soft and smooth.
- Vitamin E: To the same end as number 2, added vitamin E in any cream or moisturizer is good for retaining moisture.
- Chamomile Extract: Chamomile tea is good for soothing stomach-aches, relaxing the nerves, and, interestingly enough, easing skin irritations.