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Top Skin Care Products for Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin? We can help. Here are the types of skin care products you should be using

Soothe your sensitive skin with these skin care product picks

Quantity is out. The obsession with quality is in—for our durable and consumable goods. Now more than ever, we bond over seeking certain standards before throwing down a dollar. Over the past two decades, most of us have experienced the unpleasant sensation of money being tight, which explains why it is one of our top motivations for analyzing what products we are buying. Just as important, though, is our trademark obsession with health, fitness, and wellness. In its wake, this obsession has created a wealth of scientific research pertaining to these universally human aspects, helping guide our personal and consumer decisions.

Under the market umbrella of ‘personal hygiene, beauty, and bodily wellness,’ we arguably place the most value on the cleanliness and safety of products we are willing to use; this translates to many notable market changes and trends, including dietary modifications, only using beauty and hygiene products that are certified cruelty-free, and working towards cutting out as many artificial and toxic ingredients as possible in anything we might eat, drink, inhale, absorb through our skin, wash in our hair, and so on. In short, we're on the endless quest for the best skin care products we can find.

Along with any proven, negative health consequences of some of our potential choices, there are also the issues of allergies and irritations. All together, these reactions to certain chemicals and/or ingredients have left us asking lots of cautious questions before buying and using products.

It is clear that what we put onto our skin is just as important as what we put into our bodies. In the world of skin care products, while we are all aiming to avoid long-term health risks and any painful reactions, many of us are also working overtime to thwart the common causes of acne and the different types of acne—some of which are made worse by the very products we buy to cover up or cure them!

We all want that fresh, J-Lo glow, gorgeous skin, and we’ve proven as a society that we’re willing to hunt down the right products and pay the right price to get it. So, what does this mean for those of us with sensitive skin? Can we have a top-notch skin care routine, too?

Sensitive skin has been a growing concept since the 1970’s; today, over 50 percent of both men and women have or have dealt with their own sensitive skin issues—me included! Fortunately for science, but unfortunately for all of us, we have felt the stinging, burning, irritation, swelling, and watering of harsh product irritants. We have gotten rashes, sweats, fevers, and suffered from nausea. Allergies are not quite the same as irritations, but both can result in similar symptoms, making these unpleasant experiences with certain ingredients obvious, avoidable, and now often removed entirely from many brands’ products.

However, when it comes to creating a lush skin care routine for sensitive skin, the type of product we are choosing can often be more important than which brand we are devoted to. While it is essential to select skin care options that are hypoallergenic (and often fragrance-free and non-comedogenic [read: does not cause acne]), the key for those of us with sensitive skin is hydration! Sensitive skin often needs some extra love and time when it comes to moisture retention. While it can still feel very soft and smooth, sensitive skin is more porous and absorbent—both for good and bad. This increases the likelihood of experiencing an uncomfortable or painful reaction to those harsher chemicals if they rest into our skin.

Top skin care products for sensitive skin begin with sunscreen and moisturizer. Sensitive skin needs help building a barrier to block it from the elements and stay hydrated, and a zinc oxide-based sunscreen paired with a super moisturizer is the every day basic standard. Be careful with products marked “lotion,” which are usually thinner than moisturizers and can often be heavily scented and artificially colored.

Another skin care product that many skin care fanatics argue is essential to a great routine is toner. Unlike the painful, zit-stinging singe of my teenage years’ alcohol-based toners, 2019 toners are actually now formulated to hydrate (not only helping with other skin issues such as oiliness). If you’re willing and able to commit to a full skin care routine, you would use your hydrating toner just after cleansing your face, and just before applying your above-mentioned SPF and moisturizer.

You may want to finish this hydrating routine with serums, oils, or eye creams. It is important to note that all products are not made for the eye area, even if they are made for sensitive skin. The skin around your eyes (and other areas of your body, like your ears, the crook of your elbow, and the backs of your knees) is thinner and reacts differently to products than that of the rest of your face. Similarly, products are made separately for the skin on your body versus the skin on your face. A full skin care routine will include different products for your body, your face, and your eye skin.

Extra hydrating properties in officially hypoallergenic products are the top options for a skin care routine for sensitive skin. Looking for hydration can even extend to masks and make up removers, so be sure to check around before investing in your new, protective skin care products!

Resources — Frontiers, Dr. Bailey