6 ingredients to avoid if you have sensitive skin

If you frequently suffer from a red, itchy, burning face you may have sensitive skin. Sensitive skin tends to react to environmental and topical triggers that are found everywhere you turn, including everything from sunlight to your nightly moisturizing cream. Limiting these triggers as much as you can will help calm your skin down. An easy place to start is by analyzing your beauty products for known irritants.

It can seem like a difficult task to stock a beauty cabinet for someone with sensitive skin, especially since the ingredients to avoid are often the most common ingredients found in today’s products. But by avoiding the six add-ins listed here you could be on your way to far more comfortable skin.

1. Alcohol

Products often contain alcohol, which can dry out the skin and cause irritation. Alcohol can also negatively affect how skin rejuvenates itself, meaning that healing time can be delayed. To avoid causing damage that lasts a long time, look for products that do not contain alcohol. Be especially careful choosing toners, as these products often have an alcohol base.

2. Fragrance

Fragrance is used in many products, often to mask the less pleasant odors of pharmaceutical ingredients. While it seems like the active ingredients are the only suspect when your skin acts up, fragrances are often the cause of irritation for sensitive skin. Always look for products labeled as fragrance-free, and that do not contain fragrances in their ingredient list.

3. Chemical Sunscreens

Chemical sunscreens use a variety of different chemicals to block UV light and protect the skin. However, that chemical cocktail can aggravate sensitive skin and cause discomfort and rash. However, guarding the skin against sun damage should be a top priority for everyone, not only because it causes lines and wrinkles but because sun exposure leads to diseases like skin cancer. How can you protect your skin without causing a reaction?

Instead of chemical sunscreens, choose products that employ mineral sunscreens. Most mineral sunscreens use either titanium dioxide or zinc dioxide to physically block the UV rays that damage the skin. These mineral sunscreens are far less irritating and are far less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

4. Sulfates

Sulfates, like ammonium lauryl sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate, can be very drying and aggravating to sensitive skin. While not everyone reacts negatively to sulfates, enough people do that the ingredient should be on every sensitive skin owner’s radar. Plenty of great options for skincare exist that do not include sulfates, so to be safe choose a brand that excludes this known irritant.

5. Vitamin A and Retinols

Vitamin A and retinols have become a gold standard for treating many skin maladies, from wrinkles to acne. While Vitamin A and retinols certainly produce impressive results, they often also produce red skin, flaking, photosensitivity and dryness. They are generally not tolerated well by either sensitive skin or the allergy-prone.

If you would still like to achieve the results that you can get with Vitamin A or retinol, try a hydrating moisturiser that includes a retinyl palmitate instead. This is a less potent form of the ingredient that may take longer to see results but is also less likely to cause problems for your skin.

6. Benzoyl Peroxide

If your skin is prone to irritation and inflammation avoid benzoyl peroxide, a common ingredient in acne formulations. While this ingredient works to dry out pimples, it also strips all of your skin of moisture. The result for sensitive skin is redness and rash, often itchy and uncomfortable. If you would like products that help combat acne choose labels that concentrate on gentler ingredients like botanical extracts and lactic acid.

You don’t have to choose between good skincare and happy skin. By avoiding these six common ingredients that are known to irritate sensitive skin you are giving yourself a chance to enjoy the comfort that calm, well-cared-for skin can bring.

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