A Dermatologist Is Begging You Not To Break the 5 Skin-Care Rules for Sensitive Skin

Photo: Getty Images / Nick Dolding
For people with sensitive skin, figuring out which products won't cause irritation doesn't have to be a guessing game. Everyone is different, but there are a few fool-proof sensitive skin-care rules to follow to make the search easier, according to Joshua Zeichner, MD, a dermatologist in New York City.
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5 sensitive skin-care rules to follow, according to a dermatologist

1. Avoid fragrance

"Avoid all skin-care products that contain fragrances, you may like the that they smell but they often lead to irritation," says Dr. Zeichner. Fragrance, regardless of whether it's natural or synthetic, is one of the most common causes of irritant contact dermatitis.

Experts In This Article
  • Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology and associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital

2. Use a hydrating cleanser

When washing your face, "look for hydrating cleansers and avoid those that lather or exfoliate," he says. Consider a product like the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gentle Cleansing Lotion ($9). It's fragrance-free, has a milky texture that doesn't really bubble up, and is pumped with hyaluronic acid, leaving your skin clean and hydrated.

3. Use a soothing moisturizer

"Look for moisturizers that contain skin-soothing ingredients like colloidal oatmeal or ceramides," says Dr. Zeichner. Try the Aveeno Calm + Restore Oat Gel Facial Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin ($18). It's lightweight yet moisturizing.

4. Avoid strong active ingredients

The last thing you want to do is further sensitize sensitive skin. "Avoid potentially irritating actives like retinol, or hydroxy acids," says Dr. Zeichner. These ingredients are used to increase cell turnover and remove dead skin cells, respectively, and can lead to brighter, smoother skin. If you feel like you want products to do this but don't wanna risk any damage, visit a board-certified dermatologist and see what they recommend.

5. Use mineral sunscreens

Chemical sunscreens can be very irritating for those with sensitive skin, so Dr. Zeichner says to "look for mineral-based sunscreens that contain zinc oxide," an ingredient that rarely leads to sensitivity. Try the Supergoop! Mineral Sheerscreen SPF 30 ($38).

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