Most of us experience symptoms of sensitive skin on occasion, but how do you know if your skin truly is considered sensitive? According to the American Academy of Dermatology, "there are four distinct types of sensitive skin — acne, rosacea, burning and stinging, and contact dermatitis (allergies and irritants) — and they all have one characteristic in common: inflammation." If you frequently experience sensitive skin symptoms such as redness, blotchiness, irritation, rashes, breakouts, itchiness and stinging, be sure to visit your dermotologist first to rule out any medical condition (e.g., rosacea or eczema). If you get a clean bill of health, then it's likely that your skin is reacting to products or environmental allergens.
To soothe your skin, you want to avoid products that contain chemical preservatives and fragrances. It is also best to steer clear of ingredients like alcohol, retinoids, vitamin C, glycolic acid and alpha hydroxy acids. Look for natural skin care products that calm inflammation and redness and reduce irritation. The following recommended cleansers, moisturizers, serums and more are especially suited for sensitive skin and have earned high praise from the TIA community.
BRAD Biophotonic Sea Minerals Purify Healing Detoxifying Gel Cleanser ($45) contains BRAD's signature Biophotonic Organic Herbal Bio-Infusion, along with moisturizing oils, a multi amino acid blend and Sea Minerals Bio-Ferment Blend, a key BRAD ingredient. Designed for dry, blemished and sensitive skin, it treats discoloration, irritation, scarring, and redness. TIA Community Reviewer Denise reports "This cleanser caused no irritation whatsoever and somehow managed to leave my skin perfectly balanced and refreshed."
Innarah Treatment Cleanser Daily Cleanser ($65) uses Hydraheal water to get deep into pores while stimulating natural ceramide production for healthy, hydrated skin. It also boasts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits with coconut oil, snow algae extract and white tea extract. TIA Community Reviewer Maureen found that she "had fewer breakouts and less redness" while using this gentle cleanser.
Prana Reishi Mushroom Shield ($42 in the shop) is a lightweight day moisturizer with SPF 45 derived from organic plant stem cell mushrooms and micronized zinc. These ingredients are designed to block UVA/UVB rays while reducing redness and inflammation. TIA Community Reviewer Kiku says that "it feels instantly nourishing to the skin."
Osmotics Blue Copper 5 Firming Elasticity Repair ($58) is formulated with active copper and peptides to firm, hydrate, and smooth fine lines. This firming cream also evens out skin tone and calms redness and irritation. TIA Community Member Michele reports that "I have just finished my sample pot and the actinic keratosis on my face has completely gone."
Snowberry Cellular Regeneration Night Cream ($104) fights free radical damage, moisturizes and soothes skin with an antioxidant-packed formula that contains marine glycoproteins, ubiquinone, Wolfberry, pomegranate and tomato extract. TIA Member Erica finds that "Its lovely rich texture is comforting and moisturizing."
Trinite Organiques Trinity The Signature Serum ($45) is a multi-purpose serum that is rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids. Its essential oils rejuvenate and heal while soothing and cooling the skin. TIA Community Reviewer Hazel calls it "a triple threat combo — it has the nourishing and moisturizing properties of argan oil and the combined medicinal and calming benefits of frankincense and myrrh essential oils."
Arcona Gentle Solution ($50) is a potent nighttime treatment that repairs sun damage and resurfaces skin while you sleep. Its Glycolactolymer Complex stimulates rapid cell renewal and deep exfoliation while its antioxidant complex fights free radical damage. TIA Community Reviewer Sameera reports that "it yielded some incredible results: brighter skin, a noticeable decrease in discolorations and clogged pores, and an overall soft, smooth complexion."
La Vie Celeste Eclairage Restorative Serum provides the perfect balance of natural botanicals and cutting-edge ingredients to help to enhance the natural beauty of your skin by reducing the appearance of dark spots and wrinkles, providing superior hydration and minimizing the appearance of pores. According to Marta, the ingredient lilac leaf cell culture is "supposed to be a powerful anti-inflammatory and helpful in the treatment of acne and sebum related disorders."
Eslor Brightening Activator Serum ($110) restores skin's vitality for a firmer, brighter look. This serum optimizes protection against the harsh environment to help the skin preserve its youthfulness and minimize the appearance of fine lines and age spots. TIA Community Reviewer Jennie, whose sensitive combination skin has had trouble with products that irritated and caused breakouts, reports that she experienced "absolutely no issues with this product."
More Soothing Skin Care
La Vie Celeste Restorative Illuminating Toner ($35) has an aloe base and is free of alcohol, oil, fragrance and toxic chemicals. This soothing toner contains a blend of botanical extracts, antioxidants and natural skin brighteners and leaves skin feeling silky, supple and toned. TIA Community Member Brenda, who suffers with rosacea, says "This is the FIRST toner I have ever been able to use, in my entire 49 years!"
Snowberry Soothing Facial Massage Oil ($32) is a rich and easily absorbed blend of precious plant oils and anti-aging plant extracts that help to reduce inflammation and irritation. TIA Community Reviewer Kim says "My skin is ultrasensitive — especially during my pregnancy — and it didn't irritate or cause redness at all."
Eslor Comforting Mask ($38) helps eliminate impurities that dull the complexion for a deep skin cleanse with natural marine extracts to soften, tone, and detoxify skin. TIA Community Reviewer Denise says that she "would recommend it for anyone with difficult, irritable skin that has a tendency to flare up now and again."
Note: This article was last updated on March 5, 2015.