Five Skincare Ingredients to Avoid if You Have Sensitive Skin

Of all the questions our patients ask us every day, how to care for sensitive skin is at the top of the list. We hear stories all the time from patients who tried a “life-changing” product their friend recommended, only to be left with an inflamed, flakey face.

We highly recommend making an appointment with your dermatologist if you’re seeking personalized skincare advice or are concerned about a specific skin reaction. However, there are some skincare ingredients that tend to aggravate sensitive skin, especially when they’re applied incorrectly. If you’ve been experiencing flare-ups and think your skincare products are the culprit, try eliminating these ingredients from your routine.

Many skincare products contain fragrances to mask the less-pleasant scents from some ingredients. While the FDA requires that all ingredients used in a skincare product be disclosed on a label, fragrance only needs to be listed as “fragrance” and not as the ingredients within the scent. Since fragrances are usually mixtures of both natural and chemical ingredients, if a product is heavily scented, it could contain harsh, undisclosed chemicals that irritate sensitive skin.

Harsh Exfoliants
While you shouldn’t avoid exfoliating completely – it’s essential for sweeping away dead skin cells- using harsh exfoliators or exfoliating too often can immediately aggravate sensitive skin. Because both physical exfoliators (like scrubs) and chemical exfoliators (like acids) can penetrate, and in some cases, remove, the outermost layer of skin, opt for gentler exfoliators like lactic acid which aren’t as permeable.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfates
Sodium lauryl sulfates are surfactants, the chemicals that give soaps a lather, and they can be tough on sensitive skin. If your skin is usually red and itchy after washing, check your cleanser to see if these compounds are on the ingredients list.

Chemical Sunscreens
There are two main types of sunscreen: physical and chemical. While physical sunscreens physically block UV rays from touching your skin, chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays and reflect them back as light. While both types of sunscreen are fine to use on non-sensitive skin, people with sensitive skin may be irritated by chemical sunscreens.

Don’t worry – we’re not talking about your evening glass of red. Many toners and creams are made with alcohol, which delivers a quick-dry finish. But these products will also suck the moisture out of your skin when they evaporate, causing irritation and itchiness.

At the Dermatology Center of Acadiana, our mission is to provide patients with expert dermatologic care in a comfortable and welcoming office environment. Experience the difference that our skilled and friendly staff makes to your skincare experience and dermatological services when you schedule an appointment at (337) 235-6886.