Our Best Moisturizers for Sensitive Skin
If you have sensitive skin, chances are you already know it and have been dealing with it for your whole life. Sensitive skin reacts easily to ingredients, so you may have spent much of your beauty and skin care time worrying about skin redness or skin irritation — and avoiding the spicy foods that can sometimes cause sensitive skin flare-ups.
The silver lining of having sensitive skin is that it forces you to pay extra attention to the way you treat your skin. For sensitive skin types, scouring skin care ingredient labels should become a way of life. A little bit of education about ingredients, potential skin irritants, and the best moisturizer for sensitive skin skin can go a long way in helping it stay healthy and calm. Here, learn how to evaluate if you have sensitive skin, discover how to take care of your skin type, and follow through with a complete customized skin care routine for sensitive skin.
How to Know If You Have Sensitive Skin
Since sensitive skin has very particular needs, it’s important to know for sure if sensitive skin is indeed your skin type before adopting a sensitive skin-focused skin care routine. “Sensitive skin feels dry and flaky but most often people complain about redness,” says Garnier consulting dermatologist Dr. Diane Madfes. “Sensitive skin occurs from a disruption on the skin barrier.” Because of that, certain ingredients may be able to get deeper into skin, causing an intense reaction.
Though it can appear as dry skin, sensitive skin is often accompanied by stinging or burning after you apply certain products — which is why a face moisturizer for dry, sensitive skin is essential. Combination skin and oily skin is less commonly sensitive. If most skin care products you apply cause skin redness — or you find your skin burning more often than not —you may have sensitive skin.
Aside from monitoring the signs in your everyday skin care routine, another way to test for sensitive skin is simply to brush your fingers with pressure along the skin. If the skin turns red, you may have sensitive skin. The good news? Sensitive skin is rarer than you might think. Many skin types tend to turn red in the winter, for example, or can be irritated by strong skin care ingredients like retinol. To be absolutely sure that your sensitive skin evaluation is accurate, follow up with a dermatologist who can analyze your skin type.
Once you’ve confirmed that you have sensitive skin, it’s important to incorporate the right skin care habits into your daily life. Just be sure not to overload on products — often sensitive skin only needs a once daily facial cleanse and a face moisturizer for sensitive skin to look its best. (Another silver lining for sensitive skin types.)
Skin Care Routine for Sensitive Skin
Sensitive skin requires a more nuanced level of attention and some TLC than other skin types. The best way to take care of sensitive skin is with a skin care routine customized to your sensitive skin and any specific skin concerns you may have — including the right cleanser and a good moisturizer for sensitive skin.
For starters, sensitive skin types may benefit from only cleansing skin once a day. A healthy moisture barrier should be a high priority for sensitive skin types, and the additional dryness brought on by cleaning your face twice daily may compromise that. If you do prefer to cleanse twice, opt for a no-rinse cleanser like Micellar Cleansing Water which lifts makeup, dirt and impurities from skin without the need to rinse. When you need to remove makeup, try an on-the-go makeup wipe like Garnier Clean+ Soothing Towelettes for Sensitive Skin, which is infused with calming plant extract and Vitamin E to moisturize skin while it cleanses.
Sensitive skin types may also want to try a gentle cleanser that’s formulated specifically for sensitive skin, aka without fragrance, oil, soap, parabens, sulfates, or alcohol. Try Garnier The Gentle Sulfate-Free Cleanser which is formulated with glycerin to keep skin soft yet clean. Use your fingers to gently massage the cleanser into skin, and then lightly pat your face dry with a wash cloth. (Don’t rub, as that can irritate.)
The best way to find a face cleansing regimen that works for you is by testing gentle skin care products and care plans — and sticking with the one that works best. Whatever you choose, make sure to avoid rubbing or scrubbing skin. For sensitive skin types, consistency can help keep skin looking and feeling healthy.
Sensitive skin types may also want to make exfoliation a once a week skin care step. It’s important to slough off dead skin cells from the surface of skin to help stimulate surface skin cell turnover and reveal its natural skin glow. But daily or semi-weekly exfoliation may be too abrasive for sensitive skin types. Try to avoid any harsh rubbing, which can bring out skin redness or skin irritation. Sensitive skin types may also want to skip powerful exfoliating tools like cleansing brushes or abrasive face scrubs in favor of a gentler face exfoliation approach.
After cleansing and exfoliating, follow up with a face moisturizer for dry, sensitive skin. Look for a good moisturizer with SPF to help protect skin against sun damage, dark spots, and aging in addition to nourishing your skin. You might need to test out a few sensitive skin moisturizers before finding the best moisturizer for your sensitive skin.
How to Choose the Best Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin
A cream-based face moisturizer for sensitive skin can help reduce or even prevent inflammation in the skin. It should also be free of powerful actives, as they can penetrate more deeply into damp skin, working a little too well and ultimately causing irritation. Unlike the popular skin care hack you may have heard of in the past — that is, to apply a good moisturizer to damp skin — sensitive skin types should make sure skin is completely dry before applying any skin care products.
The best moisturizer for sensitive skin is also free of certain ingredients, such as lactic, glycolic, and salicylic acids. These brighten and smooth by removing the top layer of skin — but if yours is sensitive, you’re losing a protective barrier. Also, pay attention to products that contain simple alcohols like isopropyl or ethanol. These ingredients show up in skin care to help a product dry quickly on your skin, bt they have no place in a face moisturizer for dry, sensitive skin. If anything, they can weaken your skin’s moisturizer barrier. The same goes for certain soaps, which may be too harsh on sensitive skin and strip away healthy natural oils on your face.
One way to choose if an ingredient is right for you is with the patch test. Take the product you’d like to use on your face and swipe it onto a dime-sized section on the underside of your arm. Check the area in 24 hours. If no irritation has occurred, it’s more likely that the product will also be safe to use on your face.
Once you know which ingredients can trigger irritations or reactions in your skin, keep a running list of what to avoid when choosing a sensitive skin moisturizer, since sensitive skin varies from person to person. When shopping, read ingredient labels to be sure you’re buying a product that will truly help your skin. Again, consistency is key for sensitive skin. Once you find a face moisturizer for sensitive skin that you love, look for other options in the same range.
Moisturizer is a key ingredient in any skin care routine, and especially crucial for sensitive skin types who often use fewer products.
Our Best Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin
Moisturizer is a key ingredient in any skin care routine, and especially crucial for sensitive skin types who often use fewer products. A good moisturizer protects sensitive skin and can make it feel soft and smooth. Since sensitive skin types are often concerned about avoiding skin irritation, you may want to choose a moisturizer that’s as simple as possible. The best moisturizer for sensitive skin will be free of potential irritants and allergens, such as fragrances, and contain soothing ingredients like chamomile and aloe. Look for fragrance-free products, since fragrance and artificially colored products may act as irritants on your skin.
Whether you already know that fragrance or alcohol are irritating to you or just want to ward off any potential issues, one solution is to choose a fragrance-free sensitive skin moisturizer. We like Garnier Moisture Rescue Actively Hydrating Daily Lotion Fragrance Free SPF 15, which is also formulated with the broad spectrum sun protection you should be applying as part of your skin care routine on a daily basis. The non-comedogenic moisturizer formula means it’s created to avoid clogging pores, while glycerin helps hydrate skin.
Apply face moisturizer for sensitive skin twice a day: First after cleansing your face in the morning and secondly at night before bed. When applying it around the eyes, use a light touch as to avoid traumatizing the delicate skin here. You may want a separate eye cream — we like Garnier Miracle Anti-Fatigue Eye Gel Cream, , which contains moisturizing hyaluronic acid and energizing caffeine to help improve the appearance of under eyes.
With a gentle facial cleanser, the right face moisturizer for sensitive skin, and a lifestyle that keeps your skin type in mind, sensitive skin is easily manageable. Even better, paying attention to what you put on your skin will make you more educated about not just skin care and beauty products, but about your own health and needs