Have sensitive skin? Then avoid the following skincare ingredients

Sensitive Skin

For those with sensitive skin, navigating the realm of skincare can often feel like tiptoeing through a minefield. Many popular skincare ingredients, while effective for some, can trigger problems for those with sensitive skin. 

Today, we’ll be highlighting ingredients that you might want to avoid if you have sensitive skin, and suggesting some safer alternatives for you.


Alcohol is often added to skincare products for its quick-drying and astringent properties. However, this ingredient can lead to dryness and irritation, potentially damaging the skin’s natural barrier. 

If you have sensitive skin, it’s wise to opt for alcohol-free toners and moisturisers. Look for formulations containing witch hazel or chamomile instead, as these are known for their soothing properties.

Harsh Exfoliants

Exfoliating agents like walnut shell powder and high concentrations of glycolic acid can be harsh on sensitive skin, causing microtears and a disrupted skin barrier. As an alternative, pick gentle exfoliants like lactic acid or fruit enzymes such as papaya and pineapple, which offer milder exfoliation and are generally well-tolerated by sensitive skin types.

Strong Retinoids

Retinoids are lauded for their anti-ageing and acne-fighting benefits but can cause redness, peeling, and irritation in higher concentrations. If you have sensitive skin and still want to explore the benefits of retinoids, consider starting with a lower concentration of retinol or even rosehip oil, which contains natural Vitamin A compounds, to ease your skin into the treatment.


Ingredients like sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulphate (SLES) are found in many cleansers and shampoos because they effectively remove dirt and oil. However, these sulphates also strip the skin of its natural oils and disrupt its barrier. As an alternative, look for cleansers that contain gentle surfactants like cocamidopropyl betaine or decyl glucoside.

Citrus Extracts

While citrus extracts like lemon and lime may seem like natural and safe choices for brightening the skin, they can irritate your skin and make it more sensitive to the sun. A safer option might be to look for products containing vitamin C derivatives like sodium ascorbyl phosphate, which offers brightening benefits without the irritation commonly associated with citrus extracts.

Synthetic Dyes

Synthetic dyes can make skincare products visually appealing but serve no purpose beyond aesthetics. These can be irritating to sensitive skin. For a safer choice, opt for products that use natural colourants like beetroot extract or are simply free from dyes altogether.


Fragrance can consist of a wide range of synthetic or natural compounds that give scent to a product, many of which can irritate sensitive skin. If you prefer your skincare to have a pleasant scent, look for products that use natural fragrances from essential oils like lavender or rose, known for their skin-soothing properties. Better yet, opt for fragrance-free or unscented products.


Parabens are preservatives that can cause skin irritation in some individuals. Parabens have been associated with allergic contact dermatitis, a condition where the skin becomes red, itchy, and inflamed upon contact with an allergen. While not everyone will react to parabens, those with sensitive skin may be more prone to such reactions.

You should look for products labelled “paraben-free.”

Choosing Skincare Products for Sensitive Skin

Selecting skincare products when you have sensitive skin involves an added layer of caution. Look for labels that indicate the product is suitable for sensitive skin, is fragrance-free, or is hypoallergenic. 

Performing a patch test with any new product is a good practice; apply a small amount to an inconspicuous area and wait for 24 to 48 hours to see if any irritation occurs. 

Finally, it’s always advisable to consult a skincare professional for a routine that’s custom-tailored to your specific needs.

SkinLab skincare for sensitive skin

Intense Hydrating H.A. Serum

Support your daily routine with our specially-formulated skin care products. Not sure which to pick? Try our Intense Hydrating H.A. Serum and Total Illumination Cream with MITOCEL to start. Our experienced, well-trained professionals will help you find the best products to keep your skin healthy and vibrant. We want you to have peace of mind through all your treatments.

At SkinLab, Singapore’s largest medical spa chain, our highly trained therapists endeavour to give you the best care and treatment, so you walk out of the door equipped with the products and tools to help you look good and feel great.

Contact us now.

Book An Appointment For SkinLab

Don’t Have Time On Your Hands? Try Our Products Today!