How to choose skincare products for sensitive skin

Skincare tips for sensitive skin

Caring for sensitive skin can be challenging. Choosing the wrong products can lead to irritation, redness, and discomfort. The good news is that a healthy, glowing complexion is possible with the right products. In this article, we share tips on optimising your skincare regimen work for your sensitive skin.

Why is it Important to Choose the Right Products?

Sensitive skin requires special care. Unlike normal skin, sensitive skin can react adversely to certain ingredients, formulations and environments. Using the wrong products can exacerbate problems, leading to breakouts, inflammation, and long-term damage. As a general rule of thumb, it’s important to select products that soothe and protect the skin barrier.

Factors to Consider

When selecting skincare products for sensitive skin, there are several key factors to keep in mind. These include ingredients, formulation, and your skin type.


Choosing skincare products for sensitive skin requires paying special attention to the ingredients used in those products. Look for products that contain gentle, soothing components such as aloe vera, chamomile, and calendula. These ingredients have anti-inflammatory and calming properties that can help reduce redness and irritation.

Avoid harsh chemicals like alcohol, fragrance, and sulphates, which can strip the skin of its natural oils and cause further irritation. Consider also steering clear of products with artificial colours and preservatives, as these can also trigger allergic reactions. Look for products labelled “hypoallergenic” or “for sensitive skin” for an extra layer of reassurance.


The formulation of skincare products is another vital consideration. Sensitive skin often benefits from products that are lightweight and non-comedogenic, meaning they won’t clog pores. Gel-based and water-based formulations are also generally well-tolerated by sensitive skin because they are less likely to cause irritation or breakouts.

Creams and lotions should be free of heavy oils and waxes that can suffocate the skin. Look for formulations that are designed to hydrate and protect the skin barrier without feeling greasy or heavy. Additionally, products with a short ingredient list are usually better for sensitive skin, as they reduce the chance of adverse reactions.

Skin Type

Your specific skin type within the sensitive skin spectrum is important, so identify it early. Sensitive skin can vary from dry to oily to combination, which means you should choose products tailored to those needs. For example, if you have dry sensitive skin, you may require richer, more hydrating products. On the other hand, oily sensitive skin might benefit from lighter, oil-free formulations.

Knowing your skin type also helps in addressing any specific concerns you might have, such as rosacea, eczema, or acne-prone skin. Tailoring your skincare routine to your unique skin type ensures that you provide the best care for it and avoid unnecessary irritation.

Type of Product

Each type of product plays a distinct role in your skincare routine, and selecting the right ones can make a significant difference in maintaining a healthy complexion.


For sensitive skin, it’s crucial to choose a gentle, non-foaming cleanser to form the foundation of your skincare routine. This cleanser must effectively remove dirt, oil, and makeup without stripping the skin of its natural moisture. Therefore, look for cleansers with soothing ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and oat extract. These components help maintain the skin’s moisture barrier and prevent dryness.

Look out for cleansers that contain harsh exfoliants, alcohol, or strong fragrances, as these can lead to irritation and inflammation. Micellar water is an excellent option for sensitive skin, as it gently cleanses without the need for rinsing, reducing the risk of irritation from hot tap water.


When picking a moisturiser, opt for a lightweight, non-greasy formula that provides long-lasting hydration. Ingredients like ceramides, shea butter, and squalane are beneficial for restoring and maintaining the skin’s natural barrier.

For those with extremely sensitive or reactive skin, a minimalist approach with fewer ingredients can be beneficial. Look for fragrance-free and hypoallergenic moisturisers that focus on hydration and barrier repair. Avoid products with synthetic dyes or preservatives, as these can cause allergic reactions.


Sunscreen is a non-negotiable part of skincare routine, especially for sensitive skin. Exposure to UV rays can exacerbate sensitivity and lead to long-term damage in the form of hyperpigmentation and premature ageing. This makes choosing the right sunscreen a crucial step in caring for sensitive skin.

Physical sunscreens, which contain mineral filters like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are typically better tolerated by sensitive skin. These ingredients sit on the skin’s surface and reflect UV rays, reducing the risk of irritation compared to chemical sunscreens, which absorb UV rays and can sometimes cause reactions.

Ensure your sunscreen is broad-spectrum, offering protection against both UVA and UVB rays, and has an SPF of at least 30. Opt for formulations that are free of fragrance and alcohol, and consider sunscreens specifically designed for sensitive skin.

Skincare by SkinLab for sensitive skin

Sensitive skin doesn’t need to be an impediment to healthy skin–if you pick the right skincare products. At SkinLab, we focus on formulating gentle, safe and effective skincare products to help you nourish and soothe your skin. Our therapists will also do analysis of your skin and share advice and tips that work for your sensitive skin and skin type. 

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