Photo: Delmaine Donson via

If you have sensitive skin, you know how difficult it can be to find effective products for things like preventing acne or clearing pores without causing an unpleasant reaction. Even many drugstore products labeled as safe for sensitive skin can still cause dryness, redness, or even rashes that are the exact opposite of the healthy, clear complexion we all want.

This even makes it hard to get recommendations from friends, and shelling out money for a dermatologist to prescribe expensive treatments is a cost-prohibitive option for most people.

This guide provides some basic routine and product tips to help with sensitive skin.

Sensitive Skincare 101

The first step to finding skincare products that work for you is paying close attention to your skin and its reaction to the products you use. Keep track of the active ingredients in your cleansers, serums, and moisturizers, and make a note of how your skin reacts. This way, you can find out which ingredients are off-limits and avoid them. Also, pay attention to how different products make your skin feel since some things can be bad for skin without causing a dramatic reaction. For example, a cleanser that makes your skin feel squeaky clean is probably too harsh.

Clean Up

You want a cleanser that cleans your skin and removes impurities without stripping your skin of the natural oils that it needs. Many cleansers work so hard to get your face clean that they do so at the expense of actually caring for your skin. Plus, some include harsh exfoliants that irritate skin or fragrances that cause reactions. For a good balance, try Olay Cleanse Gentle Foaming Cleanser, which is specifically formulated for sensitive skin. Its lather cleans skin without irritation or fragrance.


Moisturization is key to healthy skin and preventing lines and wrinkles as we age. But many moisturizers can be heavy or oily, clogging pores and causing breakouts. To avoid this, look for an oil-free moisturizer that absorbs quickly, like Cetaphil’s Daily Oil-Free Hydrating Lotion. Generations of women have trusted this brand for a reason. Its hypoallergenic formula is perfect for sensitive skin, and it’s oil-free. Plus, it includes hyaluronic acid, one of the best-known moisturizers out there.

Photo: Delmaine Donson via

The Eyes Have It

The skin around the eyes is thinner than the rest of the face and usually more sensitive and more prone to issues. That said, it’s also susceptible to lines and wrinkles, so we don’t want to neglect it. Look for an eye cream that is specifically formulated for sensitive skin, like Burt’s Bees Sensitive Eye Cream with Cotton Extract. This cream keeps the area around the eyes smooth and clear without irritation, a vital consideration for extra-sensitive skin.


Applying serum is a step many of us probably haven’t considered when it comes to our skincare routines. Recent research shows that these little bottles of beneficial compounds can work wonders for improving skin’s texture and tone. That said, those with sensitive skin will want to make sure they’re choosing a serum that is gentle and safe while still bringing its many benefits. One good choice is Aveeno’s Calm and Restore Triple Oat Serum. Aveeno has been an ideal choice for sensitive skin for years, thanks to oats’ calming properties. This serum moisturizes and soothes skin for a dewy glow.

Sensitive skin can be a tricky problem to fix, and unfortunately sometimes requires a little bit of trial and error. Still, by paying close attention to ingredients and using products that are specifically formulated for sensitive skin, you can find a skincare regimen that works, without spending a fortune at the dermatologist.