Choosing The Right Products for Sensitive Skin

If you have acne, rosacea, contact dermatitis, or another condition that makes your skin sensitive to many of the typical ingredients in skin products, you needed a successful strategy for picking just the right sensitive skin cleanser and moisturizer.

You don't have to get a prescription for good-quality skin products to care for your sensitive skin - you can find many great over-the-counter choices, says Susan Massick, MD, a dermatologist with the Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus. "Most of these products are found in all-purpose stores like Target, grocery stores, and pharmacies," adds Dr. Massick.

And you don't have to spend a fortune - they're all pretty affordable. "All are less than $15 in price, most even less than $10," Massick says.

Step One: Sensitive Skin Cleanser

Sensitive skin should be cleansed regularly, but with skin products formulated for your specific skin type. Many general soaps and cleansers can be harsh and drying and contain irritating fragrances. Massick suggests:

  • Dove Soap
  • CeraVe Cleanser
  • Cetaphil Cleanser
  • Olay Daily Facials cleansing cloths

Her picks are are mild soaps and moisturizing cleansers that are hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic, meaning they won't clog pores, so they shouldn't trigger acne or another reaction. They all work well at removing makeup, adds Massick.

Step Two: Sensitive Skin Moisturizer

It's important to keep sensitive skin moisturized, but you have to be careful about products that are too heavy or have any fragrance. Massick recommends:

  • CeraVe Cream
  • Aveeno Skin Relief Moisturizing Lotion
  • Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream

What does she love about these sensitive skin moisturizers? They're "great without being overly greasy," she says. Plus, they're fragrance-free and hypoallergenic, important attributes when choosing any skin product specifically for sensitive skin.

Step Three: Sensitive Skin Sunscreen

Daily sunscreen is important to protect sensitive skin (and all skin types) from sunburn and long-term sun damage. For people with sensitive skin, Massick likes:

  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 55, 80, or 100+
  • Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sunblock
  • Water Babies Pure and Simple 50
  • Vanicream Sunscreen SPF 35 or 60

"In general, look for UVA/UVB protection," suggests Massick. "Important ingredients to look for include titanium dioxide and zinc oxide."

Sensitive Skin and Acne Control

For those with sensitive skin who battle acne, Massick recommends:

  • Neutrogena Acne Wash with the active ingredient salicylic acid
  • Clean & Clear Acne wash with the active ingredient benzoyl peroxide

These products can be "helpful with mild acne breakouts," Massick says.

Sensitive Skin and Anti-Aging Help

To keep sensitive skin looking young, Massick suggests looking for products that contain the active ingredient retinol. She likes:

  • Oil of Olay Total Effects products
  • Olay Regenerist products
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