How to Manage Sensitive Skin in Different Skin Types
Whether you have dry, oily or acne-prone skin, you can still have sensitive skin. The key is to learn how to care for it properly by to avoiding potential irritants and selecting gentle cleansers, moisturizers and other skincare products.1
What you need to know
Taking care of your sensitive skin can be difficult, and there are different ways to help avoid and soothe symptoms of sensitivity in dry skin, oily skin and acne-prone skin. Although similar skincare measures can be beneficial for all sensitive skin, with the right products, you address the unique characteristics associated with your specific skin type.
Tips for those with sensitive skin
- Avoid hot water1
- Steer clear of highly fragranced products2
- Use gentle, soap-free cleansers2
- Avoid harsh exfoliators and chemical peels2
- Apply moisturizer often3
- Use sunscreen year-round2
- Look for soothing ingredients3
Dry sensitive skin
Skin that is both sensitive and dry often feels tight and uncomfortable due to a lack of hydration, and you might notice other symptoms like redness, itching and burning.4 Dry sensitive skin is often associated with a weakened skin barrier that allows moisture to evaporate and irritants to enter the skin.3
If you have dry sensitive skin, focus on providing the skin with moisture. A product with hyaluronic acid can help because of its hydration benefits,5 and othe ngredients, like niacinamide, can help soothe the skin.6 Ingredients like ceramides can help restore your skin’s barrier, which is often impaired in sensitive skin.3 When choosing a face wash for dry sensitive skin, look for a gentle formula designed to effectively cleanse without stripping your skin of its natural oils7 or consider using micellar water And don't forget to moisturize often.3
Oily sensitive skin
Managing oily sensitive skin can be challenging, especially when certain ingredients cause signs of irritation like redness, burning and stinging. A gentle, fragrance-free foaming face wash for sensitive oily skin can help effectively remove excess oil, dirt and debris without over-drying or aggravating skin prone to reactions.7 If you have oily sensitive skin, look for cleansers and moisturizers that are labeled as oil-free and non-comedogenic,9 and consider products with additional ingredients, like ceramides to help restore the skin’s barrier,10 hyaluronic acid for hydration5 and niacinamide to help soothe your skin.6
Sensitive acne prone skin
Sensitive acne prone skin can be one of the most difficult to manage, simply because some blemish-fighting ingredients can cause irritation even in those who don’t struggle with increased sensitivity.8 Like those with oily sensitive skin, people with sensitive acne prone skin may also prefer non-comedogenic, oil-free skincare products9 as well as fragrance-free formulas to minimize fragrance-related sensitive skin reactions.2
A good face wash for sensitive acne-prone skin is a mild cleanser that leaves your skin feeling fresh and clear of excess oil, dirt and makeup without causing stinging, burning or a tight, uncomfortable feeling after cleansing.7 Cleansers and moisturizers with additional ingredients like ceramides to help restore the barrier,11 hyaluronic acid for extra moisture5 and niacinamide to help soothe your skin6 may offer additional benefits. Sunscreen is essential for all skin types—and especially sensitive acne-prone skin due to potential increased sun sensitivity caused by some acne treatments. If you are unsure of which sunscreen to use, ask your dermatologist.
- Berardesca, E. , Farage, M. and Maibach, H. (2013), Sensitive skin: an overview. Int J Cosmet Sci, 35: 2-8.
- Baumann, L. (2015) Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients (pp.83-91). New York: McGraw-Hill Medical
- Baumann, L. (2015) Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients (pp.77-80). New York: McGraw-Hill Medical
- Baumann, L. (2009) Cosmetic Dermatology: Principles and Practice (pp.126-128). New York: McGraw-Hill Medical
- Baumann, L. (2015) Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients (pp.20). New York: McGraw-Hill Medical
- Baumann, L. (2015) Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients (pp.292-296). rel="noopener noreferrer" New York: McGraw-Hill Medical
- Meckfessel, M. H., & Brandt, S. (2014). The structure, function, and importance of ceramides in skin and their use as therapeutic agents in skin-care products. Journal of the American rel="noopener noreferrer" Academy of Dermatology, 71(1), 177-184.