13 Skincare Essentials For Anyone With Sensitive Skin

I have sensitive skin. Like, super sensitive skin. Skin that burns easily, turns red and stays red if I happen to make the grave personal error of, say, using a foaming face product rather than a creamy one, and breaks out in angry red bumps and pustules if anything that isn’t labeled “oil-free” or “non-comedogenic” gets within, like, 500 feet of it. Like, getting my eyebrows waxed? Impossible. Trying a DIY Pinterest face mask? Inconceivable. Using a coarse face scrub filled with ground-up apricot pits? Could not be me.

It’s not the best situation, to be sure, but, as far as unfortunate personal burdens go, this one is hardly as bad as it could be. In fact, one might say that it has even become fairly manageable in recent years thanks to a few choice skincare products I’ve made an essential part of my daily routine. So, if you also have sensitive skin, check out these products that, for once, won’t turn your face into a red, blotchy, irritated mess:

1. Yes To Cotton Micellar Water


Buy this for $4.50 from Amazon

If you have sensitive skin, you probably don’t want to wash it in the morning. But, if you feel like your face needs a quick pick-me-up in the AM, micellar water is a great option, since it clears up oil and grease without irritating or over-working the skin. The cotton line from Yes To is excellent for sensitive skin – it’s soothing and feels comforting.


2. Thermal Spring Water


Buy this for $12.99 from La Roche-Posay

Now, “thermal spring water” is not one of those things that, strictly speaking, is totally necessary. But you know what? It’s nice. I like it. It makes my skin feel less irritated and puffy, and I like to spray it on my face intermittently throughout the day if I’m feeling overwhelmed.


3. Mario Badescu Drying Lotion


Buy this for $17 from Mario Badescu

If your skin is acne-prone in addition to being sensitive (lucky you!), Mario Badescu Drying Lotion is great as a spot treatment. You can put it on in the morning before putting on your makeup and at night before you go to bed. It won’t make your skin feel irritated, but it’s strong enough to clear up your acne anyway.


4. Dr. Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment


Buy this for $52 from Sephora

Recently, I have beein inclined to swear by this stuff–I love that it has SPF, I love that it color corrects without leaving the skin looking like it has green undertones, and I love that it doesn’t irritate my sensitve skin. I love it all!


5. Dermablend Smooth Liquid Camo



Buy this for $37 from Sephora

Need more coverage? Dermablend has an awesome foundation that can cover pretty much every blemish on your face without overwhelming the skin.


6. Lorac I’m So Sensitive Skin Primer


Buy this for $33 from Ulta

If you like to use primer, but find that it irritates your skin, try this one from Lorac–it helps keep makeup in place but doesn’t clog the pores.


7. Elta MD Sunscreen


Buy this for $26.50 from Dermstore

In need of a straight-up sunscreen that won’t mess with your face? Try Elta MD. It’s dermatologist-approved (seriously, my dermatologist recommended it to me) and effectively protects your skin from the sun without giving your skin that annoying, itchy feeling that goes along with some sunscreen blends.


8. Glossier Haloscope Highlighter


Buy this for $22 from Glossier

It’s easy to poke fun at cool-girl makeup brand Glossier, but their Haloscope highlighter is well-known for a reason–it’s really great. It adds a nice, easy shimmer to the face without clogging the pores or causing irritation as some highlighters tend to do.


9. Bye Bye Makeup Cleanser


Buy this for $38 from Sephora

At the end of the day, you need to take off all of your makeup. I’m obsessed with It Cosmetics’ Cleansing Balm, since it’s the only makeup remover that doesn’t sting my eyes when I remove my makeup. Plus, it’s a cleanser and a makeup remover, so you only have to wash once to get the job done.


10. Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser


Buy this for $8.29 from Target

If you want a simpler cleanser, try Neutrogena’s Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, which cleanses the skin effectively without leaving residue or making the skin feel stripped of moisture.


11. Paula’s Choice Skin Prfecting BHA Liquid


Buy this for $23 from Paula’s Choice

By now, you might have realize that scrubs aren’t the best choice for your sensitive skin. But, if you want to exfoliate, what are you supposed to do? It’s simple! Try a liquid exfoliant. This helps slough off dead skin cells and clear out clogged pores without scratching your skin, which regular scrubs tend to do.


12. Fresh Rose Face Mask


Buy this for $25 from Sephora

Face masks can be tricky when you have sensitive skin, but this rose face mask from Fresh is really great. It adds moisture, softens the skin, and, based on my personal anecdotal experience, makes it easier for my skin to resist irritation throughout the day.


13. Clinique Dramatically Different Lotion


Buy this for $27 from Sephora

Everyone on Reddit’s Skincare Addiction subreddit swears by this stuff. This is with good reason! It’s a lightweight formula that adds moisture without overloading the skin and making it feel oily. Give it a shot!


Do you have sensitive skin? What are your product recommendations? Let us know in the comments!

You can reach the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter and Instagram.

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