Sensitive skin can be a challenge to take care of, as even the most harmless ingredients can cause irritation and redness. Unfortunately, many of the popular skincare ingredients used today are not ideal for those with sensitive skin. From retinol to fragrances, many of these ingredients can have a detrimental effect on the skin. In this article, we’ll discuss the 5 popular skincare ingredients that can do more harm than good for sensitive skin. We’ll also share some natural alternatives that can be used instead to help soothe and nourish this delicate skin type.
What is sensitive skin?
Sensitive skin is skin that is prone to redness, irritation, and dryness. It can become easily aggravated by various triggers such as harsh ingredients, extreme temperatures, and even humidity. There is no specific cause for sensitive skin, but research shows that it is more prevalent in people with dry or aging skin. Sensitive skin can be genetic or caused by external factors such as skin damage and inflammation. Unfortunately, most skincare products contain harsh ingredients that can further irritate this delicate skin type. This is why it is important to choose products carefully and select ingredients that will nourish and protect sensitive skin without causing side effects.
Retinol is an active ingredient that has been shown to improve the appearance of fine lines, acne, and even pigmentation. The majority of skincare products that contain retinol are formulated for normal and oily skin types. Retinol is also extremely potent and can cause a lot of irritation and redness for those with sensitive skin. If you have sensitive skin, it's not recommended to use products with high concentrations of it because it can cause inflammation, dryness, and even breakouts. However, retinol itself is still very beneficial, so opt for products with low-grade versions like retinyl palmitate, which is weaker and far less irritating, while still helping with rough skin, dark spots and collagen production.
Fragrances are often added to skincare products to make the scent more pleasing. Most fragrances are synthetic, meaning that they are made in a lab. Synthetic fragrances are not regulated by the FDA, meaning that they can be used in any amount and can be made up of many different ingredients, specifically chemicals. Fragrances are known to be irritating to sensitive skin, making them a poor choice for skincare products. This can leave the skin feeling red and aggravated, making it difficult to use the product. When selecting skincare products, be sure to look for products that are artificial or synthetic fragrance-free like our Moisture Restore Lotion, for a gentle lotion that will soothe and hydrate irritated skin, rather than making it worse.
Microbeads are small plastic beads that are used in skincare products, such as exfoliating scrubs. These beads are often added to skincare products because they are cheap to produce, easy to clean, and can exfoliate the skin. The beads are not large enough to be filtered out by water treatment plants and often end up in our waterways. This poses a threat to aquatic life, as the beads are ingested. For those with sensitive skin, scrubs can be too harsh and abrasive causing bad flareups or intense dryness. Opt for lactic acid peels or gentle sugar or fine coffee grounds scrubs for an exfoliator that will rid you of dry skin without causing further flare ups.
Alcohol is an ingredient used in many skincare products, including toners, cleansers, and even makeup removers. Alcohol has antiseptic properties and is commonly used in skincare products for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also cheap to produce, making it a popular ingredient in skincare products. Alcohol is too harsh for sensitive skin and can cause redness and irritation. For those with sensitive skin, alcohol-based skincare products can be too harsh and cause irritation. This can leave the skin feeling dry and overly tight, making it difficult to apply makeup. Instead switch to alcohol-free products for bathing and post-shower moisturizing (we love using our unscented Total Moisture Body Wash and then following with our Hydration Repair Honey Salve during the colder months!)
Chemical sunscreens are one of the most popular ingredients in skincare products. Unfortunately, they are not ideal for sensitive skin as they can cause irritation and dryness. In addition to being an irritant, chemical sunscreens are often too heavy for sensitive skin and can leave a thick and sticky feeling. For those with irritation-prone skin, it is best to choose physical sunscreen. Physical sunscreens use minerals to filter the sun, such as zinc and titanium dioxide. They are lightweight and do not contain any harsh ingredients that can cause irritation.
Sensitive skin can be a challenge to take care of, as even the most harmless ingredients can cause irritation and redness. Unfortunately, many of the popular skincare ingredients used today are not ideal for those with sensitive skin. From retinol to fragrances, many of these ingredients can have a detrimental effect on the skin. For those with sensitive skin, it is best to choose skincare products that are free of synthetic fragrances, alcohol, and harsh ingredients, like our Blossom Essentials hydration products, made with sensitive skin in mind.