Sensitive Skin? 4 Skin Products You Should Never Use

If you’re reading this article, you probably have sensitive skin. If you have this skin type, you’ll want to be careful with certain products. Shave your skin care routine down to the bare basics by using gentle cleansers and moisturizers that don’t contain any fragrances or detergents, and avoid these four types of products, which could make your skin situation even worse.

1. Anti-aging products

attractive young man looking in mirror at sensitive skin

A man with sensitive skin | iStock.com

Though anti-aging products are very popular and prevent the inevitable signs of aging, many of them contain alpha hydroxy acids, glycolic acid, and retinol, which are known irritants. So, if you have sensitive skin, then these are the top ingredients you need to avoid. “These have a low pH and will irritate sensitive skin,” Dr. Jeannette Graf, assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, told Everyday Health.

If you do want to try an anti-aging product, keep your skin hydrated and slowly begin using the product. Try using an anti-aging product every other night, or every third night, until your skin can build up a tolerance to it, says the site. Also, consider talking to your dermatologist about what he or she recommends.

2. Sunscreen with certain ingredients

man rubbing sunscreen onto his shoulder

Man applying sunscreen | iStock.com

You probably know how important sunscreen is in preventing premature aging and skin cancer, and you would never think that it could be an irritant for your skin. You also probably don’t know that there are two main types of sunscreen: chemical and physical. Byrdie explains chemical sunscreen, which contains hard-to-pronounce ingredients like avobenzone, octinoxate, and oxybenzone, is the one that causes problems for sensitive skin. These chemicals can inflame skin, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear sunscreen — not doing so will just make things worse. Instead, opt for a mineral-based formula containing ingredients like zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. Graf tells Everyday Health these products are the easiest for sensitive skin.

3. Acne products

young woman with clear complexion in the bathroom

This woman obviously doesn’t use irritating acne products | iStock.com

When it comes to acne products, sensitive skin requires sensitive treatment. Acne remedies that work well on normal skin can be terrible for sensitive skin, especially if ingredients are added to make the formula seem organic, herbal, and/or natural. Sensitive skin responds to harsh treatment, with the skin becoming more oily.  “Ingredients such as alpha hydroxy acids or retinols that are too strong can compromise the skin’s barrier and leave it irritated,” San Antonio dermatologist Vivian Bucay told Today. Overusing salicylic acid and/or benzoyl peroxide, two very common acne fighting ingredients, tends to dry out the skin and make it itchy and red. Be sure to use very mild concentrations of benzoyl peroxide and speak to your dermatologist about other treatments available.

4. Products with fragrance

Perfume bottles | Source: iStock

Perfume bottles | iStock.com

Sure they might smell nice, but your skin doesn’t think scented products are so great. According to Paula’s Choice, scented products can lead to allergic reactions, irritation, and even break down collagen. Try to use fragrance-free products whenever you can. Be aware that some products that are labeled “unscented” may not necessarily be fragrance-free. Fragrance may still be present in the product to hide its natural scent, so read your labels carefully.