Sensitive Skin: 7 Beauty Ingredients You Should Avoid If You Have Sensitive Skin(2023)

Beauty ingredients to avoid with sensitive skin

Here are 7 beauty ingredients that you should avoid or never use if you have sensitive skin:

1. Retinol and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs)

Retinol, a derivative of vitamin A, and AHAs like glycolic acid are well known for their skin-renewing properties. However, when used together, they can spell trouble for sensitive skin. These ingredients can cause dryness, redness, and peeling when used excessively or without proper precautions. If you’re keen on incorporating them into your routine, consult a dermatologist to determine the right way to apply them to your skin and avoid overloading it.

Use retinol carefully when it comes to sensitive skin. 

2. Vitamin C and benzoyl peroxide

Vitamin C is renowned for its antioxidant benefits and ability to brighten the skin. On the other hand, benzoyl peroxide is an effective acne-fighting ingredient. While both can be beneficial, they can also be harsh on sensitive skin. Vitamin C, in higher concentrations, may cause irritation, and benzoyl peroxide can lead to dryness and peeling. Consider starting with lower concentrations or seeking alternatives if you notice discomfort.

3. Salicylic acid and glycolic acid

Salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid (BHA), and glycolic acid, an AHA, are popular choices for treating acne and exfoliating the skin. However, their exfoliating properties can make them problematic for sensitive skin. Overusing them or using them alongside other active ingredients can lead to redness, sensitivity, and even peeling. To incorporate them safely, start with lower concentrations and use them sparingly.

4. Exfoliating cleansers and scrubs

Physical exfoliants like scrub particles in cleansers (best cleansers) or abrasive scrubs can be particularly harsh on sensitive skin. These products can cause micro-tears in the skin, leading to inflammation and discomfort. Instead, opt for chemical exfoliants (like AHAs or BHAs) that offer a gentler approach to removing dead skin cells.

Pay attention to your sensitive skin. 

5. Too many actives

One common mistake people with sensitive skin make is overloading their skincare routine with too many active ingredients at once. Using multiple actives like retinol, AHAs, BHAs, and vitamin C simultaneously can overwhelm your skin and exacerbate sensitivity. Gradually introduce new products and watch for signs of irritation.

6. Benzoyl peroxide and strong retinoids

While benzoyl peroxide is effective against acne, it can be too drying for sensitive skin when used in high concentrations. Strong prescription retinoids are also not the best choice for sensitive skin due to their potential to cause redness and peeling. If you’re struggling with acne and have sensitive skin, consult a dermatologist for gentler alternatives.

You should be very careful when choosing beauty ingredients for sensitive skin. Also, it’s advisable to introduce new products gradually and consult a dermatologist to tailor your skincare routine to your unique needs. Remember, less can often be more when it comes to sensitive skin.

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