Sensitive Skin Care Guide | Tips & Products

If your skin gets easily irritated if you so much as look at it wrong, you might have sensitive skin. In all seriousness, sensitive skin is an issue that affects many of us and impacts how we choose our skincare products. 

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But what is sensitive skin in the first place? Understanding this skin concern goes a long way to making sure we're taking good care of sensitive skin in the first place. Here's our guide to what it means to have sensitive skin.

What Is Sensitive Skin?

Woman taking care of sensitive skin

There are a lot of opinions on what having sensitive skin means - is it a skin type, a skin condition, or is it rosacea? For most, having sensitive skin means that your skin tends to react badly to certain products - this can appear as tell-tale redness, irritation, or excessive dryness. 

It's usually all three of these together - possibly with breakouts - that can indicate your skin is feeling a little sensitive. But what causes sensitivity in the first place? The answer has a lot of layers to it and ultimately, it all just depends.

This serum for sensitive skin from Dermalogica is formulated with Oat Extract and more to reduce sensitivity and deeply hydrate your skin.


I know, that sounds super wishy-washy - but it's important to remember that sensitivity is typically not a permanent state that skin is in. Sensitive skin can be caused by using incorrect skincare products for your skin, over-exfoliating, sun exposure, and even certain skincare ingredients. 

Because there isn’t always one definitive cause of sensitive skin, it can make it a tricky skin condition to approach. Did you know that there's no official way to test or diagnose sensitive skin as a skin type? Many of the ways sensitive skin can appear are described in journals as issues on their own. For example, dryness appears as "xerosis" while surface redness of the skin is called "erythema". 

However, these occurring together are typically what we’d think of as skin being sensitive and reactive - and the truth is, that’s not wrong. If your skin has any of these signs - especially right after using skincare - you might be dealing with sensitive skin:

  • A feeling of dryness
  • Stinging at any point in your skincare routine
  • Visible redness after applying skincare
  • Peeling, dry skin
  • Breakouts where you don’t normally have acne

So, now that we know how sensitivity issues can appear on skin - what are we supposed to do about it? How do we pick the best facial cleanser for sensitive skin? Picking the best skincare products for sensitive skin starts with looking for the best skincare ingredients that help to reduce sensitivity in the first place.

Sheet masks like this one from Dr. Jart+ work double-duty to soothe skin and reduce redness with the power of ingredients like Panthenol. 

How to Take Care of Sensitive Skin

When it comes to the care of sensitive skin, using the right ingredients will go a long way. You'll find that the best serums for sensitive skin can include one (or all) of these ingredients to create an effective, ultra-soothing skincare product that you can rely on to bring down offended, upset skin from the brink.

Best Skincare Ingredients to Calm Sensitive Skin

The best care of sensitive skin starts with looking for the right ingredients to use. Soothing ingredients go a long way to calming down existing signs of irritation and helping to fortify skin so that it's less sensitive and irritable in the future. 

Oat Extract

You might be surprised to see this natural extract on the list, but oat extract is one of the best natural ingredients to reach for when it comes to sensitive skin! You'll see it pop up on ingredient lists as Avena Sativa Extract, and lend a whole load of benefits to sensitive skin. 

When included in serums for sensitive skin, Oat Extract works hard to reduce inflammation in the skin, calming down that tell-tale redness for a moisturised, healthy glow. It's also incredibly good at restoring moisture levels in your skin, supporting your moisture barrier - another crucial part of your skin.  

The best facial cleanser for sensitive skin sweeps away impurities without stipping skin - and that's exactly what this cleanser from Dermalogica does. 


This ultra-soothing skincare ingredient is a must-have for sensitive skin types. Also known as pro-vitamin B5, Panthenol is a powerful humectant that works wonders for sensitive skin. Cream moisturizers and serums for sensitive skin are the best way to make the most of this soothing skincare ingredient.

Panthenol works very similarly to Oat Extract - included in a face cream for sensitive skin, Panthenol reduces inflammation while at the same time boosting skin's hydration.


Formulated especially for angry, irritated skin, this creamy mask from REN works hard to keep redness at bay and nurture sensitive skin.


When it comes to taking care of sensitive skin, most people think of ceramides as the first skincare ingredient to reach for. Ceramides are perfect for taking care of sensitive skin - they help to rebuild your skin's natural lipid layer, increasing moisture and soothing irritation.

Best used in face creams for sensitive skin, ceramides help to replenish skin and reduce irritation - a must have in any sensitive skin routine.

Soothe upset, troubled skin with this ceramide-rich cream from Dr. Jart+.

Shea Butter

Shea butter is an ultra-nourishing skincare ingredient that works hard to reduce irritation by intensely moisturising skin. Shea Butter creates a shield between irritated skin and the outside world to help skin bounce back and protect itself from external irritants. 

Another top ingredient that features in face cream for sensitive skin, Shea Butter is more than just a moisturiser. By creating a moisturising, protective layer of your skin, it gives your skin the best chance to heal and prevents further irritation from occurring. 

This day moisturiser from REN calms redness and lends your skin the protection it needs for the daytime.

Centella Asiatica 

When it comes to taking care of sensitive skin, Centella Asiatica is a super-star skincare ingredient to reach for. It's packed with anti-inflammatory molecules that reduce redness and support your skin's health.

It also helps to boost your skin's healing powers; Centella Asiatica has proven benefits for reduce the appearance of scarring, thanks 

Declaré’s best-selling serum from sensitive skin is formulated with Panthenol and Centella Asiatica to soothe and protect your skin. 


No skincare for sensitive skin list is complete without mentioning Niacinamide. This skincare ingredient does everything - including helping to soothe sensitive skin. It does this by strengthening your skin's natural moisture barrier. This is important for sensitive skin, helping it hold on to that all-essential hydration that reduces flakiness and fortifies your skin against external stressors!

Formulated with Niacinamide and Centella Asiatica, this facial mist from Dr. Jart+ soothes irritated skin and boosts hydration for glowing, healthy skin. 


Now that you know the best skincare ingredients to help sensitive skin, we hope choosing the routine that your skin needs is easy peasy. Or, if you want to take a shortcut to creating your skincare routine try our skin quiz. All you need to do is tell us your skin goals and we’ll recommend exactly what you need to get there!

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Alexis Adrienne

Alexis Adrienne

Alexis Adrienne is a passionate beauty writer with over 10 years of experience. She’s incredibly keen on all things skincare, makeup and cosmetics, with a fingertip on the pulse of the latest global beauty trends at all times.

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