Sensitive skin – what to avoid

If you’ve always suffered from sensitive skin or have suddenly found it flaring up for one reason or another, it can be really frustrating. Dry, red, patchy skin that can be prone to breakouts – to be honest it is zero fun!

Thankfully these days there are many sensitive skin products on the market that can make dealing with it so much easier! But just what is it in regular beauty products that irritates our skin so much? Here are some of the top culprits that can be found in common cosmetics and beauty products.


Heavily fragranced products are always going to present a greater risk for your sensitive skin than fragrance-free ones will, so if possible avoid these. They can irritate and cause flare-ups which are simply not worth it! If you do prefer a light fragrance, then choose natural ones like those made from gentle rose water to keep the risk to a minimum.


Even if you don’t have sensitive skin, you should really try to limit your use of parabens and especially if you’re pregnant, do avoid this ingredient. Found in a whole host of beauty products, parabens help to preserve them but they can irritate sensitive skin so look out for products that are paraben-free.


Alcohol is actually present in a lot of skin products from toners to nail polish removers, because it is great at cleaning and degreasing. Unfortunately it can also be great at drying out your skin which is a bit of a nightmare if it’s already sensitive. Be smart and choose more gentle and natural products to cleanse your skin.

Rough exfoliators (ground apricot stones and walnut shells)

Although completely natural, these types of scrubs could be a little bit too rough for your sensitive skin. Even with normal skin they should ideally be used only a few times a month, so they’re best to avoid if your skin gets irritated easily. As a more gentle alternative, use a rough flannel with hot water to buff away dead skin.

Essential oils

Again another natural beauty product, you’d think that you would be safe with essential oils. However, they can be quite powerful and can even lead to mild chemical burns if applied directly without dilution. Tea tree oil in particular is known to help with problem skin, but if you have sensitive skin, do avoid this and instead just keep your skin clean. Rosewater is a hero here as a gentle toner that won’t dry out your skin.

So if you have sensitive skin, look out for sensitive specific lines and avoid these ingredients that are often found in popular beauty products – your skin will thank you for it!

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