Having sensitive skin is no fun. One day your skin is fine then the next morning it decides to act up. And trying new skincare products is always dicey situation. To avoid or reduce your skin reaction, there are some essential ingredients to look for when purchasing a new skin care product.
Before we get in to the list, I want to talk a little about what is sensitive skin and is it hereditary?
There is not real medical definition for sensitive skin. But that doesn’t change the fact it gets red or burns when putting skin care or makeup products on your face. Sensitivity of the skin can show itself in 2 ways. The first is called subjective reaction. That’s when the skin burns, sting and itches without any visual signs of trauma to the skin. The second term is called objective. That’s when the skin shows visible signs of redness, flaking of skin and bumps. It is possible to suffer from both reactions at the same time. That’s not fun.
Is sensitive skin hereditary? It could be, what is definitely hereditary is the skin structure associated with genetics. With light, fair skin and blue or green eyes have thinner skin than someone of Mediterranean descent. A thinner skin allows closer exposure to nerve endings and blood vessels. Theses skin types are much more sensitive to sun, heat and cold. Because of the thin skin layers, the barrier lipids are generally not plentiful, making it easier to have barrier function damage. This damage can allow penetration of irritants the lead to inflammation and redness.
As an esthetician and makeup artist, I get a lot of people telling they can’t use certain product on their skin because they have a reaction to it. So, they want to know from me what are the good products to use on their skin. There are many good products out there; unfortunately, there isn’t a magic ingredient that will work for all skin types. A word of caution, not all ingredients will work for everyone. When you have sensitive skin, it is a trial and error finding what works for you. Instead of recommending a specific product, I want to share with you the best ingredients found in products that would work for your sensitive skin.
Here is the list including the INCI Names:
Almond Oil (Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil)– Almond oil is loaded with essential vitamins of D, E, B1, B2 and B6, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. It has anti-inflammatory qualities and is a powerful antioxidant that helps keep the skin hydrated and fights free radicals. It’s also rich in fatty acids, which are great for your skin. It acts as both an emollient and a humectant on the skin. That’s why it works wonders for people with dry and itchy skin. Here is a fun fact: It is said to be the closest to the oil found in a baby’s skin-who doesn’t need that, right?
Apricot Kernel Oil (Prunus Armeniaca Oil)– Is a lightweight oil that is high in Vitamin A and is very rich in Oleic and Linoleic Acid. Which is necessary for softening and moisturizing dry, irritated and aged skin. Apricot Oil is often compared to sweet almond oil. So, if you have any nut allergies, apricot kernel oil is commonly used as a substitute.
Avocado Oil (Persea Gratissima Oil)– This is extracted from the pulp of the fruit; this heavy oil is particularly suited to quenching dry and itchy condition like eczema. The oil is rich in vitamins A, B, D and E as well as beta-carotene, potassium and lethicin. Sterolins found in avocado oil can reduce blemishes and also heal sun damaged skin.
Borage Oil ( Borago Officinalis Oil)-It is unique because it is the highest natural source of gamma-linolenic-acid. This is essential to repair damaged skin and produce radiant, healthy skin.
Camelina Oil (Camelina Sativa Seed Oil)– This Anti-Inflammatory oil strongly inhibits inflammation both topically and when used internally. It provides ample amount of Vitamin E and omega fatty acids directly to the skin. It moisturizes the skin and prevents it from free radical damage. The oil contains a nicely balanced proportion of omega-3, omega – 6 and omega – 9 fatty acids. Omega-3 (Alpha – Linolenic Acid) is 35 %, Omega- 6 (Linoleic Acid) is 17 %, Omega-9 (Oleic Acid) is 17 %.
Hemp Seed Oil (Cannabis Sativa Oil) – This oil is rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and proteins. As an anti-inflammatory, the omega 3 helps reduce skin inflammation and redness. Hemp Seed oil also thins skin oil, preventing clogging of pores and blackheads.
Rosehip Seed Oil (Rosa Canina Fruit Oil)– It helps calms inflamed skin. It’s also good for dry, aging skin because of its nourishing and regenerating properties.
Cocoa Butter (Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter)-This moisturizing butter is good at protecting skin and soothing red and irritated skin such as eczema and rosacea. It is a great source of antioxidants, which help combat free radicals and help save your skin from the inevitable signs of aging and environmental stressors. A cocoa butter cream will definitely help you keep your skin soft and supple.
Mango Butter (Mangifera Indica Seed Butter) – Is an effective antioxidant. anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory ingredient.
Shea Butter (Butyrospermun Parkii Fruit)– This butter contains A and E, which is helpful for preventing premature wrinkles. It is also rich in vitamin F which soothes rough, dry or chapped skin making it a perfect moisturizer for sensitive skins. Using straight Shea Butter on the skin is excellent to treat diaper rash.
Aloe Vera ( Aloe Barbadensis Leaf)– It is packed full of healing extracts, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, and amino acids. The aloe vera has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory, giving it soothing and moisturizing properties that protects the skin.
Allantoin ( Allantoin)– It is a phytochemical extracted from plants. It is beneficial to sensitive skin because it helps to soothe overstressed skin and stimulate skin tissue to regenerate new, fresh skin.
Arnica (Arnica Montana)-This has been used for medicinal purposes since the 1500s to reduce inflammation and heal wounds. It is great to lessen the effects of bruising on your skin. Just put it on your skin as soon as possible to get the full benefit of Arnica.
Calendula Extract (Calendula Officinalis)-This is one of my favorite botanicals. It is so lovely on the skin. It soothes sunburns and irritated skins. It’s my go too for my occasional eczema flare ups.
Chamomile (Chamomilla Recutita)– One of the most widely used botanicals, chamomile has emollient, healing, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. It also contains azulene, which helps to reduce puffiness.
Cucumber Seed Oil (Cucumis Sativus Fruit)– We all heard of putting cucumber slices on our eyes to help de-puff the eyes. Well this oil comes from the seeds of the cucumber. This is super compatible with sensitive skin. Cucumber oil has a loads phytosterols and linoleic acid, which is essential to healthy skin.
Green Tea Leaf Extract (Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract)– With its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits, green tea leaf extract is excellent for sensitive skin.
Honey (Honey) – Honey is so gentle on sensitive skin. It has antimicrobial properties so it is great for acne skins too.
Jasmine (Jasminum Officinale) – It is a delicate flowering plant with a pleasing scent. Jasmine oil tones dry, oily, irritated, sensitive skin and is often used to erase the appearance of stretch marks and reduce scarring.
Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia )– It helps the skin heal itself by stimulating cell growth, reduce inflammation, prevents scarring and balance the production of oil. Lavender has an antiseptic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-oxidant anti-inflammatory, decongestant and therapeutic effects on the skin.
Oat Extract or Colloidal Oatmeal (Avena Sativa)– It is considered a versatile skin care ingredient for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Taking an oatmeal bath is wonderful for rashes and sunburns. It also makes a soothing mask, especially if you mix it with honey and a little bit of water.
Panthenol (D-Panthenol) – It is also known as pro-vitamin B5. This protects your skin from the environmental nasties attacking and soothes your irritated skin.
Rosewood (Aniba Rosaeodora Wood Oil)– Extracted from the bark of the evergreen rosewood tree native to Peru and Brazil. It is used to soothe irritated and sensitive skin.
Lecithin (Lecithin) – It is extracted from seeds. Lecithin is great for sensitive skin because it’s similar to our skin so it helps to restore the natural skin.