Help for Your Sensitive Skin

Skin can be sensitive to many different ingredients, so there’s no one skin-care rule everyone should follow. But some products can cause more problems than others, and some general guidelines can make living with sensitive skin easier.

Chemicals called parabens, which are added to lotions and cosmetics to prevent bacteria growth and make them last longer, may bother some people with sensitive skin.

Sensitive skin is even more vulnerable to the elements and will benefit from a proper skin-care schedule. Dutifully moisturize both morning and night to protect skin from water loss and to maintain a healthy barrier from the daily onslaught of environmental factors, including pollution and wind.

Keep pores clear and surface debris scarce by washing twice a day (any more can be too much for sensitive skin). Choose a cleanser that is formulated for sensitive skin but isn’t so gentle that you need to scrub really hard to remove makeup or residual grime. Be gentle: blot dry (no rubbing, please) and apply moisturizer straight away for maximum absorption.

Irritable skin is often extra-sensitive to the sun. Wear sunscreen year-round with SPF 30 or higher to protect delicate tissue from aggravating rays. Look for sunscreens with physical active ingredients—such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide—which are less likely to cause a reaction than chemical sunscreens, like oxybenzone, octocrylene, and octinoxate.