We’ve all been there: After trying that new skincare product your best friend (or, like, your Instagram feed) convinced you to buy, you were left with red, irritated, and burning skin. The hard truth? There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to skincare, and if you’ve got sensitive, easily irritated skin, you need to take extra caution when adding new products to your routine.
“Not every product is made for everyone,” says Ranella Hirsch, MD, a Boston-based dermatologist. “If your skin becomes inflamed or stings after using a formula, especially one that contains fragrance, alcohol, or harsh exfoliants, it’s considered sensitive.” The good news, though, is that there are tons of products for sensitive skin, whether you’re looking for a non-drying face wash, a lightweight foundation, or even a gentle shampoo. And to make just one damn thing easier on you and your face, I went ahead and handpicked the 15 best sensitive skin-friendly products, below.
Best Face Products for Sensitive Skin
Courtesy Image Avène Eau Thermale Avene Micellar Lotion Cleansing Water, Toner, Make-up Remover amazon.com $18.00
- Avène Eau Thermale Micellar Lotion Make-Up Remover
- Olay Cleanse Gentle Foaming Cleanser
- Eucerin Redness Relief Night Creme
- Dermalogica Calm Water Gel
- Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Advanced Face Serum
- Burt’s Bees Sensitive Eye Cream with Cotton Extract
- Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 60+
- CoverGirl Clean Sensitive Skin Foundation
- RMS Beauty “Un” Cover-Up
- Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment Sunscreen SPF 15
- Drunk Elephant Juju Bar
- Dove Sensitive Skin Nourishing Body Wash
- Vanicream Sunscreen Sport SPF 35
- Free & Clear Shampoo and Conditioner
- Briogeo B.Well 100mg CBD + Arnica Flower Soothing Skin & Scalp Oil
- 18 Best Beauty Products to Use for Sensitive Skin
- 1. Clinique Redness Solutions Soothing Cleanser
- 2. Natio Sensitive Skin Delicate Eye Cream
- 3. VMV Hypoallergenics Red-Better Flare-Up Balm
- 4. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths
- 5. Burt’s Bees’ Sensitive Night Cream
- 6. Avene Instant Soothing Moisture Mask
- 7. Clarisonic Sensitive Brush Head
- 8. Aesop Camellia Nut Facial Hydrating Cream
- 9. Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-Free Toner
- 10. Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil
- 11. Lucas’ Pawpaw Ointment
- 12. Marc Jacobs Beauty Twinkle Pop Stick Eyeshadow
- 13. Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick
- 14. Physicians Formula Organic Wear CC Cream
- 15. Inika Mineral Foundation
- 16. Napoleon Perdis Mesmer-Eyes Mascara
- 17. Al’chemy Unscented Very Gentle Shampoo
- 18. Kora Organics Daily Hand Cream
- The 10 Best Mascaras for Sensitive Eyes, According to Customer Reviews
- Maybelline Full ‘N Soft Washable Mascara
- Clinique High Impact Mascara
- Tetyana Naturals 4D Fiber Lash Mascara
- Neutrogena Healthy Volume Mascara
- Tarte Cosmetics Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara
- 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Ultra Lengthening Mascara
- Lancome Definicils High Definition Mascara
- Honest Beauty Extreme Length Mascara + Lash Primer
- Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara
- Blinc Mascara
- How to relieve itchy skin
- Is Your Skin Prone to Allergic Reactions? You NEED to Read This
1. This Makeup Remover for Sensitive Skin
Avène Eau Thermale Micellar Lotion Make-Up Remover
Unlike makeup remover wipes (which can lead to irritated, broken-out skin), this gentle, no-rinse cleanser, toner, and makeup remover doesn’t contain any alcohol, soap, or oil. Plus, it’s spiked with soothing ingredients like chamomile and hyaluronic acid that hydrate your skin as you’re cleansing.
Courtesy Image Olay Cleanse Gentle Foaming Cleanser amazon.com $11.98
2. This Foaming Face Wash for Oily Sensitive Skin
Olay Cleanse Gentle Foaming Cleanser
This ultra-gentle face wash is ideal for hypersensitive, yet oily, skin, thanks to its simple ingredients (no soap, oil, or fragrance here) and foaming texture. Lather it up morning, night, or both to give your skin a soft-but-effective cleanse.
Courtesy Image Eucerin Redness Relief Night Creme amazon.com $14.99 $11.57 (23% off)
3. This Nighttime Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin
Eucerin Redness Relief Night Creme
Got red, easily irritated skin? Slather on this thick-ass moisturizer before you jump into bed and the fragrance-free and non-comedogenic formula will soothe the sh*t out of your sensitive skin with ingredients like redness-reducing licorice root extract and hydrating glycerin.
Courtesy Image Dermalogica Calm Water Gel ulta.com $48.00
4. This Daily Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin
Dermalogica Calm Water Gel
A cocktail of sensitive-skin-friendly ingredients makes this daytime moisturize a no-brainer. Think: apple fruit extract (which helps soften your skin), ultra-hydrating glycerin (which sucks moisture into your skin barrier), and skin-soothing cactus pear (to lightly calm irritation).
Courtesy Image Dr. Andrew Weil For Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Soothing Face Lotion sephora.com $57.00
5. This Soothing Serum for Sensitive Skin
Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Advanced Face Serum
This face serum is packed with the skin-repairing reishi mushroom and redness-soothing chaga and cordyceps mushrooms that are typically used in Chinese medicine to help heal irritated, out-of-whack skin.
Courtesy Image Burt’s Bees Sensitive Eye Cream with Cotton Extract amazon.com $9.97
6. This Eye Cream for Sensitive Skin
Burt’s Bees Sensitive Eye Cream with Cotton Extract
Hot take: Eye cream isn’t just another useless step in your skincare routine—it’s actually super important, especially if you’ve got sensitive skin, since the skin surrounding your eyes is not only thin but also easily irritated by the wrong products. This fragrance-free formula, which is made with moisturizing cotton extract and olive fruit oil, should do the trick.
Courtesy Image Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 60+ ulta.com $5.97
7. This Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 60+
Sunscreen is a nonnegotiable for sensitive skin—and, let’s be real, all skin—and this fragrance-free and hypoallergenic formula is lightweight, non-irritating, and super effective. Prepare to slather this one on daily.
Best Makeup Products for Sensitive Skin
Courtesy Image CoverGirl Clean Sensitive Skin Liquid Foundation walgreens.com $5.99
8. This Foundation for Sensitive Skin
CoverGirl Clean Sensitive Skin Foundation
Sensitive skin products don’t just stop at skincare—if your skin really doesn’t vibe with harsh ingredients, you’ll want to make sure you also use caution when buying and wearing makeup too. This gentle drugstore foundation is loaded with hydrating glycerin to hydrate dry skin, and it’s fragrance- and oil-free, so no extra irritation.
Courtesy Image RMS Beauty “Un” Cover-Up dermstore.com $36.00
9. This Concealer for Sensitive Skin
RMS Beauty “Un” Cover-Up
Whether you’re wearing it solo or on top of your foundation, this lightweight concealer is perfect for sensitive skin types, since it’s formulated with hydrating ingredients like coconut oil and castor seed oil.
Courtesy Image Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment Sunscreen SPF 15 sephora.com $24.00
10. This Tinted Lip Balm for Sensitive Skin
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment Sunscreen SPF 15
There’s no need to worry about irritating your sensitive skin with this cult-favorite tinted lip balm, thanks to the formula’s gentle and hydrating ingredients (see: antioxidant-rich grapeseed oil and moisture-retaining sugar).
Best Body Products for Sensitive Skin
Courtesy Image Drunk Elephant JuJu Exfoliating Bar sephora.com $28.00
11. This Body Exfoliator for Sensitive Skin
Drunk Elephant Juju Bar
This multitasking bar looks toward thermal mud and bamboo powder to cleanse and gently exfoliate your sensitive skin simultaneously. It is also 100 percent fragrance- and soap-free and has a pH level of 6.34, so it definitely won’t strip your skin of its natural oils.
Courtesy Image Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash target.com $5.99
12. This Body Wash for Sensitive Skin
Dove Sensitive Skin Nourishing Body Wash
If your skin feels itchy, red, or irritated when you jump out of the shower, it’s time to enlist the help of this gentle body wash. Not only does it cleanse your sensitive skin without irritating it, but it also hydrates, soothes, and softens rough patches and redness.
Courtesy Image Vanicream Sunscreen Sport SPF 35 dermstore.com $16.02
13. This Body Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
Vanicream Sunscreen Sport SPF 35
Ditch your spray-on sunscreen for this calming and simple SPF that feels soft and creamy on sensitive skin. Unlike the majority of body sunscreens on the market, this formula is free of dyes, fragrance, parabens, formaldehyde, and oil.
Best Hair Products for Sensitive Skin
Courtesy Image Free & Clear Shampoo and Conditioner for Sensitive Skin amazon.com $21.03
14. This Shampoo and Conditioner for Sensitive Skin
Free & Clear Shampoo and Conditioner
It might sound weird, but your scalp is really just an extension of the skin on your face, so there’ no reason why you shouldn’t treat them similarly. That means using a gentle, non-irritating shampoo and conditioner—like this pair from Free & Clear—that’s free of dyes, fragrance, parabens, and formaldehyde.
Courtesy Image Briogeo B.Well 100mg CBD + Arnica Flower Soothing Skin & Scalp Oil sephora.com $48.00
15. This Scalp Oil for Sensitive Skin
Briogeo B.Well 100mg CBD + Arnica Flower Soothing Skin & Scalp Oil
This lightweight oil soothes sensitive, irritated scalps with a blend of CBD, arnica flower extract, and hempseed oil. Pro tip: Mix a couple drops into your conditioner for a super-easy, mess-free application.
Related Story Ruby Buddemeyer Beauty Editor Ruby is the beauty editor at Cosmopolitan, where she covers beauty across print and digital. Carly Cardellino Carly Cardellino was the beauty director at Cosmopolitan.
Finding the best hypoallergenic makeup for sensitive skin can be a serious struggle. For those of us with sensitive skin, every attempt to try a new makeup trend is also another opportunity to introduce a contact dermatitis rash into our lives—even when using so-called hypoallergenic makeup.
That’s because, unfortunately, use of the term hypoallergenic isn’t regulated by the FDA. “There are no federal standards or definitions that govern the use of the term hypoallergenic,’” the agency says. “The term means whatever a particular company wants it to mean.” That means cosmetics brands can put it on basically any product without requiring FDA approval.
And, of course, everyone’s skin is different! You can be sensitive to pretty much any ingredient in makeup and skin-care products, so some trial and error is to be expected with new products—especially when you have sensitive skin.
If an experiment results in a breakout or rash, it may be tempting to cover it up with even more makeup—which usually tends to make matters worse. To help end this ongoing skin-irritation cycle, we talked to a few dermatologists to find out which makeup brands they typically recommend to patients with sensitive skin.
Even if you can’t 100% trust a hypoallergenic makeup product label, it’s helpful to know that there are still some general guidelines those with sensitive skin can use to stay more or less free from irritation. For instance, ingredients like fragrances, preservatives, and botanical extracts are more likely to cause issues, so be sure to use caution when trying out products that contain those. And, as SELF explained previously, opting for products that have fewer ingredients overall will reduce the chances that you’ll react badly to something in the product.
That’s one reason why many of the dermatologists SELF spoke to suggest using mineral-based makeup. Not only does it tend to contain fewer ingredients than other types of makeup, it’s also often noncomedogenic (meaning it’s less likely to clog pores).
If you have supersensitive skin but don’t want to give up your eyeshadow, highlighter, and bronzer, read on to learn more about some of the best makeup for sensitive skin. And, bonus: Many of these brands are available in the drugstore beauty aisle.
All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
18 Best Beauty Products to Use for Sensitive Skin
Itchy, red, dry, inflamed? Sensitive skin can be uncomfortable and, at times, an embarrassing problem for many women. Add in beauty products with the wrong ingredients and your skin might be causing you real pain. Here we’ve rounded up the best beauty products for sensitive skin, whether you’re dealing with dryness, acne, rosacea or allergies. These products, from skincare to makeup, will keep your skin healthy, happy and irritant free.
1. Clinique Redness Solutions Soothing Cleanser
This cleanser moisturises as it removes dirt, makeup and impurities from your face. The formula is perfect for sensitive skin as it works to calm redness and soothe irritation. Designed to preserve the skin’s moisture balance, you don’t have to worry about it drying out your problematic skin. As an added bonus, Clinique has even included a mild exfoliant in this product, meaning that you can buff away dead skin cells without causing more problems.
2. Natio Sensitive Skin Delicate Eye Cream
The eye area can be sensitive on even the best skin, so buying the right products for this area is a must. This light, non-irritating formula will fight under-eye puffiness in a gentle yet effective way. Working to also reduce the appearance of fine lines, this gem will restore brightness to your eye area making you look awake and youthful. The comforting cream is light enough to be worn under makeup where it will smooth and hydrate your delicate skin. Made with sweet almond, chamomile and cucumber, this eye cream is refreshingly sensitive.
3. VMV Hypoallergenics Red-Better Flare-Up Balm
VMV Hypoallergenics has created the perfect balm to soothe skin irritation and inflammation. Red-Better Flare-Up Balm prevents sensitive skin from deteriorating with its rich and deeply hydrating formula. Perfect for those who suffer from rosacea, this balm is free from aggressors such as steroids and contains sulphur which aids in the treatment of the condition. Any redness is sure to be soothed and your skin’s clarity and youth restored.
4. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths
Cetaphil has long been a go-to brand for those with sensitive skin. Thankfully, the brand now also offers cleansing wipes. Great for daily makeup removal, these wipes are dermatologist developed and tested. They are also fragrance-free and pH-balanced, meaning no nasty irritation or dryness that can come from general wipes. Pick a pack up and cleanse your skin with soothing ingredients without stripping it of its natural oils.
5. Burt’s Bees’ Sensitive Night Cream
Burt’s Bees’ Sensitive Night Cream is the perfect overnight moisturiser for sensitive skin. Fragrance-free and hypoallergenic, this product promises not to cause redness or irritation. Formulated with cotton extract, rice extract and Aloe, this cream will calm the skin and replenish its outer layer. On top of that, it also works to help minimise the effects of other irritants such as harsh soaps and cleansers.
6. Avene Instant Soothing Moisture Mask
Dry and sensitive skin go hand-in-hand so hydration is crucial. A mask is a great way to provide an instant hydrating boost to dry and flaky skin. Designed specifically for sensitive skin, this soothing mask contains hypo-allergenic and non-comedogenic ingredients. Richly hydrating and paraben-free this product will restore your skin’s natural barrier.
7. Clarisonic Sensitive Brush Head
If you love using an electronic cleansing brush, make sure it has a sensitive head, such as the Clarisonic Sensitive Brush Head. The soft bristles will be more accommodating to your easily distressed skin while still managing to buff it smooth and clean. Made with super soft, quick drying filament, the bristles are uniquely rounded and texturized to provide a comfortable clean. Be sure to pair it with a sensitive cleanser but if you are still experiencing irritation, give the cleansing brush a rest and try a soft wash cloth instead.
8. Aesop Camellia Nut Facial Hydrating Cream
Formulated with nut and plant extracts, this hydrating facial cream by Aesop is perfect for dry and sensitive skin types. The medium weight cream is designed to soothe irritation and even out patchiness. Made with soothing camellia nut, chamomile oil, and cold-pressed macadamia nut oil, this product penetrates deeply to soften skin. It’s also vitamin rich for added glow and radiance.
9. Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-Free Toner
Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-Free Toner is the perfect addition to your sensitive skincare routine. Made with whole flowers and pure extracts, this toner is alcohol-free and designed to soothe problem skin which is prone to irritation. This gentle product works to maintain the natural balance and integrity of your skin. It is made with key ingredients of Allantoin, Great Burdock and, of course, Calendula.
10. Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil
This legendary product has a cult following for a reason. Made from 100% pure organic argan oil it works to repair and replenish skin cells. Deeply hydrating and nourishing, this oil is rich in Vitamin E and essential fatty acids. Great for both sensitive and acne-prone skin, it is free from parabens and sulphates. Use on your face, neck, hair and anywhere that needs some hydration.
11. Lucas’ Pawpaw Ointment
This Australian favourite is a must for sensitive skin. Containing anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties, this ointment can be used for anything and everything. Use it as a hydrating base under lipstick or as a relief for eczema, dermatitis, minor burns, sunburn, cuts and more. Containing fresh fermented pawpaw, it is natural and perfect for dry, itchy skin. Carry a tube around with you for when your skin acts out on the go.
12. Marc Jacobs Beauty Twinkle Pop Stick Eyeshadow
Good quality, sensitive, makeup can be hard to find. Luckily, Marc Jacobs created this piece of eyeshadow wonder free from parabens and sulphates. This creamy Twinkle Pop Stick will give your eyes a shimmery pop without irritating your skin. Infused with pure alpine snow from the Swiss Alps, it will hydrate and soothe your lids. Available in several shades, you should have no trouble finding the perfect shadow for your look.
13. Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick
Though not made specifically for sensitive skin, this foundation is hydrating, weightless and highly-recommended. Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick is nude with a transparent base to blend seamlessly on your skin. Made with skin tone correcting pigments, it creates a natural look and isn’t too heavy for delicate faces. Containing shea butter, it locks in moisture while olive extracts leave skin soft and smooth.
14. Physicians Formula Organic Wear CC Cream
A product that combines colour correction and skin nourishing benefits? Yes please! Physicians Formula Organic Wear CC Cream is made from 100% natural ingredients. It works to even and brighten your complexion while keeping it healthy and free from irritation. Containing antioxidants, this product is hypo-allergenic and free from fragrance, parabens and GMOs. What more could a girl with sensitive skin ask for?
15. Inika Mineral Foundation
Inika Mineral Foundation is lightweight and 100% natural, making it a great choice for those with sensitive skin. The loose powder provides a flawless finish and doesn’t clog pores. Acting as a powder, foundation and concealer rolled into one, it also offers natural sun protection with SPF20 which is important for sensitive skin. It’s also suitable for those with acne, scarring or rosacea.
16. Napoleon Perdis Mesmer-Eyes Mascara
This mascara is great for women who are extra sensitive around the eye area. The paraben-free formula has also been ophthalmologically tested, meaning that it is safe for your eyes. It is also suitable for those of you who wear contact lenses. This product offers volume, length and curl while conditioning lashes with Vitamin E, panthenol and bamboo. Another bonus? It’s easy to apply and remove, so no harsh rubbing to take off your eye makeup off.
17. Al’chemy Unscented Very Gentle Shampoo
When you think of sensitive skin, you don’t often think of the scalp but chances are if your face and body are sensitive than your scalp is too. This unscented and gentle shampoo will soothe your scalp with its hypo-allergenic, pH balanced formula. Containing a moisturising base with active botanical cleansers, this beauty product is free from chemicals and toxins. It will work gently yet effectively to cleanse your sensitive scalp and leave it healthy and soothed.
18. Kora Organics Daily Hand Cream
Created by Aussie supermodel, Miranda Kerr, Kora Organics Daily Hand Cream is rich and replenishing. Created with a blend of anti-ageing avocado and olive oil, this product is certified organic. It also contains hydrating glycerine while avoiding irritating synthetic colours or fragrances, sulphates and parabens. This hand cream is perfect for re-hydrating the hands and nails of those with sensitive skin. It promises to leave them feeling soft, smooth and renewed.
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The 10 Best Mascaras for Sensitive Eyes, According to Customer Reviews
BRIGITTE SMITH Getty Images
For some, eyes and mascara just don’t play nice. One swipe of the wrong kind can leave you inflamed, teary, and bloodshot—not a good look.
But don’t worry—you’re not alone when it comes to feeling that (itchy, burny) pain. “Many women have dermatitis or allergies to eye makeup, particularly to mascara because it gets closest to the eyeballs,” says Jessica Lattman, MD, an ophthalmologist in New York. Dry eyes often factor in, she explains, because the condition prevents your eyes from flushing out offending substances.
Those who wear contacts and are allergy-prone are even more likely to react (thanks, Universe). But the good news is, you can still get lush-ish lashes if you’re willing to tweak your ways. Here, expert advice for how to wear mascara without putting your eyes through bloody hell, plus the best picks for sensitive eyes.
RELATED: I Tried Chrissy Teigen’s Trick for Super Long Lashes—and It Really Works
Do a DIY patch test
Before you place that wand near your eyes, advises Dr. Lattman, try the product out on your inner forearm (with a Q-tip swipe a little excess product from the base of the wand, then dab on skin). Cover with a piece of tape or adhesive bandage and check again at the end of the day. If you don’t notice any redness, you’re good to go.
Extension fibers? Proprietary mega-thickening formulas? Not for you. “The simpler the better,” says Dr. Lattman. “Less bells and whistles means less ingredients to irritate you.” On top of reading labels and looking for mascaras with the least amount of ingredients, opt for formulas that are mineral-free, hypoallergenic, and ophthalmologist-tested, Debra Jaliman, MD, a dermatologist based in New York City, tells Health.
Go basic black
Avoid colored mascaras, since these have dyes in them that are more likely to bother sensitive eyes, advises Dr. Jaliman. Besides, you are way too sophisticated to look like a 1980s prom queen.
RELATED: The 15 Best Volumizing Mascaras That’ll Make It Look Like You’re Wearing Falsies
Budge-proof sounds good, until you have to scrub yourself raw trying to get it (somewhat) off. “Waterproof formulas are harder to remove,” which means your sensitive eyes and skin don’t get a break, Dr. Lattman notes. Yes you may get the occasional smudge, but isn’t that better than itchy, irritated eyes? Or your contacts popping right out on you?
Ignore the beauty insiders
So the latest makeup vlogger commands you to wriggle that wand in super close to the lash line. Eye doctors beg you not to. “Avoid the base of the lashes and the lower lash line,” Dr. Lattman instructs. And P.S., when wearing eyeliner, skip the waterline (that flat inner rim of the eye inside the lash line) to avoid getting a bacterial eye infection.
Take. It. All. Off.
You know this. I know this. But we still sometimes crash without removing our eye makeup. (At least I do. You’re probably more disciplined.) Nothing good comes of this habit; it contributes to blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelid that leads to a gritty sensation and tearing. Dr. Lattman is a fan of gently scrubbing lashes and lids with Almay Oil-Free Gentle Eye Makeup Remover Pads ($9; amazon.com): “It’s like giving a shampoo to your lashes.”
RELATED: This Mascara Makes My Lashes Look so Incredible That I’ve Been Using it For 8 Years
Know when to say ‘It’s not me, it’s you’
Relationships change and that beloved mascara you’ve been loyal to since college may suddenly bug the hell out of you. “I have women who have used a product for years and say, ‘All of a sudden I have redness, irriation and a scaly appearance—that’s an allergy to the product.’” It’s time to part ways.
Oh and one other key tip from the doctor: “Throw mascara away every three months because bacteria can definitely build up and cause an infection.”
Start with these picks
Looking for a tube that fits the bill for finicky eyes? Below, you’ll find the 10 best mascaras for sensitive eyes. Keep in mind, though, that everyone has different sensitivities, so remember to start with a patch test, as the doctors recommended.
- Maybelline Full ‘N Soft Washable Mascara
- Clinique High Impact Mascara
- Tetyana Naturals 4D Fiber Lash Mascara
- Neutrogena Healthy Volume Mascara
- Tarte Cosmetics Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara
- 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Ultra Lengthening Mascara
- Lancome Definicils High Definition Mascara
- Honest Beauty Extreme Length Mascara + Lash Primer
- Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara
- Blinc Mascara
Maybelline Full ‘N Soft Washable Mascara
To buy: $8; amazon.com
You don’t have to break the bank for a gentle, non-irritating formula. This ophthalmologist-tested drugstore mascara is packed with vitamin E to soften and protect lashes, and is safe for contact lens-wearers. Plus, it’s super easy to remove, so lashes stay intact.
“I have been using this mascara for years,” says one shopper. “I have very sensitive eyes and this is one of the few that does not irritate them. I get compliments on a regular basis of how great my eyelashes look and have even had people ask me if I have eyelash extensions.”
Clinique High Impact Mascara
To buy: $20; sephora.com
Made without fragrance, mineral oil, or harmful parabens and phthalates, this mascara is ophthalmologist- and allergy-tested—so it meets all of Dr. Jaliman’s guidelines for sensitive eyes.
“I have yet to find a better mascara for the days I wear contacts. Every other mascara I’ve tried irritates my eyes and makes them water. This one doesn’t!” raves a reviewer.
Tetyana Naturals 4D Fiber Lash Mascara
To buy: $18; amazon.com
The non-toxic, hypoallergenic formula used in this natural mascara is gentle enough for sensitive eyes and skin, but still delivers eye-popping lift, length, volume, and definition. Need more proof? Believe the 1,500 near-perfect customer reviews.
“I have scarce and short eyelashes and this mascara gives me volume and length,” shares a customer. “Also, I wear contact lenses and have sensitive eyes and can wear it the whole day with no problem. Remove it with water or disposable facial wipes. I’m very satisfied with this eyelash mascara!!!”
RELATED: The Exact Products Hilary Duff Uses Every Day for Longer Lashes and Fuller Brows
Neutrogena Healthy Volume Mascara
To buy: $8; walmart.com
Another amazing drugstore pick, this dermatologist- and ophthalmologist-tested mascara features almond oil to nourish and protect, while olive oil conditions lashes to make them appear up to 400% fuller—all for an affordable price.
“This is the only mascara that doesn’t make my lashes fall out,” writes . “I love the natural look and formula too. No smudging, no flaking and no more teary eyes!”
Tarte Cosmetics Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara
To buy: $23; sephora.com
Not only does Tarte’s best-selling mascara curl, lengthen, volumize, and condition lashes, but the hypoallergenic formula is also made without mineral oils and gluten, so it’s safe for contact-wearers and those with sensitive skin or eyes.
“I’ve had to stop wearing mascara for the last few years because of extreme eye sensitivities. Between contact lenses and allergies, every mascara on the market seemed to make my eyes itch, water, or burn. I tried Lights, Camera, Lashes on a recommendation from an associate at my local store, and have now purchased several tubes without any reaction at all! My lashes look great—thick, full, and defined without being clumpy. I have no smudging or smearing, which, with contact lenses, is very unusual,” notes a shopper.
100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Ultra Lengthening Mascara
To buy: $26; dermstore.com
This all-natural mascara is formulated with provitamin B5, vitamin E, and oat and wheat proteins to boost lash health and offer a smudge-free, glamorous look for those with sensitive eyes.
“I’ve used this mascara for awhile now and I love it. It doesn’t clump and makes my lashes look beautiful. I love knowing I’m putting a healthier product on and near my eyes. I have sensitive eyes and this does not bother me at all,” says a reviewer.
Lancome Definicils High Definition Mascara
To buy: $28; sephora.com
Similar to a magnet, this formula clings to lashes through electrical attraction, ensuring a thick, even coat in just one swipe. The mascara is also ophthalmologist-tested and fragrance-free, making it perfect for contact lens-wearers and those with eye sensitivities.
“This is the best mascara I have ever used,” shares a customer. “I have extremely sensitive eyes and thin eyelashes and this mascara is amazing, lashes are instantly fuller and long, no clumping and no itchy or watery eyes, highly recommend.”
RELATED: Amazon Reviewers Say This Volumizing Mascara Will Stay Put During Your Workouts—and Sex
Honest Beauty Extreme Length Mascara + Lash Primer
To buy: $15; amazon.com
Acting as both a primer and a mascara, this 2-in-1 tube preps lashes for intense color and then follows up by creating volume, definition, and dramatic length. It’s made without parabens, paraffins, mineral oils, and fragrances, so it’s especially safe for those who suffer from dry eyes.
“I’ve tried dozens of mascaras and they allllll irritate my eyes… until now! This one is AMAZING, and the price point is perfect! With super sensitive eyes, I probably only wear mascara once a week if that, so that 3 month expiration rolls around quickly with a lot left. This one doesn’t hurt and it’s a great price so I HIGHLY recommend!!!” raves a buyer.
Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara
To buy: $28; sephora.com
This volumizing mascara is a healthy choice for eyes since it’s made with 99% natural ingredients and won’t irritate skin or damage lashes. The formula boasts nourishing and strengthening ingredients like shea butter and keratin, while still providing high-impact lift and definition for lush lashes.
“I have very sensitive eyes. Finding suitable products is very difficult. This is the first time in years I’m able to wear mascara. Ilia products are life altering for me. The gentle natural ingredients mean I don’t have red irritated eyes in seconds,” writes one reviewer.
To buy: $28; sephora.com
If taking off your mascara at the end of the day leaves you with red, itchy eyes, this tubing mascara is for you. The formula envelopes each lash in an individual tube—giving you crazy volume and definition without smudging or clumps—but can just as easily be removed with warm water before bed (no eye scrubbing required).
“I LOVE this mascara. Honestly, it doesn’t smudge, it doesn’t irritate my sensitive eyes, it is worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY of its cost,” shares a customer.
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- By Lisa Lombardi
- By Susan Brickell
Beauty products — everything from shampoo to makeup to cologne — can help you feel on top of your game. They can also cause irritated skin or an allergic reaction. A dermatology study published in 2010 found that more than a third of over 900 study participants had at least one allergic reaction to cosmetic ingredients.
Problems can range from simple rashes to full-blown allergic reactions. Symptoms can start right after you use something new — or after years of using a product with no problems.
There are two types of skin reactions to beauty products. One, called irritant contact dermatitis, happens when something actually damages your skin. Your skin might burn, sting, itch, or get red right where you used the product. You might get blisters and have oozing, especially if you scratch.
The other kind of reaction actually involves your immune system. It’s called allergic contact dermatitis and symptoms can include redness, swelling, itching, and hives. Your skin can get red and raw. You can get an allergic reaction on any part of your body, although it happens most often on the face, lips, eyes, ears, and neck.
It can be hard to tell the two types of reactions apart. You can even have a reaction that’s a combination of the two.
Fragrances and preservatives are often to blame. Even products that say they are “unscented” can have a fragrance used to cover up chemical scents. You may not smell it, but it’s there, and may cause an allergic reaction.
To be sure there’s no perfume, look for products marked “fragrance-free” or “without perfume.”
Almost any product that has water must have some preservatives. The most common are parabens, imidazolidinyl urea, Quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, phenoxyethanol, methylchloroisothiazolinone, and formaldehyde. All have been linked to skin allergies.
It’s now estimated that 44 per cent of all British adults are impacted by allergies, with 45 per cent of sufferers affected by more than one, according to Mintel. Hay fever is one of the most common, affecting 26 per cent of adults in the UK, with symptoms such as watery eyes, a puffy face and red nose not only negatively affecting your mood and lifestyle, but also your skin.
To help those struggling with sore and sensitive skin, we spoke to the experts to discover how to avoid and treat your symptoms, when coping with reactions to high pollen count and other allergies.
How can allergies affect your skin?
“When an allergen enters your system, the immune system overreacts, attacking it as it would bacteria or a virus,” explains Pamela Friedman, CEO of CV Skinlabs. “This prompts the release of histamine, which leads to symptoms like sneezing, itchy eyes, and sometimes, breathing difficulties.”
“But, that reaction inside your body can affect your skin, too, even if you didn’t actually touch something that you’re allergic to. In fact, skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and hives are likely to flare up right when your allergies do, as they are connected to the immune system.”
In particular, allergens like pollen can lead to dry skin, hives, redness and puffiness around your eyes. It can also affect your skin’s protective barrier, making your ultra-sensitive to your regular skincare – causing otherwise unseen allergic reactions. Skin allergies can even affect your scalp, causing it to itch or become dryer than usual.”
How to allergy-proof your skin:
Do more than take anti-histamines
“Although anti-histamines can reduce the sensation of itch, topical treatments are usually needed also,” reveals the consultant dermatologist Dr Justine Hextall. “The more the skin is scratched, the itchier the skin becomes as scratching tends to release more histamine. It’s therefore important to adapt your skincare regime too, to calm the skin and reduce ongoing irritation and itching.”
Look after your eyes
“It is important to look after the delicate skin of the eyelids and to avoid harsh cleansers and make-up removers as skin is extra sensitive,” says Hextall. Bazaar recommends Bioderma’s Sensibio H20 for removing your eye make-up, and a light cream, like Darphin’s Hydraskin Eye Refresh to soothe the sensitive skin around your eyes. Eye drops or mists can stop additional dryness too, so try Optrex’s Itchy Eye Drops, if you are struggling.
Provided by brands
Bioderma: SHOP NOW Darphin: SHOP NOW
Check your skincare labels
According to the sensitive-skin skincare brand Green People, “fragrance is the number one cause of adverse skin reactions to cosmetics”, so if you have skin sensitivities check the label and avoid it if you can.
Alcohol can play havoc with your skin too, as it dissolves the skin’s fatty protective layer, while essential oils, preservatives, parabens, colourants and lanolin may also make your skin more reactive.
The above might seem like a rather long list, but nowadays a lot of sensitive-skincare brands will announce their ‘free-from’ claims on their bottles. If not, check the ingredients list and search for any terms you don’t understand to make sure your current regime isn’t causing your skin more problems.
For a step-by-step routine without the hassle, try Green People’s Sensitive Skin Starter Pack – a set of three scent-free products, perfect for the most sensitive of skin types.
Repair your skin barrier
“Dry, sensitive skin often has a ‘leaky’ barrier that cannot hold on to moisture nor offer full protection against bacteria and potential allergens,” explains Bennett. “Looking after the skin barrier is very important as irritated skin is more vulnerable to irritation and allergy.”
“To keep the skin barrier as healthy as possible, I strongly recommend using the most gentle cleansers, such as CeraVe’s Hydrating Cleanser, or Cetaphil’s Gentle Cleanser. Another option is La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser, which is part of the first facial-skincare regime to be awarded the Seal of Approval by Allergy UK,” says Hextall. “All of the above will clean the skin without disrupting the skin barrier and causing further water loss.”
For your body, try Sanex’s Zero% shower gels which work to support and protect your skin’s natural pH barrier as you wash. They are free from parabens, colourants and fragrance, so are a good choice for anyone with sensitive skin.
Provided by brands
CeraVe: SHOP NOW Cetaphil: SHOP NOW La Roche-Posay: SHOP NOW
Wear sun protection
While you should be wearing sunscreen consistently to protect yourself from sunburn and the premature skin ageing sun damage can cause, the sun can also exacerbate skin allergy symptoms, so there’s even more reason to stay protected.
Focus on hydrating your skin
“Choose hydrating products to help any dry skin caused by irritation, especially around the nose area,” suggests the make-up artist Anchal Seda.
When fighting allergies, try Avène’s Hydrance Hydrating Emulsion, which was specifically designed for sensitive skin, or Aveeno’s Dermexa Daily Emollient Cream, as recommended by the Johnson & Johnson skincare expert Rebecca Bennett.
In general, look for products that contain soothing ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile and madecassoside, as well as those specifically known for hydration such as ceramides, humectants and shea butter.
Your face can feel swollen after a day of suffering with allergy symptoms, so Seda suggests using a cooling sheet mask to calm any irritations, such as the Yes to Cucumbers Mask. A jade roller or other facial massage tool, such as the White Lotus Jade Roller, can also be used to eliminate puffiness by encouraging better circulation – just ensure not to apply too much pressure, especially if you are already struggling with some inflammation.
Provided by brands
Yes To: SHOP NOW White Lotus: SHOP NOW
Not being equipped can cause unnecessary discomfort around your nose as toilet tissue can be rough on skin that’s been made sensitive by overblowing. Always pack tissues with you, preferably ones that contain alleviating aloe vera, to stop your nose getting especially sore, and try using a spray, like Benadryl’s Benacort Nasal Spray to help fight inflammation and congestion.
Invest in an air purifier
You can also avoid allergens following you into your home by changing your clothes at the end of the day and by showering before bed so you’re sleep is less disturbed.
You may also want to invest in an air purifier, for example Philips’ Air Purifier 2000i, which captures pollutants and allergens from the air. That way you limit the amount of indoor pollution your skin and immune system have to fight each day, leading to a better complexion, more restful sleep and a healthier body.
How to relieve itchy skin
Everyone gets an itch once in a while. However, if an itch lasts for more than six weeks, it is considered a chronic itch and is more likely to disrupt your life. To help soothe itchy skin, follow these tips from dermatologists.
There are many reasons for itchy skin. It could be the result of a skin condition, such as eczema, shingles, hives, or psoriasis, or it could be a sign of a contagious disease, like scabies or ringworm.
To help soothe itchy skin, dermatologists recommend the following tips:
Apply a cold, wet cloth or ice pack to the skin that itches. Do this for about five to 10 minutes or until the itch subsides.
Take an oatmeal bath. This can be very soothing, especially for blisters or oozing skin due to chickenpox, hives, poison ivy or sunburn.
Moisturize your skin. Always choose a moisturizer free of additives, fragrances and perfumes.
Apply topical anesthetics that contain pramoxine.
Apply cooling agents, such as menthol or calamine. You could also place your moisturizer in the refrigerator to help achieve this cooling effect.
While treating your skin, avoid scratching, as this will further irritate your skin and could increase your risk for a skin infection. It’s also a good idea to take steps to help prevent your skin from itching.
To help prevent itching, dermatologists recommend the following tips:
Bathe with lukewarm – not hot – water. Try to limit your bath or shower to just 10 minutes.
Always use “fragrance-free” lotions, soaps and detergents to minimize irritation. Be wary of products labeled “unscented,” as they might still have chemicals that can irritate your skin.
As directed by your dermatologist, apply medications before moisturizing. Then, apply your moisturizer to all areas of your skin, including areas treated with medication.
Wear loose-fitting, cotton clothes. Wool and other rough-feeling fabrics can irritate your skin, causing intense itching.
Avoid extreme temperature changes. Maintain a relatively cool, neutral humidity environment in your house. Use a humidifier during winter if you are prone to dry skin and eczema.
Reduce stress, as stress can make your itch worse.
If your itch does not go away with home treatment, see a board-certified dermatologist. Some people have more than one reason to scratch, and a dermatologist can work with you to find the cause and relieve your itching.
Related AAD resources
10 reasons your skin itches and how to get relief
10 reasons your scalp itches and how to get relief
10 ways to get relief from chronic hives
8 reasons your groin itches and how to get relief
8 ways to relieve itchy psoriasis
Plants that can make you itch
Home remedies: How to relieve itchy eczema
Ever used a new scrub or moisturizer—only to be left with red, itchy skin? The ingredients in your products could be to blame. “Most ingredients that exfoliate, cleanse, or strip the skin can be potentially irritating,” says Ron Robinson, a cosmetic chemist and the founder of BeautyStat.com.
What’s more, some people are much more sensitive to certain allergy-inducing ingredients than others, says Dendy Engelman, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. “It’s nothing the patient is doing wrong,” she says. “Most often it’s genetics or what they were exposed to—or not exposed to—during their childhood.”
Before you try a new skin-care product, be aware of these common irritants.
1. Salicylic Acid
” acid is the same active ingredient in aspirin,” explains Engelman. “And three to five percent of the population is sensitive to aspirin, too.” Salicylic acid is usually used to treat blemishes, but it’s possible to experience hives or inflammation from using it. Engelman recommends benzoyl peroxide to target acne control instead if salicylic acid irritates you. Arithmetic Acne Control Complex ($30, arithmeticproducts.com) provides a low dose of benzoyl so it’s perfect for sensitive skin.
RELATED: How to Exfoliate Every Single Body Part—the Right Way
Aluminum is commonly found in deodorant and antiperspirant because it helps reduce sweating, says Engelman. But because it’s a salt, it can cause redness, itching, and even swelling. “Another alternative is magnesium oil, which uses ninasium chloride to prevent sweating, or aluminum-free deodorants.” We like Ancient Minerals Magnesium Oil ($20, amazon.com) or Desert Essence Natural Roll-On Deodorant ($5.75, desertessence.com).
3. Glycolic Acid
“This acid is so small that it’s very good at penetrating into the skin,” says David Bank, M.D., a dermatologist in Mount Kisco, New York. “On the efficacy side, it’s great. But that rapid entry can make it more irritating.” The result is mild side effects—redness and drying. ” is lactic acid, physically larger so it releases more gradually over time.” Try Philosophy Miracle Worker Miraculous Anti-Aging Lactic Acid Cleanser & Mask ($35, ulta.com).
“When people use the word sulfates, they’re particularly referring to sodium lauryl sulfate,” says Bank. “These detergents are found in cleansers and shampoos and cause redness and dryness on sensitive, eczema-prone skin.” For a gentler treatment, he recommends sulfate-free products, like Aveeno Sulfate-Free Shampoo ($6.49, aveeno.com) or any shampoo containing sodium laureth sulfate instead.
“Retinol still remains the gold standard for anti-aging, reversing sun damage, and stimulating collagen,” says Bank. “The major drawback is that it can be on the drying and irritating side.” However, he adds that there are rarely toxic reactions, but you may experience uncomfortable irritation. Lancer Younger: Pure Youth Serum ($275, lancerskincare.com) is a gentler anti-aging alternative.
RELATED: How to Spot (and Treat) Eczema
” are going to be in almost any product that contains water,” says Engelman. The most common ones to look for on the label are parabens, imidazolidinyl urea, Quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, phenoxyethanoil, methylchloroisothiazolinone, and formaldehyde. These ingredients, of course, prevent bacteria buildup (making products last longer), but they can cause an allergic reaction—swelling or hives—in a small percentage of the population. If you find yourself allergic, opt for all-natural brands like John Masters Organics and Tata Harper.
“Fragrances are the number one cause of allergies on the skin,” says Bank. “Fragrance” doesn’t actually refer to perfume, but chemical compounds that make products smell better. “Fragrances are in so many things nowadays,” says Engelman. “Even if it says ‘unscented,’ they are included to mask the smell of the formulation.” Those who are allergic may suffer from skin swelling, itching, and in severe cases, your eyes can even swell shut. Robinson recommends fragrance-free alternatives that not only promise ‘no smell’ but say on the label that they have no added fragrances.
How to Treat a Reaction
First off, play it safe. “If you think your skin is sensitive, apply a patch test to the back of your arm before using a new product on your face or body,” says Robinson. “If no rash or redness appears after 24 hours, use the product as intended.”
If you still experience irritation, Engelman recommends mild topical steroids like cortisone, or oral anti-histamines, like Allegra or Zyrtec, to reduce swelling, redness, and itching. “If the reaction is more severe, oral steroids may be required to reduce the allergic response,” she says. And if you ever experience any swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat, difficulty breathing, or hives, seek immediate medical attention.
RELATED: Does Drinking Water Really Give You Glowing Skin?
Is Your Skin Prone to Allergic Reactions? You NEED to Read This
If you have sensitive skin, you know how frustrating it can be.
As much as you want to try new products, it’s not always safe to do so.
“What if I break out?” is a question that’s often asked.
You may have heard the term “hypoallergenic skincare” being thrown around.
You may figure that these products are a safe middle ground.
But not so fast.
There’s more to this than meets the eye, which I’ll talk about in a bit.
You’re not alone!
Many people attribute this claim to reasons ranging from skin type to dermatological disorders for their declaration of sensitivity in the skin.
If the truth behind “hypoallergenic” beauty confuses you, I completely understand.
Through my experience as an esthetician, I’ve spent years navigating through a myriad of beauty and skincare products to ensure safety.
I’m also familiar with plenty of natural skincare products, which are less likely to cause a reaction.
So if you have sensitive skin or are prone to allergic reactions, I’ve got plenty of solutions for you.
But first, let’s learn a little more.
There’s a lot to remember and learn, and I hope this info works as an easy-to-understand guide to choosing safe products that won’t irritate your skin.
Well, when a product is packaged as “hypoallergenic,” it doesn’t mean it’s foolproof against allergies.
This is what many people think it means.
It also doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to be gentler on your skin.
What does it mean, then?
“Hypoallergenic” just means it’s less likely to cause allergic reactions in most people.
See the difference?
Allergies And Your Skin
One of the most common skin reactions to beauty products is called contact dermatitis.
According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, this refers to an inflammation of the skin resulting from direct contact with a substance.
There are two different types.
Irritant contact dermatitis is the most common and is caused when substances such as chemicals or solvents irritate the skin.
The exposure produces red, often more painful, patches on the involved skin areas.
Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when a substance triggers an immune response.
Common culprits are nickel, latex, perfumes, dyes, topical medications, and cosmetics.
On the other hand, atopic dermatitis (a type of eczema) occurs as a result of genetic predisposition.
Signs of contact dermatitis include:
- Red rash, bumps, or a burn-like rash on the skin
- Itchy, painful, or burning skin
- Crusting or oozing
- Blisters and draining fluid
As for sensitive skin, whether you’re trying a new product, generally overheated, or susceptible to razor bumps after shaving, you probably have a reaction to just about anything.
A wide array of triggers can contribute to sensitivity.
Genetics, environment, weather, hormones, hard water, and various household products can all be at the root of reactions in skin that’s prone to sensitivity.
The environmental factor most strongly associated with sensitive skin was stress.
Signs of sensitive skin include:
- Reactive skin in the form of pustules, skin bumps, or skin erosions
- Dryness, flakiness, or peeling
- Cracked or scaly skin
- Redness and irritation
- Stinging or burning
- Prone to breakouts
- Swelling, burning, or tenderness
Personally, I treat sensitive skin and allergy-prone skin the same way – because those with sensitive skin often experience allergic reactions.
Where The FDA Stands On “Hypoallergenic”
As of now, there are no federal standards or definitions governing the use of the term.
Which boils down to the fact that any particular company who wants to use it to influence consumers can do just that.
Manufacturers of cosmetics labeled as “hypoallergenic” are not required to submit substantiation of their claims to the FDA.
You’re probably asking yourself, “If the U.S. government doesn’t have standards that products must meet in order to put ‘hypoallergenic’ on the label, how do we know what we’re really getting?”
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to guarantee that any skincare or beauty products won’t cause an allergic reaction.
Buzzwords to Look Out For
This isn’t a guarantee something won’t cause an allergic reaction.
Its definition varies widely, and you should still take precautions with these products if you have any reservations.
You may think a product marketed as “unscented” won’t have a detectable odor.
But it may contain fragrances to mask its natural scent.
Since fragrance is the most common allergen in skincare products, be on the lookout for things labeled as “fragrance-free” instead.
It’s no secret that products marketed as “natural” are a big hit lately.
Much like with “hypoallergenic,” there is no FDA standard for the term “natural.”
This means any brand can use it however it wants, which can be misleading to consumers.
Just because a product may contain a few essential oils doesn’t mean there aren’t chemicals or synthetic ingredients, so use caution and do your research before purchasing.
This is a big buzzword because, really, who would actually choose to put toxic ingredients on their body?
Well, it’s more complicated than that.
A “toxin” is considered to be an antigenic poison or a venom derived from a plant or animal.
Toxic products are defined as harmful and can lead to serious health issues in extreme cases.
But fear-mongering in advertising is incredibly prevalent in the beauty industry – trust me, I know.
I’ve spent a lot of time determining the safety of many beauty products.
But can I just be honest?
Toxins are a real thing, but it’s highly unlikely the chemicals found in your favorite facial cleanser aren’t going to seriously harm you.
Patch It Up
A “patch test” is a method used to determine whether a specific substance causes sensitivity or an allergic reaction on your skin.
If you have sensitive skin or are prone to allergies, I can’t stress enough how important a patch test is!
Here’s how to do it: test the product on a small patch of skin, like behind your ear or on the back of your wrist, and wait 24-48 hours to see if you develop a reaction.
If you don’t notice any signs of irritation, you’re good to go.
If your skin reacts angrily, don’t use the product.
(If you’ve already purchased the full size, check out the return policy.)
Better to be safe than sorry. 🙂
The most important thing you can do when choosing new cosmetics or skincare products is to pay attention.
Keep track of which products have caused allergic reactions in the past, and observe how products at the store are labeled.
For example, steering clear of parabens could be a good rule of thumb.
Remember, most of the time it’s the fragrances, preservatives, or botanicals that will cause a skin reaction, even if you are using a product that’s labeled as “hypoallergenic.”
Choose a product line with a SHORT list of ingredients.
The reason for this is that there will be fewer ingredients that your skin can potentially react to.
Things like shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, and jojoba oil can minimize the risk of an allergic reaction to your skin.
Here are some of my favorite allergy-friendly ingredients that work well with sensitive skin!
- Safflower oil is a carrier oil that hydrates the skin.
- It’s great for preventing moisture loss in hair as well.
- Safflower oil is a favorite in natural skincare because it’s an alternative to synthetic emollients.
- Its anti-inflammatory properties make it beneficial for psoriasis, eczema, and acne.
- It also protects against pollution and toxins in the air, which can damage the skin.
- Safflower oil is also used in cooking and available in supplement form.
Passion Flower Extract
- Passion flower extract is full of nutrients that are good for the skin, including vitamins A and C, and essential fatty acids.
- Its known for protecting the skin against environmental stressors.
- Passion flower extract is great for keeping the skin looking firm and youthful.
- It reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and keeps the skin smooth and plump.
- It hydrates and moisturizes the skin without clogging pores, and it’s soothing and calming for dry, itchy, and irritated skin.
- Flaxseeds are the best sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids.
- These fatty acids help improve skin’s elasticity and texture.
- They smooth the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles by helping to repair skin cells, which also benefit skin’s overall health.
- Flaxseed oil is ideal for treating skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema, by reducing redness, itching, inflammation, and irritation.
- It’s used in supplements to boost heart health, relieve constipation, and even prevent cancer.
- It helps protect the skin against external forces (i.e. cold/dry weather, wind), making it an excellent temporary anti-irritant.
- Allantoin helps to heal damaged skin and is even believed to stimulate new tissue growth.
- Skin is softened and soothed while cell regeneration is stimulated.
Lemongrass Essential Oil
- Lemongrass essential oil is an excellent natural toner and astringent due to its antiseptic properties.
- It purifies pores for even and glowing skin.
- It is also a great ingredient for a DIY deodorant as it controls odor and has a pleasant fragrance.
- Lemongrass essential oil is beneficial to hair as it strengthens hair follicles and soothes an itchy or irritated scalp.
If you ever need to look up a specific ingredient, check out my skincare ingredient dictionary!
Finding The Right Makeup
“Hypoallergenic” isn’t limited to skincare products – it covers cosmetics, too!
Makeup that won’t irritate skin or trigger allergies usually contains few artificial ingredients.
Natural and organic products are usually free of the dyes, fragrance, alcohol, parabens, mercury, and talc most other products contain.
Those are all well-known skin irritants, and I recommend steering clear of them if you’re concerned.
I personally love, love, love mineral makeup and powder for facial cosmetics.
And remember: Free samples are your friend.
Don’t be afraid to ask for them!
They’re the simplest, most cost-effective way to figure out what works best for your skin.
Don’t forget to check the expiration date.
Just like food, cosmetics have a shelf life.
Makeup past the printed date will have a greater chance of causing an allergic reaction and will also be less effective.
And, don’t forget to take off your makeup every time you wear it!!
Improvements In The Industry
Since there are no accepted tests, guidelines, restrictions, or rules of any kind when it comes to what “hypoallergenic” really means and how it can be marketed (scary!), it lies on the consumer to do the homework at this point in time.
I know – who has time for this?!
But hopefully, this won’t always be the case.
Hypoallergenic Claims, an article published in Chemical & Engineering News, cites that medical professionals call for regulation of the terms ‘hypoallergenic’ and ‘dermatologist recommended/tested’ on product labels.
For professionals in the skin and beauty industry like myself, this is a huge relief!
A step in the right direction for sure.
The researchers at Chemical & Engineering News tested 187 cosmetic products for 80 of the most common known allergens.
One finding became very apparent: there are too many skin care products that tote the “hypoallergenic,” “dermatologist recommended,” fragrance-free,” and “paraben-free” claims in a meaningless way.
In fact, 89 percent of the products contained at least one known problem allergen on their ingredient list, 63 percent contained two or more, and 11 percent contained five or more. Yikes!
A hypoallergenic label on a skincare product simply means that product is probably unlikely to cause an allergic reaction compared to products labeled otherwise.
But remember: it’s not a guarantee.
While hypoallergenic products contain fewer potential allergens or substances that trigger allergic reactions, the products are not allergy-proof.
It’s impossible to guarantee that a product will never cause an allergic reaction because there are so many potential allergens and many people are allergic to different things, and their allergies are triggered by many variants.
When choosing products, just be mindful of ingredient lists and don’t take all the terms I mentioned above at face value.
It’s up to you to carefully read and consider the labels and ingredients in the products you choose to buy.
As always, do your research and feel free to use this blog as a guide during your next shopping trip!
If you have questions or concerns about your skin allergies or sensitivities, always consult with a dermatologist or licensed esthetician.
Beauties, do you struggle with skin sensitivities and/or allergies? What ingredients and products have worked for you? Share with us in the comments!
Last updated by Alana at January 31, 2018.