Sensitive Skin 101: A Beginner’s Guide To Skincare & Makeup For Sensitive

If you thought navigating the world of skincare products was confusing, try being one of the estimated 45 percent of Americans who has sensitive skin. Just when you think you’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t, your skin suddenly decides it hates that go-to product! But don’t worry: there’s plenty of help available to make caring for sensitive skin a little less daunting.

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In this guide, we’ll explain what exactly sensitive skin is and talk about some triggers that might be causing your specific issues. Then we’ll cover some great ways to manage those pesky symptoms and talk about the best types of makeup for sensitive skin too. So settle in: after this lesson, you’ll be ready to take on the world as a more confident person with more beautiful, healthy-looking skin!

What is sensitive skin?

Sensitive skin is a common skin condition. It’s actually the most common reason people go to the dermatologist, according to Dr. Dennis Gross, founder of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare and creator of one of our favorite gentle cleansers (the Clarifying Cleanser with White Flower), so it’s important to understand what it really means to have sensitive skin and what you can do about it.

If your face reacts when exposed to harsh weather conditions or irritants like sunscreen or makeup remover, chances are you’ve got sensitive skin—but there’s more than one way for your face to react in these situations! You may find yourself with redness or irritation on occasion if:

You’re allergic/sensitive to certain ingredients (e.g., fragrance) used in skincare products
Your pores are clogged with oil build-up from overactive sebaceous glands (a result of hormone fluctuation due to puberty)
Your body produces excess sebum as a result of stress or dehydration which can lead to blackheads and acne breakouts

Sensitive skin triggers

If you have sensitive skin, it’s important to know what causes your reactions. There are many different substances that can cause reactions in people with sensitive skin. These include:
Alcohol (in some products)
Surfactants (soap-based cleansers)

Skincare for sensitive skin

Select gentle cleansers.
Choose non-irritating moisturizers.
Look for products that are fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, and non-comedogenic (a fancy way of saying “won’t clog your pores”).

What about makeup?

The first step in finding makeup that works for sensitive skin is to know what ingredients you’re looking for and which ones to avoid.

As with skincare, less is usually more when it comes to makeup. The less product you use, the less irritation you’ll experience. Be sure to look at the ingredient list on your products before buying them (and research any unfamiliar ingredients). Look out for these potential irritants:

Fragrance – This can be very irritating; fragrance-free versions of products may be available if you’re concerned about this.
Alcohol – This can cause dryness and burning sensations when applied to skin or eyes; avoid products containing alcohol as much as possible.
Parabens – These preservatives can trigger allergic reactions, rashes, and other problems in some people; look for paraben-free options instead (this includes but isn’t limited to methylparaben).

Sensitive skin can be a challenge but it doesn’t have to be.

While your skin may be a bit more sensitive, you can still have fun with makeup. Just make sure to choose products that are gentle and understand that some things are just not going to work for your skin. For example, if you find something in the store and it says “for normal/oily types” or something like that, chances are it’s not going to be good for your sensitive skin either.

If you’re unsure what will work best for your skin type and needs, speak with a sales associate at a drugstore or department store who is knowledgeable about skincare. They should be able to point out which types of products work best with people who have similar concerns as yours!

The same goes with choosing makeup colors: if someone has light eyes but uses dark eyeliner because they think it looks better on them (or vice versa), chances are they’ll end up looking sickly instead of unique. So before buying any kind of product—makeup or skincare—make sure that whatever color(s) look best on others also look good enough on yourself!


Sensitive skin can be a huge challenge, but you don’t have to give up hope. With the right skincare routine and makeup products for sensitive skin, you’ll be able to manage your sensitivities and enjoy beautiful, healthy skin. We hope this article has given you all the info you need to get started on your journey!



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