When the ingredient list for most cosmetics looks like chapter books in another language, it can be tough for anybody to maintain healthy skin. It can be extra difficult for people with a heightened sensitivity, constantly worrying about which products will cause redness, blemishes and other adverse reactions. Luckily, you can have sensitive and healthy skin, as long as you know which ingredients are best for you, and which might cause irritation. Here’s a list of five easy-to-spot ingredients that you can avoid, especially if you have sensitive skin.
If you have sensitive skin, you might experience a reaction to the dyes included in many cosmetic products. Using harsh dyes might lead to contact dermatitis, a red, itchy rash caused by contact with a harsh substance. According to the Mayo Clinic, if you have a heightened sensitivity, many substances can cause such reactions—such as soaps, cosmetics and jewelry—and dyes make the list. Contact dermatitis can be treated with anti-itch creams and wet compresses, but are best treated by identifying and avoiding triggers. If you have sensitive skin, it’s best to stay away from dyes in your skincare products.
What does it even mean when “fragrance” is listed in the ingredients? As of now, there’s no way to specify which ingredients are pumped into artificial fragrances. It could contain hundreds of different chemical components, and your skin could react differently to any one of them. If you have sensitive skin, dermatologists recommend opting for a product “fragrance-free.”
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, parabens are chemicals commonly used as preservatives in cosmetics, and they’re still being tested by FDA scientists for their safety. There are a plethora of reasons you should avoid parabens in any of your products – but, if you have sensitive skin, these preservatives raise a higher red flag. They can cause irritation, and can actually damage your skin. When shopping for cosmetics, try sticking to products that are listed as “paraben-free.”
Have you noticed how some shampoos are now sold as “sulfate-free”? That’s because sulfates strip the hair of their natural oils––and this goes for skincare too. Many face washes and cleansers contain sulfates, which might dry out your skin and cause irritation. If you have a skin sensitivity, sulfates should be avoided.
While exfoliating your skin can be very healthy, scrubbing might cause irritation. Instead of a harsh scrub, try using exfoliants with fruit enzymes. Dermatologists also recommend cleansing with glycol or salicylic acid, once or twice a week.