Top Tips for Sensitive Skin

Have sensitive or sensitised skin? Here are our do’s (and don’ts!) to help keep it calm and balanced: 

  • Identify your triggers so you know what to avoid.
  • Don’t OVER cleanse. A single cleanse in the morning and a double cleanse at night, if you’re wearing makeup and SPF, is plenty.
  • Opt for gentle cleansers rather than overly foaming textures. Cream cleansers are great for sensitive skin.
  • Don’t over-exfoliate and stop exfoliation temporarily if your skin is inflamed.
  • Outside of using a face cloth, try and avoid manual exfoliation. Opt for gentle chemical exfoliants such as PHAs (polyhydroxy acids).
  • Add new products to your routine, slowly. Especially when it comes to retinoids and exfoliating acids.
  • Avoid excess sun exposure and wear SPF daily, all year round. Mineral-based sunscreens using zinc or titanium dioxide are better tolerated by sensitive skin.
  • Keep it hydrated with serums, mists and moisturisers. Brilliant hydrating ingredients include hyaluronic acid (always apply on damp skin with a moisturiser on top), urea, glycerin and squalane.
  • If your skin is feeling particularly sore, use cleansers that can easily be washed away with water rather than a flannel which may cause further irritation due to friction.
  • Incorporate hyaluronic acid. Apply to damp skin and always make sure to use a moisturiser on top.
  • Avoid long, hot showers and use lukewarm water to cleanse your skin at the sink.
  • Avoid harsh soaps and astringent toners.
  • Strengthen your skin’s barrier with gentle ingredients such as ceramides, centella asiatica, cholesterol, beta-glucan and sodium PCA.
  • If your skin is very sore, use an occlusive balm on affected areas, over the top of your moisturiser. This is also a great way to reduce friction from mask-wearing.
  • Opt for fragrance-free and essential oil-free products wherever possible. Unless your skin can tolerate them. There will always be exceptions to this rule as products can be formulated to be gentler on the skin.
  • Avoid products with a high concentration of simple alcohols (in the first 7 ingredients of the INCI list). For ease, these will be listed as: alcohol denat/denatured alcohol and isopropyl alcohol. The caveat being chemical exfoliants, as alcohol is often used to stabilise the formula.
  • Avoid drying clay masks. Choose cream textures instead.
  • Keep your routine simple until your skin can tolerate higher strength actives.
  • Be gentle with your skin. Think of it like a delicate piece of ribbon, rather than a brick wall.

Example routine for sensitive/sensitised skin: 

  • Gentle cleanser
  • Hydrating/Soothing mist
  • Eye cream – if using
  • Hydrating/Soothing serum
  • Moisturiser
  • Facial Oil – if using
  • SPF (AM only, of course!)


Product recommendations for sensitive/sensitised skin: 

  • Avène Skin Recovery Cream
  • Pestle & Mortar Pure Hyaluronic Serum
  • Clinique Super City Block SP40
  • Curél – the entire range is suitable for sensitivity
  • Darphin Intral Daily Rescue Serum
  • DeliKate® Recovery Cream
  • Dermalogica UltraCalming™ Cleanser
  • Jordan Samuel Skin The Aftershow Treatment Cleanser for Sensitive Skin
  • Sunday Riley Juno Antioxidant + Superfood Face Oil
  • Pai British Summer Time SPF30
  • Ren Evercalm™ Overnight Recovery Balm
  • Zelens Power D Treatment Drops


Looking for a full routine? Check out The Sensitive Face Box for a curated kit of products designed to soothe and hydrate sensitive skin. 

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