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If you have sensitive skin, you’re likely used to carefully reading the ingredients list of all your personal care products. The smallest amount of certain ingredients can cause problems for men with sensitive skin. Ingredients like oils, parabens, chemicals and preservatives are all commonly found in skincare but can wreak havoc on sensitive skin.
Moreover, harmful ingredients that can potentially damage skin can even be absorbed into the body, making people more susceptible to health problems. Choosing the right face moisturizer for sensitive skin makes a big difference in both the health and appearance of your skin and your overall health. After all, what we put on our skin matters as much as what we put into our bodies.
Some people with sensitive skin may not even know the ingredients that can trigger a reaction like redness or irritation. That’s why many dermatologists and skin care experts recommend the patch test, a simple way to determine if ingredients in a new skincare product will activate your sensitive skin. Just use a small amount on your arm or leg or an area that can be covered if sensitivity occurs. Wait a few hours after application to see if any redness or issues develop; if so, you know this is a product to avoid.
Now that you know more about sensitive skin and how to keep it healthy, let’s look at the 19 best face moisturizers for sensitive skin.
1. Blu Atlas Face Moisturizer
This anti-aging face moisturizer from Blu Atlas nourishes all skin types but is especially effective for sensitive skin. With soothing ingredients like seaweed and mango seed butter, this ultra-hydrating face moisturizer targets dry, dull skin and brings it back to life. Vitamin C gives Blu Atlas Face Moisturizer an extra antioxidant power boost. The active ingredient in vitamin C, ascorbic acid, helps skin combat free radicals and harsh elements and keeps the natural skin barrier strong and resilient.
All Blu Atlas products are vegan, cruelty free, and have no artificial fragrances. Even better, their products are 96-100% naturally derived, so you know what you’re putting on your skin is healthy and free of harsh chemicals. You can feel good about what you’re putting on your skin, knowing you’re protecting it and looking and feeling your best.
2. Paula’s Choice Redness Relief Moisturizer
This moisturizer from Paula’s Choice works great for sensitive skin that feels dry, tight, and in need of hydration. Made with glycerin, jojoba protein, and wheat protein, Redness Relief Moisturizer is gentle enough for sensitive skin and even skin that’s prone to rosacea. Lightly textured and hydrating, it soothes sensitive skin and red areas while replenishing the skin.
Paula’s Choice Redness Relief Moisturizer is an excellent night-time moisturizer. It adds hydration and promotes skin health while you sleep. For daytime, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen to keep skin protected from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. This product is paraben and fragrance free.
3. Farmacy Honey Halo Ultra-Hydrating Ceramide Moisturizer
Honey Halo Moisturizer from Farmacy improves skin’s barrier function. It contains honey, which is a natural humectant with enzymes that penetrate skin and bring hydration to the underlying layers. Honey moisturized skin is plumper, softer, and more radiant. Honey’s enzymes also make it a natural exfoliator, allowing the skin to easily shed dead skin cells and avoid clogged pores.
Farmacy Honey Halo Ultra-Hydrating Ceramide Moisturizer also contains fig fruit and osmolytes, which help the skin manage water balance and protect skin when external conditions stress it. With a luscious, sweet honey fragrance, this moisturizer will moisturize and protect sensitive skin and be a delightful step in your skincare routine. Farmacy’s products are paraben and phthalate free.
4. Clinique Moisture Surge 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator
Because Clinique’s formula is oil-free but also locks in moisture to help skin thrive, it’s one of the 19 best face moisturizers for sensitive skin. With aloe and hyaluronic acid, Moisture Surge 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator infuses skin with soothing moisture and keeps it locked in for 100 hours. It also contains a blend of vitamins C and E to give skin an antioxidant boost and protection from environmental factors like dry air, wind, pollution, and sun.
As a gel-based moisturizer, this formula glides onto the skin effortlessly and sinks in quickly. While it’s gentle enough for any skin type, it’s best suited for drier skin. This formula is paraben, fragrance, oil, and alcohol free.
5. Honest Hydrogel Cream
Made with squalane, the natural oil found in skin’s moisture barrier, this formula protects skin by locking in moisture underneath the skin’s top layer. It also contains jojoba esters, which act as a natural softening agent for the skin and lock in moisture. Combined with hyaluronic acid, which removes the skin’s dead cells and promotes elasticity, these combined ingredients are safe for sensitive skin but will also give you the moisture and skin nourishment you need.
Honest Hydrogel Cream is made without parabens, silicones, mineral oil, synthetic fragrances, and dyes. It’s also vegan and cruelty free.
6. Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizing Cream with Squalane
Another squalane-based moisturizer is Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizing Cream. In this lightweight formula, glacial glycoprotein assists the skin in preventing water loss and provides long lasting—up to 24 hours—hydration.
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizing Cream is designed for all skin types but is one of the 19 best face moisturizers for skin because of its gentle ingredients, like glycerin. Because it’s fragrance free and made without harsh ingredients, it gives skin the proper hydration it needs without the addition of heavy oils that clog pores. This product is also made without parabens and is cruelty free.
7. Tula Calming Sensitive Skin Moisturizer
If redness, dryness, and skin reacting to different ingredients is an issue for you, try Tula Skincare’s Calming Sensitive Skin Moisturizer. It contains probiotic extracts, colloidal oatmeal, and aloe, three soothing and redness-relieving ingredients that protect the skin. There’s also the cooling and soothing cucumber and ginger extracts, which help skin look and feel refreshed.
Made with moisturizing squalane and formulated without fragrance, this moisturizer is safe for sensitive skin and designed to not clog pores or cause oil buildup. This formula does not contain phthalates, mineral oil, silicone, parabens, or sulfates.
8. Aveeno Oat Gel Moisturizer
Prebiotic oat and feverfew, two ingredients that soothe sensitive skin, relieve redness, and calm irritated skin, are part of this facial moisturizer by Aveeno. Oat Gel Moisturizer soothes irritation while strengthening the skin’s barrier at the same time by delivering hydrating moisture.
Designed for people with sensitive skin and free of fragrance, dyes, parabens, alcohol, and phthalates, this moisturizer keeps skin hydrated for 24 hours. Even the most sensitive skin won’t react to the gentle ingredients in this oil-free moisturizer. Because it’s gel-based, it’s ideal for anyone with acne because it won’t clog pores and add to the oil build-up on the skin. You’ll be left with nourished skin that looks more radiant.
9. SkinCeuticals Daily Moisture
Ideal for sensitive skin and those with oily skin, this moisturizer for the face from SkinCeuticals minimizes the appearance of pores. This is the ideal moisturizer for you if pores are enlarged or prone to blackheads from too much oil build-up.
It contains a blend of brown and red sea algae extracts with a high concentration of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 acids help the skin by regulating the skin’s oil production and balancing hydration. These essential fatty acids do double duty by protecting skin from breakouts, diminishing fine lines, and reducing signs of aging.
SkinCeuticals Daily Moisture also contains the botanical extracts of nettle, horsetail, thyme, ginger, and licorice, which have astringent properties and benefit the skin by treating issues such as dryness, inflammation, and oil build-up.
10. Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer
What makes Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer one of the 19 best face moisturizers for sensitive skin is more about what it doesn’t contain than what it does. There are no dyes, fragrances, lanolin, paraben, formaldehyde, or gluten. This clean skincare moisturizer contains all the ingredients that soothe and protect sensitive skin but none of the synthetic or chemical ingredients that cause irritation.
Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer contains squalene and ceramides to heal the skin’s natural barrier and lock in hydration. Hyaluronic acid promotes natural cell turnover and ensures pores won’t get clogged or blocked with dead skin cells. It’s an ideal moisturizer for any skin type but particularly beneficial for sensitive skin.
11. Olay Regenerist Hyaluronic Acid and Peptide 24 Hydrating Gel Moisturizer
The gel cream formula of Olay’s Regenrist Hylaruronic and Peptide 24 Hydrating Gel deeply hydrates the skin without weighing it down. It’s a light formula that goes on silky smooth and keeps skin hydrated and dewy-looking all day.
The peptides and hyaluronic acid in this formula helps skin’s collagen production and protect it from the environment and harmful free radicals. It also contains niacinamide, which improves skin’s hydration and is a natural anti-inflammatory ingredient, so it calms sensitive skin and reduces redness. No phthalates, parabens, or synthetic dyes exist in Olay Regenerist Hyaluronic and Peptide 24 Hydrating Gel moisturizer.
12. Avene XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cream
If your skin concern is dryness, itching, and symptoms of eczema, then this Avene moisturizer is a great choice for your skin. Based on its proprietary formula, I-modulia, the ingredients in Avene XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cream reduce redness and inflammation while nourishing the skin. With evening primrose, ceramides, and omega-6, the skin’s barrier becomes stronger and better able to retain moisture, reducing dryness.
This formula is approved by the National Eczema Foundation. It contains no parabens, fragrances, or preservatives.
13. Clinique for Men Oil-Free Moisturizer
This lightweight, oil-free moisturizer from Clinique is designed for guys with sensitive skin. It improves the skin’s moisture barrier but doesn’t contain heavy oils that clog pores and lead to whiteheads or blackheads. It also absorbs excess oil throughout the day, so skin stays fresh and clean looking.
It contains nourishing vitamin E and probiotics to help skin function better and protect against environmental factors. With a small amount of caffeine, this moisturizer slightly plumps skin cells to give a more radiant and smooth complexion. This formula is phthalate and paraben free, and it’s also free of synthetic fragrances.
14. Temple Spa Be Still Face Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin
Temple Spa hydrates and soothes skin irritation, itchiness, and dryness with glycerin and several botanical oils to combat redness. The prebiotic moisturizer, with basil, rosemary, cucumber, and papaya extracts, is gentle and calming to the skin. Thanks to prebiotics and amino acids, skin will feel more comfortable, hydrated, and look more radiant.
Temple Spa Be Still Face Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin is vegan, paraben, and alcohol free. The addition of botanicals, like lavender, give it a light, clean scent that’s not overpowering.
15. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream
When dry, sensitive skin needs hydration but reacts negatively to heavy oils, Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream is the face moisturizer to turn to. The moisturizer is an excellent choice for extra-dry, sensitive skin needing immediate relief. This gel cream absorbs quickly into the skin and leaves no heavy-feeling residue.
With no fragrance, dyes, or oils, this face moisturizer keeps skin smooth and radiant without leading to irritation. It contains purified hyaluronic acid to keep skin cells regenerating and helps it retain vital moisture. Skin will feel soft and supple all day.
16. Luma & Leaf Relief & Repair Moisturizer
Safe for sensitive skin, the Relief & Repair Moisturizer from Luma & Leaf contains shea butter to deeply hydrate dry skin. This formulation is ideal for sensitive skin that’s prone to redness, dryness, and eczema. The natural ingredients leave skin nourished but have none of the harsh chemicals that irritate sensitive skin.
This moisturizer has niacinamide, a natural ingredient derived from Vitamin B3. This reduces inflammation and brings vital nourishment to the skin. It also has oat extract, which helps skin retain moisture and has soothing properties for redness. There’s also hemp seed oil to add extra moisture to the skin. Luma & Leaf products are sustainably sourced, vegan, and cruelty free.
17. Simple Hydrating Light Moisturizer
Simple Hydrating Light Moisturizer contains clean ingredients and pro-vitamin B5 and vitamin E to moisturize skin without extra added chemicals. This face moisturizer has a light, silky consistency that applies easily and is quickly absorbed by the skin. Borage seed oil and glycerin protect and hydrate the skin’s barrier.
With no dyes or artificial fragrance, this vitamin-infused formula has chamomile to soothe irritated skin. Because it won’t clog pores, it’s ideal for use on blemish and acne-prone skin.
18. Peach Slices Redness Relief Calming Cream
Calm red, irritated, rosacea-prone skin down with Redness Relief Calming Cream by Peach Slices. It visibly soothes redness and boosts skin’s moisture balance to keep it hydrated and glowing.
Skin will be nourished and less inflamed with a glycerin base and loads of botanical fruit and flower extracts. Turmeric, a natural anti-inflammatory ingredient, as well as gardenia, aloe, and spinach extract, bathe the skin in botanical hydration.
Peach Slices products are vegan, cruelty free, and contain clean beauty ingredients with no harsh chemicals.
19. Era Organics Face Moisturizing Cream
This facial moisturizer by Era Organics is like superfood for your skin. With soothing ingredients like aloe and manuka honey, sensitive, red, and inflamed skin gets instant relief and hydration. It also contains jojoba oil for hydration balance, as well as collagen boosters and hyaluronic acid for cell regeneration.
Era Organics contains no fragrance, parabens, or sulfates. While it’s suitable for all skin types, anyone with sensitive skin will benefit from this moisturizer’s simple, nourishing ingredients.
Sensitive Skin: It’s Not All Rosy
Sensitive skin is typically caused by genetics. If one or both of your parents have sensitive skin, it’s pretty likely you do. Genetics plays a role in our skin, from how it looks and its texture to how it reacts to certain ingredients and environmental factors. Rosacea is an example of this.
Rosacea is one of the most common sensitive skin conditions. That red, rosy cheek look that some people get when standing outside in cold weather or drinking a glass of wine is actually an genetic inflammatory skin condition. Factors like sun exposure, certain skincare ingredients, alcohol, caffeine, and even stress can worsen rosacea.
Sensitive skin is caused by nerve endings in the top layer of the skin becoming irritated. There are four types of sensitive skin: naturally sensitive, environmentally sensitive, reactive, and thin. Naturally sensitive skin is attributed to genetic factors. Environmentally sensitive skin is triggered by sun exposure, air pollution, and even pollen.
Anything your skin comes in contact with that can cause irritation. Reactive skin is sensitive to products, such as parabens, fragrances or chemicals commonly found in sunscreens. Finally, thin skin is sensitive because of natural causes like aging, where the skin’s layers become less dense over time.
How do you know if you have sensitive skin? Dermatologists and skin care experts agree that sometimes it can be difficult to define sensitive skin. In general, sensitive skin is more reactive than usual. You may notice your skin feeling tight, excessively dry, or stinging after applying some moisturizers, cleaners, sunscreen, or serums. Any time you notice a negative reaction in your skin after any part of your skincare routine, your skin is becoming sensitive.
The evidence is visible for those with skin sensitivity and conditions like acne, rosacea and psoriasis. Redness, pimples, dry areas with red bumps, and even raised areas of skin with gray or silver scales mean that skin is sensitive and usually requires topical treatment. Most people with sensitive skin can clear their skin condition at home. In general, sensitive skin can be maintained by knowing its triggers and avoiding those ingredients that lead to reactions.
Sensitive skin requires more attention than other skin types. Protecting the skin from outside elements and also strengthening the skin’s barrier through gentle cleansing and hydration is important. Coating and soothing the skin with gentle moisturizers like glycerin, aloe, or colloidal oatmeal helps sensitive skin stay hydrated and avoid irritation. The fewer ingredients and the more natural ingredients in your moisturizer, the better.
Experts advise if you have sensitive skin to be cautious when trying new moisturizers or skincare products. Even if you don’t normally have sensitive skin, certain products can cause allergic reactions. When choosing a moisturizer, look for ingredients that will not only hydrate and protect the skin but soothe it as well. Ingredients like ceramides form a protective barrier on the skin. Also consider moisturizers that are lightweight, non-greasy, and ideally, fragrance-free.
What to Avoid
There are quite a few ingredients people with sensitive skin should avoid. Using products with fragrance or heavy oils like nut oils or shea butter can cause clogged pores, leading to irritation. It’s also best to steer clear of chemical ingredients like sulfates or harsh physical exfoliants, like apricot kernels or plastic microbeads found in many facial scrubs. And while glycolic and salicylic acids and retinoids are great for helping skin look younger, many people are sensitive to those ingredients, so be cautious when using them for the first time.
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How you apply your skincare matters just as much as what you apply. Your skincare routine should be gentle when you have sensitive skin. Avoid rubbing, scrubbing, or washing too often. Harsh scrubs and vigorous rubbing cause skin irritation through tiny micro-tears in the skin. And overwashing can strip skin of its natural moisture barrier and make it susceptible to irritation and environmental factors like sun, wind, and cold.
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