Navigating sensitive skin can be tough. You want to try all the recommended products out there, but you often find that your skin just will not have it. Redness, breakouts, rosacea, and eczema are all conditions associated with sensitive skin, and a lot of us here at Byrdie deal with each one daily. So we thought it was time to show you a softer, gentler side of skincare with our best picks for reactive skin.
They're free of active ingredients that'll lead to a flare-up, and each one soothes, calms, and keeps your skin feeling good. Below, find our favorites, broken up by category. There are moisturizers and cleansers for your face, as well as body care offerings that'll help you reach your personal skin nirvana.
Keep scrolling to see which 15 products stand out in the fight against sensitive skin.
A brand that has always been on our radar is DermaDoctor. This hypoallergenic, milky, non-drying medicated daily cleanser works to control redness, flaking, irritation, and itching. This formula gently lifts away and removes dirt, debris, and makeup while leaving your skin hydrated and soothed.
This cleanser for sensitive skin is cruelty-free, free from harmful ingredients, and anything but boring. Infused with soothing rose flower water and nourishing colloidal gold, this delicate cleanser gently removes dirt, makeup, and excess oil without overdrying. Not only does it smell refreshing, but it leaves skin feeling clean, balanced, and fresh. The Instagrammable packaging is just a bonus.
Kora Organics' cleanser does everything a cleanser should without irritating your skin. A blend of noni fruit, chamomile, calendula and extracts and avocado oil will calm even the most irritated skin. It's also made with zero synthetic fragrance, synthetic colors, or silicones, and is soothing and cooling upon contact.
This ultra-hydrating, super-conditioning face wash leaves your skin feeling impossibly fresh, bouncy, and healthy. It comfortably and gently cleanses, offering up a velvety texture and milky lather, as well as concentrated pitera, SK-II's signature ingredient rich in vitamins, organic acids, minerals, and amino acids.
As you apply it, Sunday Riley's cleansing balm turns into a milky texture. Cocoa butter and mimosa flower wax serve as moisturizing factors as you cleanse the skin. Together with azulene-rich essential oils (including blue tansy and German chamomile) and vanilla and sweet orange, this balm offers up a relaxing, spa-like experience for your skin and your mind.
Ren's Evercalm line of products works to stimulate lipid production and repair sensitive skin on a deeper level. Their Overnight Recovery Balm uses activated oils (including olive, almond, borage, and linseed) to moisturize, strengthen your skin barrier, and flawlessly relieve irritation. An added bonus is that the line protects against pollutants know to irritate the skin.
This treatment cream should be a staple in any sensitive skin-specific routine. The scientifically-proven blend of essential lipids, like natural cholesterol, pure ceramides, and fatty acids, restore your skin's elasticity and hydration cycles. Ingredients like vitamin E and essential oils also work in tandem to provide hydration and barrier protection. It's fast absorbing, full of antioxidants, and visibly quenches the skin. You will not be let down by this thick, velvety, and plumping formula.
Elena Ocher, MD, a Georgia-born neurosurgeon, anesthesiologist, and pain-management specialist, first created a homemade blend of her own to treat and soothe traumatized skin wounds. With the help of a chemist, she combined that original compound with medical-grade ingredients to heal dry, damaged, or compromised skin. Some standout ingredients in this magical cream include castor oil, propolis, evening primrose extract, and chamomilla. Use it whenever you're feeling dry and flaky, or if redness and sensitivity rear their heads after a treatment.
This cult-favorite refreshing gel-cream provides an instant moisture boost—and is now formulated to deliver almost twice as much hydration as the brand's first iteration. The activated aloe water included in the formula helps your skin to create its own internal water source (so it can continually rehydrate itself). It sounds like magic, we know. Hyaluronic acid also comes into play by plumping, hydrating, and soothing your skin for hours on end.
Made with 100% natural and pure plant oils to thoroughly hydrate your skin without clogging your pores, this balancing, luxurious, feel-good face oil drives moisture, vitamins, fatty acids, and antioxidants into your skin. Once you've massaged it in, it forms a natural lipid barrier to lock in essential nourishment while protecting against dryness and heat in your environment. The addition of blue tansy will help calm inflammation and balance skin over-time.
Beloved by dermatologists, Cetaphil is known as being one of the best skincare brands at the drugstore. Meant to soothe very dry and sensitive skin, the Pro Eczema Soothing Moisturizer includes colloidal oatmeal, a unique combination of ceramides, and fila grin complex to retain your skin's moisture and protect it from irritation.
Another well-loved and affordable brand is Eucerin. Their Advanced Repair Cream is enriched with ceramide-3 to help even the driest skin replenish its moisture. It's fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, and is incredible for sensitive skin types. It's repairing, moisturizing, and calming no matter what.
Skinfix's body balm provides targeted therapy and is a natural, medicinal alternative to hydrocortisone creams and steroids. Colloidal oatmeal offers up much-needed itch relief while natural shea butter and skin protective sweet almond oil nourish as well as alleviate eczema symptoms.
Recommended by just about every dermatologist I've ever spoken to, Vanicream is a staple for anyone with sensitive skin. The entire line is free from parabens, lanolin, formaldehyde, and dyes. It's calming to your skin, decreases inflammation, and helps replenish key barrier function for optimal skin health. It's not fancy, but it's a solid product that is great for your skin—and it doesn't matter where you apply it.
With a super-high concentration of shea butter, as well as moisturizing extracts like linseed, marshmallow, sweet almond, honey, and softening apricot oil, this body cream from L'Occitane is no joke. It helps hydrate your skin for up to 72 hours and restores your skin to a comfortable state no matter what.