6 beauty ingredients to avoid with sensitive skin

Managing sensitive skin can be tricky. Although it tends to be more reactive and prone to discomfort, it may also reflect your body’s sensitivity to environmental factors. When it comes to skincare and beauty products, understanding which ingredients to avoid is key to maintaining a healthy, glowing complexion. Read on to learn more about some beauty ingredients people with sensitive skin should use with caution.

Health Shots reached out to Dr. Deepak Jakhar, MBBS, MD Dermatology, co-founder of Dermosphere Clinic, who shared with us a list of beauty ingredient combinations to avoid with sensitive skin.

Beauty ingredients to avoid with sensitive skin

Here are 7 beauty ingredients you should avoid or never use if you have sensitive skin:

1. Retinol and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs)

Retinol, a derivative of vitamin A, and AHAs like glycolic acid are well known for their skin regenerating properties. However, when used together, they can cause problems for sensitive skin. These ingredients can cause dryness, redness and flaking if used excessively or without proper precautions. If you want to incorporate them into your routine, consult a dermatologist to determine the right way to apply them to your skin and avoid overloading it.

Use retinol with caution when dealing with sensitive skin. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

2. Vitamin C and benzoyl peroxide

Vitamin C is renowned for its antioxidant benefits and its ability to lighten the skin. On the other hand, benzoyl peroxide is an effective ingredient against acne. While both can be beneficial, they can also be harsh on sensitive skin. Vitamin C, in higher concentrations, can cause irritation, and benzoyl peroxide can lead to dryness and flaking. Consider starting with lower concentrations or researching alternatives if you notice discomfort.

3. Salicylic acid and glycolic acid

Salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid (BHA), and glycolic acid, an AHA, are popular choices for treating acne and exfoliating the skin. However, their exfoliating properties can make them problematic for sensitive skin. Using them excessively or using them with other active ingredients can lead to redness, tenderness, and even flaking. To incorporate them safely, start with lower concentrations and use them sparingly.

4. Exfoliating cleansers and scrubs

Physical exfoliants like the scrub particles in cleansers (best cleansers) or abrasive scrubs can be especially harsh on sensitive skin. These products can cause micro-tears in the skin, leading to inflammation and discomfort. Opt instead for chemical exfoliants (like AHAs or BHAs) which offer a gentler approach to removing dead skin cells.

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Pay attention to your sensitive skin. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

5. Too many assets

A common mistake people with sensitive skin make is overloading their skincare routine with too many active ingredients at once. Using multiple actives like Retinol, AHAs, BHAs, and Vitamin C at the same time can overwhelm your skin and heighten its sensitivity. Gradually introduce new products and watch for signs of irritation.

6. Benzoyl peroxide and strong retinoids

Although benzoyl peroxide is effective for acne, it can be too drying for sensitive skin when used in high concentrations. Highly prescribed retinoids are also not the best choice for sensitive skin due to their potential to cause redness and flaking. If you suffer from acne and have sensitive skin, see a dermatologist for gentler alternatives.

You have to be very careful when choosing beauty ingredients for sensitive skin. It’s also a good idea to introduce new products gradually and consult a dermatologist to tailor your skincare routine to your unique needs. Remember that less can often be more when it comes to sensitive skin.

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