Best Moisturisers for Sensitive Skin: A Guide to Nourished Skin
Building a skincare routine that not only hydrates and nourishes your skin, but also works well with your skin type, takes time. When you have sensitive skin, however, this endeavour becomes far more challenging.
Having sensitive skin means spending time weeding out what ingredients will cause allergic reactions, redness, irritation, or itchy skin. By undertaking this process of elimination, however, you will know what is just right for your delicate skin. Especially in the case of serums containing active ingredients, which are one of the most essential products for your daily skincare routine.
One poor choice of serum is bound to cause a flare up, but with a guide to the most forgiving products for very sensitive skin, you can be sure that your skin is in the best hands.
What is sensitive skin?
Sensitive skin is an umbrella definition for skin types that are easily susceptible to irritation, facial redness and breakouts. Some instances of dry skin can be related back to higher levels of sensitivity, but it is more likely for irritants to cause rashes and stinging.
If you have sensitive skin, you may have noticed certain types of skincare cause a reaction. Continual usage of such irritants will not just stop at a sense of itchiness, but may also cause your face to feel hot, dry or tingly, and even peel or break out in a rash.
What causes sensitive skin?
With a thinner skin barrier, sensitive skins have a higher tendency than other skin types to react when in contact with irritants. This sensitivity is caused by various reasons, some of them even preventable.
It may be just the unfortunate luck of genetics to develop such a skin type which, when faced with a skin barrier disruption, overcompensates by attacking the irritant with the full force of their immune system.
Inflamed skin can be caused by coming into contact with an allergen, as the skin's response to this contact is putting your immune system into overdrive. When releasing T-cells to protect itself, your body can develop redness and itchiness at the sites of contact.
While it may seem similar to an allergic reaction, dermatitis occurs when an irritant comes into contact with your skin barrier and causes minor damage. This irritant can be something as simple as artificial fragrances, which the body will attempt to protect itself against with an overactive immune response. Hence, the appearance of skin irritation after coming into contact with strong laundry detergents or perfumes; you may need to change to fragrance free laundry or wearing no scents for some time.
Polarising environmental temperatures, especially the cold, can cause your skin to dry out. For some people, long-term exposure to such an environment can cause the dryness to turn to sensitivity. This is because the loss of water and oil causes the skin barrier to weaken, leaving it vulnerable to irritants.
If you have acne prone skin, you may also have increased levels of sensitivity. For those who were able to go through puberty without breaking out, it is highly likely most skincare products are suitable for your skin. For those with acne, however, it can be hard to prevent your sensitive skin from undergoing a flare up without using carefully chosen products.
Commonly causing redness, dryness, and irritation, this condition deters your skin's natural ability to protect itself from any potential irritants. Due to the consistent damage to the skin's external barrier, eczema can not only make skin sensitive, but also more prone to infections.
A common vascular skin condition that can affect the skin with visible blood vessels, or increased levels of flushing. Rosacea may also cause small, pus-filled bumps to form, which can make the skin feel hot and tender. Alongside swelling and irritation of the nose and eyes, this skin condition makes your skin extremely sensitive to any irritants.
A chronic skin disorder that causes the affected to break out in a rash of itchy and scaly patches. While it is more commonly seen on the torso, joints and scalp, you can also break out across the face. This rash comes and goes, but is known for its painfulness and persistence, making it a common cause for sensitive skin.
What are the signs of sensitive skin?
If you are unsure if you have sensitive skin, you can look for these common signs and sensations:
- Stinging or burning patches
- Recurring breakouts
- Swollen, red and itchy skin
- Rashes and/or hives
- Redness or irritation without swelling
- Dry skin that may begin to blister, crack and/or bleed
- Patches of skin that turn hard and leathery
Best moisturiser for sensitive skin Australia
If you are unsure of where to start in your moisturising journey, we have provided a list with some of the best moisturisers for sensitive skin in Australia. By testing out these products, you are sure to find the one that best suits you and your skin type.
Aspect Phytostat 9
A popular moisturiser due to its suitability for all skin types, Aspect Phytostat 9 not only hydrates the skin, but also prevents visible signs of ageing. The cream uses the antioxidant Vitamin E to protect the skin from any pollutants, helping those with sensitive skin to develop a strong skin barrier against potential irritants.
Other ingredients include a natural emollient blend comprised of Sunflower Seed, Ylang Ylang and Sea Buckthorn Oil, along with Shea Butter. This hydrating mix prevents dry and dehydrated skin, which can lead to skin conditions with increased sensitivity. The fact that this cream uses only the best natural ingredients, and is entirely synthetic fragrance free, means that there are no irritants for those with dry or sensitive skin.
As one of the best moisturisers for sensitive skin, you should apply Aspect Phytostat 9 onto a face and neck cleansed by Aspect Purastat 5 Cleanser every morning and night to seal hydration into the skin's moisture barrier.
Aspect Dr Ultra Light Hydration
This lightweight face cream works to soothe and hydrate irritated skin with a combination of hyaluronic acid, botanical extracts, as well as essential oils and vitamins. The influx of moisturising ingredients included in Aspect Dr Ultra Light Hydration do not clog pores, however, instead working to remove excess oils that may cause flare ups of acne and other skin conditions.
By balancing your skin's hydration levels with the protective nature of peptides, this face cream ensures that free radicals will not damage your skin. You should apply a small amount to a clean face and neck every morning and night, especially after applying Aspect Dr Active C Serum.
Aspect Dr Resveratrol Moisturising Cream
A rich moisturising cream that works to rehydrate the skin, Aspect Dr Resveratrol Moisturising Cream is gentle on those with sensitive skin. The use of resveratrol as a main ingredient not only makes this cream one of the most hydrating on the market, but also serves as an antioxidant that protects the skin from free radical damage. Those with increased skin sensitivity can rest assured that their skin is protected from any potentially harmful environmental factors.
Apply a small amount of the cream onto your face, neck and chest every morning and night following cleansing and serums. For the full restorative and protective effects of resveratrol, use with Aspect Dr Eyelift, especially at night.
Biopelle Tensage Soothing Cream Moisturiser
This non-comedogenic soothing cream provides calming relief and hydration, especially for sensitive and acne-prone skin. Boswellia Serrata Extract acts as a key ingredient to this relieving process, reducing signs of irritation and redness in the skin. When combined with hyaluronic acid, your skin remains hydrated and healthy, expediting the repair process significantly.
By being oil-free, Biopelle Tensage Soothing Cream Moisturiser prevents pore-blockage while still providing your skin with protection against dryness and free radicals. After using Biopelle Exfoliate Gel Cleanser and the application of gentle serums, you should use the cream on your face once or twice daily, or as recommended by your skin care provider.
Cosmedix Hydrate+ is a moisturising sunscreen, making it a perfect combination of broad spectrum UV protection and hydration for a more delicate skin type. Not only does the daily SPF protection prevent future sun damage, but the inclusion of antioxidants also helps reduce the skin's sensitivity to the sun.
The botanical ingredients Squalane, Jojoba and Olive Oils work as natural hydrators, nourishing the skin and soothing any signs of irritation. This creates a protective and comforting skin barrier throughout the day. Skin should be cleansed with Cosmedix Purity Solution before liberal application in the morning. The product should be reapplied every 2 hours, with a water-resistant sunscreen layered on top if you are sweating, swimming or coming into contact with water.
What ingredients are safe for sensitive skin?
It is important for your skin that your skin care products only use soothing and gentle ingredients. There are plenty of products that advertise how they are dermatologist tested, making it easier to determine what is safe for your skin. However, also knowing what ingredients soothe sensitive skin can help you determine what products to choose.
- Oatmeal: When used in skin care products, oat extract or oil can balance the skin's microbiome to strengthen its barrier against irritants. It can also soothe irritation and dryness of the skin.
- Aloe Vera: Regardless of the form it comes in, aloe vera is an effective anti-inflammatory ingredient that speeds up the healing process naturally. This makes it perfect for sensitive skin, especially if it has already taken damage, to both hydrate and soothe.
- Glycerin: A natural ingredient derived from plants, it attracts and holds water in the skin's barrier to promote moisturising. Its soothing properties make it safe for sensitive skin.
- Seaweed: As a concentration of seawater full of vitamins, amino acids, minerals, proteins and lipids, seaweed is perfect for treating several skin conditions. When used in your skin care routine, this ingredient not only soothes inflammation associated with conditions like acne or rosacea, but its concentration of magnesium and zinc also reduces redness.
- Witch Hazel: Not only suitable for those with acne prone skin, witch hazel is a natural ingredient that works well on reducing patches of irritated skin. It also reduces inflammation and the evidence of minor skin injuries.
- Hyaluronic Acid: Usually found naturally in your hair and skin, this ingredient has been formulated for skin care products, particularly face cream and moisturisers. This is because hyaluronic acid combines with water to swell and hold moisture in the skin. It is also gentle enough to work on sensitive skin.
- Green Tea: While green tea is usually mentioned for its anti-ageing properties, the antioxidant also works as a gentle moisturiser. It improves the levels of moisture found within the skin and calms inflammation.
- Ceramides: This lipid occurs naturally in the skin's barrier as protection, but has since been used in skin care to help repair any damage to this barrier. Since damage to the skin, no matter how minor, can cause sensitivity, this ingredient can be very beneficial to your skin.
- Dimethicone: The silicone dimethicone is very gentle on the skin as it works to moisturise it. This gentleness makes it perfect for sensitive skin.
- Edelweiss Extract: Extracted from a Swiss flower, Edelweiss extract has many properties: anti-blemish, antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory. Along with the lignans contained within, a natural skin-calming compound, these properties work well with sensitive skin. The addition of leontopodic acid, a strengthener for the skin's barrier, means that sensitive skin is also protected from irritants.
- Shea Butter: A natural ingredient that softens and hydrates irritated and dry skin, shea butter minimises the itchiness and redness associated with several skin conditions.
- Centella Asiatica: This herb has both antioxidants and amino acids contained within, making it a perfect way of hydrating and soothing skin during flare ups. While this can be used for everyday dry patches or irritations, it is especially beneficial for sensitive skin.
What skincare ingredients should sensitive skin types avoid?
When looking for skincare products suited for your sensitive skin, it is important that you look at the ingredients list to determine if any of your irritants are used in the manufacturing process. Having a list of known allergens and irritants will allow you to avoid any products that could cause your skin to flare up, but there are several other ingredients you may not know to irritate sensitive skin.
- Alcohol: Some skin care products may have alcohol in them which, while acting as a means of drying the product quickly, also reduces your skin's moisture levels. This can cause irritated and dry skin.
- Propylene glycol: Used as an ingredient in some skin care products, this ingredient is known to cause irritated skin in sensitive types. It may also induce allergic reactions in some, causing contact dermatitis.
- Vitamin A: Out of most active ingredients, Vitamin A is perhaps one of the most beloved. However, certain forms of Vitamin A, especially retinoic acid, can be too potent for sensitive skin. Products with low doses of Vitamin A are better recommended.
- Vitamin C: This antioxidant is usually used in free radical defence, but it can cause red bumps and itchiness on the skin in high concentrations. Sensitive skins should use a gentle form of Vitamin C.
- Artificial Fragrances: Any fragrances that are not natural can react with the skin, causing inflammation and the inner layers of skin to weaken. The complexity of the scents make it hard to distinguish what is irritating your skin, even in the case of some natural fragrances.
- Sulfates: Used to create lather in some products, like face washes, sulfates can irritate your skin significantly.
- Salicylic Acid: While it is helpful for those with acne or oily skin due to the face it dries out excess oil, salicylic acid can be too harsh for sensitive skins. The drying effect can cause a burning sensation and redness, which makes this acid a poor choice for many.
- Benzoyl Peroxide: This chemical compound is usually used in products for acne prone skin, but it can be far too harsh on the skin barrier. Benzoyl peroxide reduces signs of pimples by stripping the skin of moisture, but this removes the skin's protective barrier. This makes it especially hard on sensitive skins.
- Physical Scrubs: The granules in your scrubs can be too harsh for sensitive skin, especially with excessive use.
- Chemical Sunscreens: The chemicals used in some sunscreens are intended to reflect harmful UV rays, but may be too harsh for sensitive skins.
Tips for managing sensitive skin
Managing sensitive skin can seem like a lot of work at times. Between finding the right skin soothing ingredients and knowing what to avoid, it is enough to make anyone wary of using any skin care product. However, beyond finding yourself the best moisturiser for sensitive skin, there are plenty of things to do to help you manage your delicate skin.
- Keep your ingredients as simple and gentle as possible, while only using a few products at a time; helps you stay on top of any potential reactions.
- Don't go overboard with washing, cleansing and exfoliation; this can damage and thin out your skin's barriers.
- Stay hydrated.
- Apply sun protection every day.
- Avoid fragrances, especially artificial ones.
- Apply moisturiser regularly to prevent dry skin.
- Always patch-test new products to check for a reaction before committing.
- Keep your skin cool in the heat, and protected during the cold winds of the winter.
- Keep a list of potential triggers and make sure to always check a product's ingredients list for it before buying.
- If you have a bad reaction, take some time away from skin care products to give your skin time to heal. Introduce one product per week to figure what is causing the reaction.
- Introduce new products into your skin care routine slowly to give your skin a suitable adjustment period.
- Always use a makeup remover before going to sleep; skin can easily be clogged and aggravated by residue makeup.
- Keep showers short and warm (not hot) to prevent your skin drying out. Use fragrance free products and avoid exfoliant tools like loofahs or washcloths.
How do I know if my skin is dry or sensitive?
Determining whether you have a sensitive or dry skin type is vital to taking care of your skin, but it can be hard to tell the difference initially. While it may be noticeable if you have very dry skin, that does not mean you can rule out that you also have sensitive skin.
Your skin type is determined by the amount of sebum (oil) your skin produces. You can determine your oil levels through two at-home methods:
- The "watch and wait": Involves washing your face with a cleanser and patting it dry. Then, after a thirty minute wait, if your skin is flaky or scaly, you have dry skin.
- Blotting sheet: Cleanse and dry your face. After a thirty minute wait, apply blotting sheets to your face and observe the oil markings; little to no oil means you have dry skin.
Unfortunately, these methods do not test for sensitive skin, but your skin type will demonstrate itself by not only drying out your skin, but also causing flare ups of redness, itchiness, burning and even uneven textures.
You can also always visit a dermatologist for a test to determine what skin types you have exactly.
Does sensitive skin go away?
The sensitive skin types will be happy to know that their skin is treatable with some time and effort in researching suitable skin care products. By identifying irritants, you can lessen the chances of your skin having flare ups. Using the right products for your skin can also soothe and reduce any visible signs of sensitivity.
However, if you are concerned about your sensitive skin, or are experiencing severe reactions, it is best to seek professional advice. Our Skin Therapists are available to determine the causes of your flare ups and what can be done to get you back to your normal skin.
What is the best moisturiser for sensitive skin in Australia?
When it comes to determining the best moisturiser for sensitive skin in Australia, it will depend on the individual. After all, everyone's skin is different, even if they are all sensitive. Therefore, the best moisturiser to use depends entirely on personal preferences and necessities:
- What kind of skin conditions do you want to treat?
- What kind of format do you prefer the moisturiser to come in?
- What brands do you trust or are in your price range?
- Whether you are looking for full coverage or lightweight?
- If you want your moisturiser to come with SPF?
The best moisturiser for sensitive skin is whatever works best for you and your skin.
We'd love to help!
Do you have a skin concern you'd like assessed by our Skin Therapists? Book online or call 1300 863 824 to schedule a consultation with one of our Skin Therapists to receive advice tailored to your skin concerns.