If your skin is so sensitive that you have to move out of the way when your desk neighbor starts spritzing her essential oil face mist, and a gentle sleeping mask leaves you red, itchy, and bumpy by morning, we understand how frustrating it is to go moisturizer shopping. Without guidance, an aisle full of creams can look like a straight shot to acne and irritation.
That's why we called in the pros who know a thing or two about what to do — and what not to do — when it comes to skin sensitivity and allergens. It's important to start with clean skin to prevent transference of bacteria or other irritants before patting on light moisturizers geared toward sensitive skin, says dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD.
For dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, it's all about picking your battles. She suggests avoiding chemical sunscreens, physical scrubs, fragrance, parabens, sulfates, dyes, and anything "hot and steamy" (which is code for saunas, hot water, or steam rooms). All of these could be abrasive to the skin barrier and end up causing inflammation.
Ahead, check out the pros' picks for sensitive-skin moisturizers that won't break you out, cause rashes, or make your skin crawl (you know the feeling). If you're still experiencing discomfort, talk to your derm about getting a prescription for a clinical treatment.