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Sensitive Skin: Best Products & Treatments

February 7, 2022

Sensitive skin is a concern many struggle with daily, so I wanted to round up some of our favorite products, treatments, and general tips in hopes of keeping your skin healthy and glowing! First, I’ll break down what to look for and how to identify if you do in fact have sensitive skin. Let’s jump in.

By: Alison, LE


Why You Might Not Actually Have Sensitive Skin

First things first, let’s start off by figuring out what exactly sensitive skin is. Patients come into our practice saying they struggle with sensitive skin for many reasons, but here are some of the most common concerns I hear:

  • My skin is red
  • That ingredient makes me break out
  • My skin is itchy 

If you have said or thought any of the above about your skin, I have good news—you might not actually have sensitive skin. You might, however, just be using products that don’t agree with your skin type, sensitive or not.

There are specific skin concerns that you should look out for, beyond general irritation, that would categorize your skin as sensitive.

What Exactly is Sensitive Skin?

When talking about sensitive skin, here are the common skin conditions one should look out for, some of which can be inherited:

  • Rosacea
  • Eczema
  • Allergies
  • Psoriasis 
  • Acne

Important Note: a dermatologist should be the only person to diagnose sensitive skin. They are going to be able to help you determine if you do in fact suffer from sensitive skin or if there are other underlying issues causing unwanted symptoms on the surface of your skin.

They can more accurately identify and assess things like pustules, bumps, dry skin that doesn’t properly protect nerve endings, and other skin conditions that may be due to harsh environments.

Cystic breakouts tend to respond less effectively than whiteheads to topical treatments. In certain cases, dermatologists may administer an in-office cortisone injection or prescribe oral medications (including spironolactone and isotretinoin, also known as Accutane) to treat the blemish from the inside out.

Cystic acne is a more inflamed, nodular type of acne that tends to also leave scars. Depending on the severity of your breakout—this is something we can help with! We’ll work with you to come up with an effective treatment plan that works for both your skin type and your budget.

Skincare Tips for Sensitive Skin

We break down some of our favorite products below, but first—let’s look at some general tips you can abide by to help keep your skin healthy, glowing, and less irritated.

  1. Cleanse twice a day, but look for something that is soap and fragrance-free.
  2. Mineral/Physical Sunscreen should be worn year-round, no matter your skin type—avoid chemical sunscreens.
  3. Avoid products with alcohol (most toners contain a high amount of alcohol & not every skin type needs a toner).
  4. Look for fewer, but clean ingredients.
  5. NO makeup wipes—they contain harsh chemicals that can irritate your already sensitive skin.
  6. Avoid Clarisonic brushes, as they ruin the acid mantle.
    1. The acid mantle is a very fine, slightly acidic film on the surface of the human skin, acting as a barrier to bacteria/viruses and other potential contaminants that night penetrate the skin. Sebum is secreted by the sebaceous gland, and when mixed with sweat, becomes the acid mantle.
  7. Please remember that just because something is labeled “hypoallergenic” does not mean that it actually is—do your research into making sure something actually is before using on your skin.
  8. Stay away from harsh scrubs.
  9. Slowly introduce new products one at a time instead of an entirely new routine all at once. That way if something irritates your skin, you know which product is causing the issue.
  10. MOISTURIZE your skin—a must!
  11. Avoid retinol-based products If you find your skin easily reactive or irritated.
  12. Patch-test products if you are unsure of their ingredient list (dab a little on the back of your hand or neck and see if any reaction occurs).
  13. Over-the-counter products, 3-step regimens, and celebrity-endorsed skincare typically do not have the same ingredients/quality as medical grade skincare. Really dig deep and make sure you’re using clean ingredients, especially avoiding anything with parabens or fragrance.

Best Products

Here is a list of skincare products that we’d normally suggest for someone struggling with sensitive skin (all of which we carry in-office or can be purchased through our website and shipped directly to your home):

  1. Cleansers
    1. SkinBetter’s Cleansing Gel
    2. Elta MD’s Deep Pore Cleanser 
  2. SPF
    1. Elta MD’s UV Elements SPF
    2. SkinBetter’s Tone Smart, Compact, or Stick SPF
    3. Revision Skincare’s TruPhysical SPF 
  3. Moisturizers
    1. SkinBetter’s Trio: a rebalancing moisturizer that repairs the skins barrier
    2. SkinBetter’s Hydration Boosting Cream
    3. Elta MD’s AM Therapy
  4. Vitamin C
    1. Skinbetter’s Alto Defense: AKA the best vitamin c in the game! It contains over 19 antioxidants in conjunction with a highly potent active tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (which is the most stable and potent form of vitamin c).

It can take some trial-and-error to find which products work best for you, so be sure to give your skin a couple weeks to adjust before deciding a product doesn’t work. If and only when the condition gets worse beyond those few weeks is when a dermatologist should be called.

You can purchase all of these products directly from us in our practice. You can also click here to grab them online and have them shipped directly to your door! Just make sure to select us as your provider.

Best Treatments

Here are a few of the in-office treatments I would recommend—all of which we offer right here in our practice and would be gentle, while still highly effective.

HydraFacial: The signature 4-step HydraFacial® non-invasive facial that will cleanse, exfoliate, extract, & then hydrate the skin with antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, & peptides for maximum glow. No irritation or downtime! Click here to learn more and see pricing.

Sensitive Skin Facial: A soothing facial designed for those with sensitive skin. It begins with steam, a double cleanse, and extractions. A Raspberry Peach Enzyme Peel will be applied to the skin to calmly exfoliate, while providing anti-inflammatory benefits. This is followed by a Seaweed Mask that provides suppleness, nourishes the skin, & promotes cell regeneration.

Red Light Therapy: can help to promote collagen production, further enhance any treatment glow, and even calm some post-treatment redness.

BBL (Broad Band Light Therapy): an innovative technology that uses pulsed light energy to target pigmentation in the skin and reverses the signs of aging and sun damage. Click here to learn more.


If you need a little guidance or not sure where to start—we’d love to help! Schedule a complimentary consultation with us. We’ll sit down, assess your unique skin type, and work together to craft a skincare plan that works you and your budget. Give us a call or fill out the appointment request form!