One of the biggest culprits behind skin irritation is overdoing it on products. Going overboard with actives can compromise the health of your skin barrier, leading to a flare-up of dryness, flaking, and itchiness that’s often referred to as “sensitized” skin. The key to treating this situation is, simply, to do less—which means paring down your routine to include only the bare-minimum staples that will help restore the strength of your skin barrier.
When dealing with sensitized skin, you’ll want to simplify your routine as much as possible, and lay off harsh actives like exfoliants, retinoids, and vitamin C. Instead, derms say you’ll want to double down on formulas that will help bring your skin back to homeostasis, which means opting for a gentle cleanser, a solid hydrator, and a mineral-based sunscreen—that’s it. In a recent TikTok video, Suchismita Paul, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, shared her product picks that fit the bill. And the best part? Not a single one costs more than $30. Keep scrolling to shop ’em for yourself.
CeraVe Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser — $11.00
This cleanser is gentle enough for dry skin and is loved by dermatologists for its extra-hydrating ingredients. “This cleanser uses an amino acid-based surfactant and gently transforms the cream into a delicate foam to help eliminate oil, dirt, and buildup,” board0certified dermatologist Marisa Garshick, MD, previously told Well + Good. “It also contains ceramides and hyaluronic acid to help restore the skin barrier and retain moisture.” It’s best used in the shower with lukewarm water so your skin can absorb all the hydrating goodness.
Vichy Mineral 89 Daily Skin Booster Serum and Moisturizer — $30.00
The star ingredient in this hydrating serum is hyaluronic acid, which is known for its ability to hold 1,000 times its weight in water. The formula pairs HA with mineral-rich volcanic water, which offers further hydration as well as environmental protection and skin-barrier strengthening properties. It also contains citric acid, a gentle exfoliant that helps to even out skin tone and texture. Though it’s got some pretty heavy hitters in the mix, it’s safe to use on all skin types, so much so that it even has a stamp of approval from the National Eczema Association.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Tinted Sunscreen, SPF 50 — $33.00
Having sunscreen in your skin-care routine is a must, and derms recommend opting for a mineral-based formula, like this one, for sensitive complexions. It’s formulated with vitamin E and titanium dioxide, which work together to protect skin from UVA/UVB rays and neutralize damaging free radicals. It also has iron oxides, which help to protect against visible light. It’s free of parabens, fragrance, and oil, making it gentle enough for daily use on sensitive skin.
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