How to Build a Sensitive Skin Care Routine

How to Build a Sensitive Skin Care Routine

Believe it or not, your skin can experience emotions, too. Well, kind of. If you have sensitive skin that’s prone to heated flare-ups, aggravated by dryness, or irritated by itchiness, you may want to consider a more mindful approach to your natural skin care routine

For that, you’ll need to find natural skin care products and ingredients that support and uplift your skin barrier to return it to its bright disposition. 

Then, you can craft a skin care routine that involves just the right amount of tender loving care.

How Do You Know If You Have Sensitive Skin?

If you notice redness or irritation after using a topical skincare product, you may be experiencing skin sensitivity. And you’re not alone: As many as 70% of women report experiencing some level of skin sensitivity, which can include:1 

  • Dry skin
  • Itchy skin
  • Burning sensation
  • Redness
  • Stinging
  • Tightness

If you experience painful symptoms, you may want to consult with a healthcare provider to determine if you have specific allergy triggers. That said, certain medical conditions can also trigger skin sensitivity, such as:

  • Acne
  • Eczema
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Rosacea
  • Skin cancer

Whatever your underlying skin concern, following a sensitive skin care routine can help keep your skin shining, smooth, and supple. 

Creating A Sensitive Skin Care Routine

A skin care routine that helps your skin glow from the inside out is one worth investing in. To support your sensitive skin, it’s best to bolster your medicine cabinet with:

  • Gentle and fragrance-free products
  • Natural and hydrating ingredients
  • Soothing face masks

And always check the ingredients of any product you put on your skin barrier. You want to nourish your face with clean ingredients that restore your natural glow, such as:

  • Aloe vera
  • Manuka honey
  • Vitamin E oil
  • Lavender 
  • Squalene oil

Your skin care and makeup products should never contain harmful chemicals or ingredients that can make skin irritation worse. Avoid phthalates, parabens, and oxybenzone—and follow our quick tips below. 

Tip #1: Generously Moisturize

You need to drink eight glasses of water a day for your body to function at its best, so it's safe to say that your skin needs its hydration too!

When sensitive skin loses too much water or face oil, it can become dry, flaky, and sometimes even painful. Unfortunately, many products intended to address sensitive skin issues like acne and eczema can also cause dry skin, so keeping your skin moisturized is a sensitive-skin essential. 

Here are our recommended ways to keep your skin supple, no matter its disposition:

  • Wash with a gentle cleanser – Washing gives your face a clean slate and clears your pores so they can more easily absorb moisturizing products. But, be careful to choose a facial cleanser that won’t overly dry or strip your healthy skin, like strong astringents and abrasive exfoliants. When it comes to sensitive skin, clean ingredients reign supreme. And look for face cleaners that are hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested, and soap-free.
  • Use a hydrating serum – Serums aren’t for everyone, but this extra step in a hydrating skin routine can give you a level-up in the battle against dry skin. Frequently infused with hyaluronic acid or squalene oil, serums can provide a hydrating boost to fend off irritation. Choose a serum with simple ingredients that will help lock in moisture and protect the skin’s barrier, without the use of harsh chemical additives. And use caution when using vitamin C serums, as they have the potential to cause redness and irritation.2
  • Moisturize daily – Whether you’re using a light moisturizer during the day or a more substantial cream at night, the same rules apply: Use a fragrance-free moisturizer made with simple, natural ingredients that calm the skin cells, like chamomile, aloe vera, oats, and manuka honey. 
  • Protect yourself from UV rays – Don’t forget a moisturizing or standalone sunscreen product with a minimum of SPF 30. Protecting skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays is important for everyone, but if you have a sensitive skin type, you should be hyper-vigilant in minimizing UV exposure. 
  • Treat yourself with a mask – A weekly clay face mask will give your skin cells a nutrient-rich moisture infusion. Look for masks that contain ultra-hydrating natural ingredients like cucumber, aloe vera, and manuka honey for calm, cooling hydration without any harmful irritants. 

Tip #2: Give Products A Trial Run Before Committing

One of the best ways to stop a skin flare-up before it starts is to do a patch or spot test. Not only will this help to curb any potential reactions, but it can be a useful resource if you’re trying to narrow down specific ingredients that may be triggering unhappy skin.

Guard your healthy skin against potentially harmful ingredients in skincare by:

  • Applying a dollop of a new makeup or skin care product to the bend of your elbow before applying it to your face.
  • Waiting anywhere between 24 hours to a few days to see if an adverse reaction appears.
  • Discontinuing the use of the skincare product if you notice any irritation or redness, and taking note of any ingredients that could be potential irritation triggers. 

Tip #3: Stay Fragrance-Free

You might not associate scent as something that could influence your skin, but synthetic fragrances can adversely affect the way your skin reacts to a product. 

Even if fragrances don’t bother you now, frequent use could potentially be harmful down the line: A recent study found that increased use of leave-on fragranced skin care products can be considered a risk factor for developing skin contact allergy.3

So, what’s the solution if you can’t live without hints of citrus and mint in your moisturizer?

You don’t necessarily need to eliminate all fragrances, just be cognizant of the types of fragrances you use and how often you’re applying the product. Look for products that contain naturally-derived fragrances rather than synthetic. Synthetic fragrances are created using chemical reactions to mimic a scent and are more apt to trigger a reaction, while natural fragrances are derived right from the source. 

Tip #4: Handle Retinols and Other Irritants With Care

When it comes to choosing the best products for your sensitive skin care routine, one of the most important things you can do is read the label. An ingredient that works for oily or combination skin, such as retinol, may not be the best choice for those with sensitive skin. 

While the best way to avoid the side effects of irritants is to avoid them altogether, try to limit products that contain common skin irritants and allergy triggers, such as:

  • Retinols
  • Exfoliants
  • Acids
  • Sulfates
  • Harsh cleansers

Instead, look for beauty products with ingredients that have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and hydrating properties and are gentle on sensitive skin, such as:

  • Hyaluronic acid
  • NIacinamide
  • Squalane
  • Vitamin E

Tip #5: Prioritize Full-Body Comfort

Sensitive skin can extend beyond your face, so don’t forget to care for your body with the same caution as you do your face. Oftentimes, dry or irritated patches can arise on your arms, legs, and torso as well. 

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to keep your skin feeling its best:

  • Switch your laundry detergent – Even though you aren’t applying laundry soap directly to your body, the chemicals and synthetic fragrances in many detergents are high on the no-no list for folks with dry sensitive skin. All those chemicals are going into your clothes and bedding, which then spend hours in contact with your skin. Instead, opt for hypoallergenic and fragrance-free laundry detergents to keep itchy, flaky skin at bay. 
  • Keep your showers brief – As relaxing as a long, hot shower is after a long day, it’s best to avoid scathing showers, as the water may dry out your skin. Keep your showers short, and apply a soothing, natural moisturizer immediately after you towel dry to seal in moisture.

#6: Keep It Simple

When you’re taking care of your dry sensitive skin, simplicity is key. That said, avoid over-applying products to your skin, no matter how clean or natural its ingredients, as it may:

  • Lead to prolonged irritation
  • Strip your skin of its natural oils and protective barrier
  • Clog pores with too much moisturizer or makeup

Be Kind To Your Skin With HPPY

Like your body, your skin needs to be nourished with whole ingredients that help you feel your best. And when it comes to caring for your sensitive skin, it’s best to create a skin care routine around natural, clean products. 

Treat your skin with the reverence it deserves with HPPY. 

Each of our clay masks is crafted with raw, natural ingredients that work with—rather than against—your skin’s microbiome. And our cold water high-pressure processing (HPP) technology ensures you’re getting only the best for your delicate skin. 


  1. Frontiers in Medicine. The Prevalence of Sensitive Skin.
  2. Medical News Today. Top 3 benefits of vitamin C serum.
  3. Contact Dermatitis. Skin exposure to scented products used in daily life and fragrance contact allergy in the European general population ‐ The EDEN Fragrance Study.
  4. DermNet. Sensitive Skin.
  5. National Library of Medicine. Sensitive Skin: An Overview.
  6. The New York Times. How to Build a skin care Routine. care-routine
  7. WebMD. Sensitive Skin Dos and Don'ts.

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