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What is Sensitive Skin Cleanser?

Article Details
  • Written By: Allison Boelcke
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 05 February 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Sensitive skin cleanser is any cosmetic cleaning product formulated for sensitive skin. This term is usually applied to skin that is easily irritated, either due to allergies or preexisting skin conditions. Fragrances and chemicals in basic facial cleansers can make sensitive skin conditions even worse, so sensitive skin products typically limit the number of additives.

Skin cleansers contain a percentage of water so they can easily lather and be applied to the skin. This moisture makes bacteria more likely to grow, so cleansing products require added chemical preservatives, such as formaldehyde or paraben. These preservatives often cause redness, tightness, or itching in people with sensitive skin, but they are necessary in keeping a product sanitary. Sensitive skin cleansers usually limit the amount of preservatives to the minimum amount necessary.

Since people with sensitive skin are prone to experiencing skin irritation, sensitive skin cleansers typically contain more soothing ingredients than traditional cleansers. People who have extremely dry skin that is tight and painful may use cleansers that contain aloe vera, a plant extract that feels cool to the skin. Sensitive skin cleanser usually has limited amounts of chemical moisturizing ingredients and may use natural oils, such as sunflower, avocado, or green tea. Acidic ingredients, such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, or vitamin C, can be too harsh on sensitive skin, so formulated cleansers typically contain little to none.

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People with sensitive skin may experience rashes or other irritation when using traditional skin cleansers because they are allergic to the fragrances many products contain. Sensitive skin cleansers usually do not contain any perfumes or scents. They also typically do not use any colors because dye may also cause allergic reactions.

Sensitive skin cleanser does not contain a large number of total ingredients. Limiting the amount of ingredients reduces the chances that a person will have an adverse reaction to a particular ingredient. The cleansers formulated for sensitive skin do not usually contain antibacterial ingredients because the harsh ingredients used to kill bacteria can cause further irritation. Organic ingredients, such as botanical essential oils, are not usually used in sensitive skin cleansers due to their likelihood of causing rashes even in people with normal skin.

People who use sensitive skin cleanser may have to take special precautions when they use the product to ensure it works properly and does not aggravate skin. It needs to be applied gently to skin without rubbing because harsh rubbing can make even sensitive skin cleanser irritate the skin. A person with sensitive skin may be advised not to use towels or washcloths containing dyes to clean off the cleanser.

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