What Are the Best Tips for Washing Sensitive Skin?

O. Parker
O. Parker
Bottles of pink and orange body wash.
Bottles of pink and orange body wash.

Sensitive skin is easily irritated. Factors that irritate sensitive skin include harsh products and abrasive washing techniques. When washing sensitive skin, using gentile cleansers and avoiding chemical preservatives in skin care products will help keep skin smooth and soft.

Using the right face wash and body wash is the first step in any skin care routine. When washing sensitive skin, dermatologists recommended using a cream-based facial wash or a mild body soap or wash that is formulated specifically for sensitive skin. Avoiding facial or body washes that advertise foaming action or those that are heavily scented also is a good tip.

People with sensitive skin often use skin care products with fragrance or sodium lauryl sulfate.
People with sensitive skin often use skin care products with fragrance or sodium lauryl sulfate.

Washing sensitive skin requires a light touch. Excess scrubbing or rubbing can stimulate redness or cause the skin to break out in a rash. One of the best ways to wash sensitive skin is to gently apply a cleanser with the finger tips. The cleanser should be rinsed off with lukewarm water, as hot water can be irritating to sensitive skin.

Sodium lauryl sulfate and parabens are two types of chemicals that are frequently added to facial cleansers, body washes and soaps. Many people with sensitive skin will react to one or both of these chemicals. Sodium lauryl sulfates often are added to skin and hair care products to improve lather and foaming, and parabens are a common preservative used. The harsh chemical nature of this preservative can cause an allergic reaction in many people. When washing sensitive skin, it is best to use products that are free of sulfates and parabens.

It is important to use a light touch when washing sensitive skin.
It is important to use a light touch when washing sensitive skin.

Avoiding highly fragrant facial and body washes also is a good tip. Chemical fragrances can irritate the skin, so it generally is best to look for products that are labeled "fragrance free" or "unscented." Products that are lightly scented with natural plant extracts may be tolerated by some people, but often any scent at all will cause an allergic reaction in people with sensitive skin.

Most body washes designed for sensitive skin are fragrance-free.
Most body washes designed for sensitive skin are fragrance-free.

Additionally, washing sensitive skin too often can cause redness and bumps. If one's skin is not overly oily and does not have makeup on it, it may be best to consider gently splashing the face with cool water alone. This can refresh skin without causing a reaction.

After finding a facial wash that does not irritate the skin, it is important to look for moisturizers and makeup that do not cause problems. A good skin care routine begins with the cleanser, but if the later steps cause irritation, a person with sensitive skin may still experience outbreaks. Looking for natural products that do not contain fragrances or chemicals is a good tip.

Discussion Comments

Spotiche5

I have sensitive facial skin, and I have found that a good way to avoid skin irritation is to use soaps and cleansers sparingly. Washing with them once daily in the evening before bedtime is enough to keep your face clean. Then in the morning, all you really need to do to clean your face is to splash it with lukewarm water to freshen up in preparation for your day.

Heavanet

Using a very soft wash cloth when washing sensitive skin is also a great way to decrease skin irritation. You can find this type of cloth in most bath supply sections of department or variety stores. Wash clothes made especially for babies are also great options because they are usually plushy soft for delicate skin.

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    • Bottles of pink and orange body wash.
      By: Dessie
      Bottles of pink and orange body wash.
    • People with sensitive skin often use skin care products with fragrance or sodium lauryl sulfate.
      By: picsfive
      People with sensitive skin often use skin care products with fragrance or sodium lauryl sulfate.
    • It is important to use a light touch when washing sensitive skin.
      By: moonrise
      It is important to use a light touch when washing sensitive skin.
    • Most body washes designed for sensitive skin are fragrance-free.
      By: Iurii Sokolov
      Most body washes designed for sensitive skin are fragrance-free.
    • The correct face wash must be matched with an individual's skin type.
      By: lightwavemedia
      The correct face wash must be matched with an individual's skin type.
    • Those with allergies or sensitive skin -- including on the scalp -- should pay special attention to the ingredients in soaps and shampoos.
      By: esp2k
      Those with allergies or sensitive skin -- including on the scalp -- should pay special attention to the ingredients in soaps and shampoos.