photo of woman with inflammed skin

How to Find a Sensitive Skin Moisturizer

April 06, 2020

Choosing the right moisturizer for sensitive skin can be tricky. For people that have sensitive skin, one mistake is haphazardly trying new products.  That can make the difference between enjoying a smooth, glowing complexion and spending several days treating a bad reaction. Finding the best sensitive skin moisturizer shouldn't be a trial-and-error risk. Here are some tips to help you find the best sensitive skin moisturizer.

Understanding Sensitive Skin

If you have sensitive skin, it is what we in the dermatology field call "reactive". And you know all to well the frustrations that come with this reactive skin. Even moisturizers that are designed to be "gentle" can irritate your skin or cause a reaction, especially for people who have acne, rosacea, eczema or autoimmune problems.  Any change to your routine can mean redness and inflammation. Sometimes it is due to an ingredient/ or combination of ingredients being too harsh.  Other times, it is from an ingredient that you may be allergic to.

Switching to "all-natural" products may be a good option, but it's important to know that not all natural products are created equally. Some "clean" products omit from the label preservatives that are found within other ingredients...leaving you with a false sense of security and scratching your head when something goes wrong. While others harbor contaminants from the botanical extraction process that you are unaware of. 


Anti-inflammatory Properties

Reducing inflammation can make dry, sensitive skin feel and look better. Ingredients like Vitamin E , Calendula, Chamomile and aloe vera can soothe the tightness of sensitive skin and typically are non-reactive even for the most sensitive beauty lover.  Other ingredients thought to be anti-inflammatory are rose hips, evening primrose, and willow bark.

Choose Fragrance-Free Moisturizers

Many fragrances tend to irritate sensitive skin. Choosing skin care that's labeled "fragrance-free" means that you're getting a product that doesn't have added perfumes. However, natural products and ones that are fragrance-free aren't always unscented – many natural, plant-based ingredients can have a light, pleasant smell, naturally.

Watch For Essential Oils

Even though essential oils are natural, they're concentrated extractions of the natural ingredients, and may actually irritate your skin if they are not diluted properly in the formulation. People who have both allergies and sensitive skin are especially prone to problems, especially when purchasing products from well intentioned home crafters.  Always look for professionally made skin care. 

Watch For Misleading Claims

Over the counter skin care products are not FDA regulated unless they are claiming to treat a condition, think Hydrocortisone for itch.  Additionally, the FDA states that any product that claims to alter the structure or function of the skin is a drug!  So unfortunately, many companies make claims that may or may not be true and may even categorize them as a drug, but it takes the FDA a long time to find companies that are misleading consumers.  And even then, the recourse is negligible. 



When looking for a sensitive skin moisturizer, it is often more helpful to look at the actual ingredients in the product, rather than the claims on the packaging.  Choose a sensitive skin moisturizer formulated with natural antioxidants to deliver intense hydration. While not every sensitive skin product will work for every person, finding things to look for and ingredients to avoid can help you narrow your options down.

Here at Theoderma, we still distill our botanical extracts on site to ensure the purity of our products and we list EVERY ingredient on our you can shop with confidence. Browse our Sensitive Skin products. 


Savy Guthrie is a dermatology PA with 17 years of patient care experience and is the founder of Theoderma Skin Care.

Savy with her dog

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.