The Best Products for Sensitive Skin


Photo courtesy of Avene

The term “sensitive skin” means different things to different people. NYC Dermatologist Dr. Neal Schultz says, ”So many people say they have sensitive skin, it’s almost become the new normal. So I prefer to refer to it as reactive skin”. Sensitive or reactive skin can mean your skin sometimes gets mildly irritated from a product or environmental conditions, or it can mean you have more serious issues that should be checked out by a dermatologist.

Skin can sometimes become sensitive when there’s a change of seasons, or to certain types of products. Other times hyper intolerant skin can react to specific active ingredients, fragrances or preservatives. Bottom line, whether we have reactive skin only some of the time, or suffer with it continually, we need to know the best gentle products that will soothe and calm skin that is red, itchy, bumpy, burning or stinging.

Eau Thermal Avene, Phytomer, Truth Treatments and Paula’s Choice offer effective solutions. Check out these products to keep your complexion looking healthy, beautiful and feeling its best.

Eau Thermal Avene has a very long, honored history of helping people with extremely sensitive or damaged skin; and its hydrotherapy center in Avene, France has been treating children and adults since 1743. Their unique thermal spring water, used in all their products, is so healing it was shipped to Chicago in 1871 to help the burn victims of the Great Chicago Fire.

The Tolérance Extrême line from Avene consists of four particularly unique products because they contain no preservatives, yet are totally sterile and packaged with a patented closure that will not allow anything harmful, such as bacteria, to get into the tube and contaminate the product. The Tolérance Extrême Cleansing Lotion for face and eye makeup removal will be appreciated by those with extreme rosacea because it doesn’t need to be rinsed off, as even tap water can irritate an acute rosacea flare up. The Tolérance Extrême Cream is a very effective daily moisturizer for dry skin and contains only seven ingredients. It has a pH factor of 6.0 which closely matches the pH of skin. It’s also a wonderfully soothing cream for normal or non-reactive skin that has gone through a surgical or laser procedure. It’s rich and creamy, and is a great choice for winter when even generally tolerant skin gets chaffed due to the harsh and freezing winds. For those with combination or oily skin, you’ll want to try the Tolérance Extrême Emulsion. This lightweight moisturizer contains only six ingredients, matches the skin’s 6.0 pH balance and keeps it moisturized and soothed. To get plumped, hydrated and velvety skin, get the Tolérance Extrême Mask. This super-duper hydrating mask will be especially effective during moisture-robbing winters or if you simply have very dry skin year round. Twice a week apply a thick layer, leave on for five minutes and then rinse off.


Also from France is Phytomer, who has been creating high quality, effective skin care for three generations and uses marine active ingredients to create their products in their own labs that are tested for efficacy by independent labs. Phytomer uses natural ingredients from the sea, and with cutting edge technology creates elegant and effective products without the use of chemicals and without compromising the natural balance of the sea. Phytomer is one of the first companies to be given an award for Good Manufacturing Practices (known as ISO22716) by the New European Regulation for Cosmetics. To soothe stinging skin, use the Oligoforce Soothing Serum which contains brown seaweed, zinc and purified extract from yeast that works both as an anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory, and is most effective in calming sensitive skin. On top of the Soothing Serum, apply Douceur Marine Velvet Soothing Cream. This smooth as silk cream calms redness and brings welcomed relief to the sensation of burning and stinging. Marine spring water is a key ingredient which is rich in minerals and has a pH balance that’s similar to skin. Apply to sensitive skin day and night.

Available at select spas and

New to the market and an insider’s secret (but not for long) is Truth Treatments by compounding pharmacist Ben Fuchs, whose products are not only very soothing, but also anti-aging. Fuchs recommends his vitamin C serum which is non-acidic and very calming. Unlike others which can be irritating, the Truth Treatments Vitamin C Serum protects and deeply hydrates skin. Along with containing the highest quality and most effective form of vitamin C, the serum includes a soothing chamomile derivative (Bisobolol) as well as a licorice derivative (stearyl glycyrrhetinate} which is anti-inflammatory. The Omega 6 Healing Cream will be coveted by anyone with severely dry skin as well. Initially created for healing burns and surgical wounds, this rich cream is perfect for soothing winter chapped cheeks and lips, cuticles and elbows, as well as post laser treatment areas. Tip for the guys: use the Omega 6 Healing Cream to calm razor burns. Both products are safe for skin affected by rosacea, psoriasis or eczema.


Famous for her book Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, Paula Begoun, of Paula’s Choice tackles skin care issues one by one. When she sees a skin condition, she figures out to help fix it. Her Calm Redness Relief line consists of six products for those with extra sensitive and persistently red skin. These products are good for all skin types – dry, oily or combination and work to keep redness away.

The Cleanser is water soluble, lathers nicely and removes dirt and makeup while it soothes red skin. Afterwards, apply the Toner that’s jam packed with lots of antioxidants to help reduce inflammation and redness. The 1% BHA Exfoliant is very lightweight and contains salicylic acid which will unclog pores and reduce redness. The Calm Redness Relief collection also has a Repairing Serum which contains antioxidants and is used under moisturizer, day or night. For daytime protection use the SPF 30 Mineral Moisturizer which soothes skin as it keeps it protected from the sun’s harmful rays. Before bed, slather on the Nighttime Moisturizer which contains plant extracts and antioxidants which will moisturize and offer relief to dry and irritated skin.


Having sensitive, intolerant skin isn’t easy to cope with and I hope some of these new products will bring relief to your delicate skin. Try some of these and let us know what you think.

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Great explanatioon of so many helpful products thoughtfully formulated for the most delicate skin. Thank you!


Oh my gosh I have been looking for an article like this forever! I have suffered with sensitive skin for years and it’s been a real struggle – especially when it comes to finding beauty products. Sometimes it feels like I just have to look at more ‘manufactured’ type products, and my skin will break out in blotches. There are very few products out there that can actually suit my skin! I’m actually currently using Forever Living products because the aloe within their products seems to do wonders to my skin Here’s a link to their Facebook page if anyone… Read more »


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