Best Face Wash for Sensitive Skin, Sensitivity test, Tips & More

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As a person with sensitive skin, one thing I’ve learned is that I just can’t buy into ads. Let’s be honest here, there are products that no matter how high up they are in the market they just don’t work. During my skin journey, I have tried a sea of products that were referred to me by a friend or loved one only to end up with break-outs.

Sensitive skin wash
What should you use on your sensitive skin while washing it?

Having this skin type is a challenge as you just can’t afford to get drawn by ads to buy a product. In a sense, it is a journey. You are looking for a product that will provide it with the nourishment it needs while at the same time minimizing the risk of break-outs. That being said, here are some products that we can almost swear by.

Best face wash to buy

If you have sensitive skin, then you need products that will not aggravate it. However, as you use your face wash, you need to be careful about the other products that you use (such as moisturizers, make-ups) as the ingredients contained in these products may impede the efficacy of the wash. Here are some of the brands that rank highly:

  1. Avance Algae Deep Gentle Cleanse: This product is ideal for people with dry, sensitive skin. It is a creamy cleanser that contains amino acids. This acid deeply cleanses the skin without over-drying. They also have a foaming cleansing gel for people whose is oily but sensitive.
  2. Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser: This is another great product with high product reviews including from people who have struggled with whiteheads, blackheads, acne, and rashes. This gentle foaming cleanser contains soy extract, salicylic acid (0.5%), glycerine, and other inactive ingredients that work together to leave it radiant and smooth. The brand is hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic.
  3. Clearasil Hydrablast Oil-Free Face Wash: One of the ingredients in the product is Salicylic acid (at 2%). It also contains inactive ingredients such as glycerine, Lauric Acid (which has moisturizing abilities), and Palmitic acid that soothe the skin.
  4. Clinique Wash-Away Gentle Cleanser: A non-comedogenic moisture-rich cleanser that is recommended for sensitive skin. Has no fragrance and foams up nicely when used. Recommended for oily skin types.
  5. L’Oreal Dermo-Expertise Balance Foaming Cream Cleanser: Also recommended, especially for people with combination skin.
  6. Murad Redness Therapy Soothing Gel Cleanser: This soothing cleanser contains ingredients such as peppermint leaf, goji berries, licorice root extract. This combination of ingredients helps to soothe it thereby minimizing irritation, and redness.
  7. Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser: This is an all-natural cleanser that is ideal for sensitive skin. A multi-purpose cleanser that not only cleanses but also exfoliates it. The product contains natural sugar crystals that exfoliate it, reduce oil build-up and promotes a toned complexion.
  8. Epionce Milky Lotion Cleanser: A creamy cleanser that is recommended by dermatologists, including rosacea prone individuals. Surgeons also recommend the product to patients recovering from cosmetic surgery. That’s all the proof you need on determining whether Epionce will be gentle.
  9. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser: A creamy cleanser suitable for all skin types including sensitive one. This cleanser is fragrance-free and non-comedogenic. The product ranks highly by the rosacea support group, and can also be used to treat eczema, acne, and psoriasis.
  10. Avene Tolerance Extreme Cleansing Lotion: Avene is one of the leading products in the market that boasts of producing beauty products that are 100% free of preservatives. The Avene Tolerance Extreme Cleansing lotion uses the D.E.F.I formula, which is a cosmetics sterilization process. This formula maintains the integrity of the ingredients and prevents air and bacteria from tampering with the ingredients. This cleanser is dermatologically recommended for people with hypersensitive skin. On the other hand, if you have oily, acne-prone, sensitive one, then you can try out the Avene Cleanance products. It is recommended to use this cleanser with the Avene Extreme cream.

How do I know that I have Sensitive Skin?

The proliferation of products in the market along with other factors, such as stress and environmental change, has led to a high number of people developing a sensitive skin. It gets irritated easily. This means that you constantly struggle to soothe it, and you have developed a reluctance to try out new products as you are likely to end up with redness, rashes, or acne-break-out. Also, it burns easily in the sun and is prone to hyperpigmentation.

There are times the sensitive skin may be the outcome of the products you are currently using. For example, it may get itchy if you are using a face wash that over-dries it leaving it without moisture. Products containing high alcohol content are one of the culprits in this case.

Also, people with oily skin are advised to use a face wash with salicylic acid. Although this ingredient is ideal for the oily-sensitive skin as it helps control acne, a product with a high content of this ingredient may lead to over-drying. The secret is to look for a product that combines the usefulness of this ingredient with other much-needed ingredients such as glycerine or Aloe Vera.

You may also develop sensitivity due to excessive use of certain products. For example, there are concerns that mixing different anti-aging products could irritate it. Anti-aging ingredients such as retinoids and alpha hydroxy acids can significantly erode it leading to irritation.

Some people experience skin sensitivity in certain times of the month for instance in winter months. On the other hand, there is the condition termed as rosacea which is characteristic of some sensitivity. This condition is likely to develop after the age of 30 and is characterized by blushing or flushing that ends up with the development of tiny red pimple-like bumps at the slightest agitation. Most people with sensitive skin have rosacea or dry skin.

Tips for face wash

When it comes to skincare, the secret is to look for products that contain few active ingredients. Remember, the more products you use, the more likely to get irritations.

If it is oily, then it is advisable to use foaming cleansers. Foaming cleansers help break apart the oil found on your skin. Try out a face wash with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Also, products with neem, witch hazel, or tea tree are advisable as they help control the oil without over-drying.

If you have a dry one, then it is advisable to use creamy cleansers as they help replenish the lipids. Also, wash your face at least once a day and look for products with gentle formulations and occlusive emollients that will protect it rather than aggravate it.

Always patch test a product before incorporating it into your skincare regimen (this goes for all products, whether cleanser, sunscreen or scrub). Bear in mind that these products may interact with each other leading to irritation.

You need to be patient when testing a product. Some products may fail to trigger an immediate reaction. You need a minimum of 4 days to test a product. As a rule of thumb, you test the product on the forearm or inner wrist. This is because the skin on this point acts similar to that on your face as it is thin.

Go for products labeled hypoallergenic and fragrance-free. If you are struggling with acne, then it would be advisable to go for products that are also non-comedogenic. If the symptoms of sensitivity persist, then consider visiting a dermatologist.


  • Get the
  • EauThermaleAvèneAU:
  • Katie Rodan, Kathy Fields. Unblemished: Stop Breakouts! Fight Acne! Transform Your Life! Reclaim Your Self-Esteem with the Proven 3-Step Program Using Over-the-Counter Medications, Simon and Schuster, 2008
  • Rashmi Shetty. Age Erase: Your ultimate beauty bible to aging gracefully, Random House India,
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