3 Ingredients To Avoid If You Have Sensitive Skin

3 Ingredients To Avoid If You Have Sensitive Skin

Discover the top 3 ingredients to avoid if you have sensitive skin. Learn why propylene glycol, synthetic fragrances, and harsh physical exfoliants can irritate and inflame sensitive skin. Find out about natural alternatives, such as aloe vera, chamomile extract, natural fragrances, coffee, pumice powder, and evening primrose, that are gentle on sensitive skin.
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What in the world is one to do with sensitive skin? Sometimes it feels like every skincare product out there is just waiting to irritate and inflame your skin however much they promise to be soft on skin. Whether it is face creams, scrubs, moisturisers, oils, and everything else in the skincare realm – it seems as if the world of dermatology simply forgot how to be gentle. 

Woman touching her skin

Don’t throw your hands up in dermal defeat just yet!

We know frustrations with sensitive skin and finding a product that works while trying not to anger the skin, and it often involves a lot of spot testing and finger crossing. But we don't think you should have to forever test or purchase product after product simply hoping they will work with your skin sensitivity…so we’ve put a guide together of the main 3 ingredients to avoid if you have sensitive skin. 

Propylene glycol

If you pick up a skincare product, most likely 8 out of 10 will have propylene glycol in it. So what the heck is it? Propylene glycol is a byproduct of petroleum, though it’s rated as a safe product that is used and innumerable foods as a preservative, chemicals for cleaning and automotive, and a humectant in skincare products to retain moisture. 

So if it’s safe and literally everywhere, what’s the big fuss? Well, even though most lotions, moisturisers, and creams utilise this versatile compound for trapping in moisture – it is extensively reported that it’s not uncommon to irritate or inflame sensitive skin and cause contact dermatitis. Those with sensitive skin, eczema, or prone to allergic reactions should definitely avoid propylene glycol. 

So what is a good alternative to propylene glycol?

Woman holding the Firming Day Cream

While propylene glycol is praised for its ability to be a versatile preservative and helps increase skincare products with moisture retention, there are heaps of other natural humectants to consider! Aloe vera, that wonder plant that we use for those days when we bask a bit too long in the sun, is a natural humectant that is soothing to the skin and locks in moisture – used in our Firming Day Cream for that very reason. 

Woman holding the Pro-Aging Mist Toner

Another incredible humectant is chamomile extract, which is known to be calming for the skin, reduce inflammation, and increase moisture retention. And that is exactly why these to amazing humectants are ingredients in our new Pro-Aging Mist Toner which means your sensitive skin is just a spritz away from skin zen. 


While it’s wonderful to have sweet scented skincare products that leave you smelling like a potpourri of botanicals, these fragrances could be the direct cause of your skin irritations and breakouts. We know that many of us associate a scent to our favourite skincare products, and sometimes a scent becomes us – where people associate it with you. Yet, synthetic scents, or fragrances created in laboratories, are one of the main reasons those of us with sensitive skin have bad reactions. 

Nearly every synthetic fragrance is derived from petroleum, which is already an irritant. Of course besides the inflammatory nature of synthetic fragrances, some are also derived from animals and/or tested on animals as well. 

So what are the better alternatives to synthetic fragrances?

Enter natural fragrances, which tend to be much better for you and the environment as well. While only about 5% of fragrances come from natural ingredients, it is becoming much more popular to see gracing the shelves and digital storefronts with the drive to take care of our skin better, naturally. 

Image of the Restorative Trio

Essential oils are one great alternative that hold wonderful scents, though it’s best to use these with carrier oils. Popular natural fragrances in many lotions, creams, skin oils, and moisturisers are coconut oil and lavender oil which tend to be gentle natural fragrances with a wonderful scent. You can find lavender oil utlised in our Restorative Trio for gentle anti-aging skincare and our Clearing Face Cream.

Physical Exfoliants

While exfoliating is key for cell turnover and clearing our dead skin cells and oil or debris from pores and follicles, harsh physical exfoliants could be doing a number on your sensitive skin. Those apricot seed beads or other natural exfoliants might be too abrasive on your skin, which is why your skin might feel raw and irritated after washing your face.

What are some better ways to exfoliate sensitive skin?

There are many different and less-harsh physical exfoliants so you can still clear away your skin without the severe reactions. 

  • Coffee: Coffee is a natural exfoliant that is packed with antioxidants and helps fight skin-damaging free radicals while having a light to medium exfoliating texture. 
  • Pumice Powder: Made from ground up pumice stone, this volcanic mixture tends to be very fine to light for exfoliating texture for extra sensitive skin and is PH-balanced. 
  • Evening Primrose: Very gentle and known to have emollient qualities that soften and smooth skin while clearing pores and locking in moisture, it has been an ingredient praised for its ability to reduce eczema and atopic dermatitis while cleansing deep. Evening primrose is one of the ingredients in our Soothing Cream Cleanser suitable for sensitive skin.

Now you know what main ingredients to avoid and reduce inflammation and irritation. Worry less while achieving wonderfully looking skin, however sensitive, by reducing exposure to the above irritants in your skincare today!

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