The term “sensitive skin” is broad and often confusing because it’s not actually a medical condition dermatologists can diagnose. But, most of us know when our skin is sensitive because we experience redness, itchiness, tightness, stinging, burning, or bumps when we use certain products, and your doctor will likely agree (or they’ll get to the root of the actual problem if those symptoms happen to be caused by something else).
“I consider sensitive skin to be skin that is very reactive to a variety of things, including some skin-care products, personal-care products and temperature changes, to name a few triggers. Sensitive skin typically tends to be dry, but not always,” says San Antonio dermatologist Vivian Bucay, MD. “The main thing that makes skin reactive is a compromised skin barrier, thus making it more prone to inflammation, which can then lead to dryness, redness and even a rash.”
To help make shopping for sensitive skin– and allergic contact dermatitis–friendly products easier, CVS Pharmacy collaborated with SkinSAFE, a comprehensive and searchable ingredient database developed with the Mayo Clinic, to identify more than 250 products on its shelves (and its website) that are free of potential allergens. According to the Mayo Clinic, these 11 ingredients are the top common allergens that SkinSAFE estimates affect 49 percent of all people who categorize themselves as having sensitive skin: fragrance, methylisothiazolinone, formaldehyde, benzalkonium chloride, methyldibromo glutaronitrile, nickel, potassium dichromate, cobalt chloride, benzophenone 4 and neomycin bacitracin.