The perfect skincare routine for sensitive skin

Vanessa Gibbs

Skincare routines are tricky for any skin type as there are so many products out there to choose from. But they’re especially tricky for those of us with sensitive skin as new products could trigger a reaction. It can feel impossible to find the right combination, but finding the perfect routine is worth it. With the right products, you can help to keep sensitive skin healthy, soothed and glowing. 

Not sure where to start? That’s where we can help. Here at Face Dr, our team of experts has decades of experience in the skincare world. We’ve helped thousands of clients find the ideal skincare routine. Here, we’ll share some of that knowledge and cover what to look out for when it comes to sensitive skin. If you’re looking for more information on how much it costs to build the best skincare routine for sensitive skin, we’re covered that here

What is sensitive skin? 

First, how do you know if you have sensitive skin? It’s usually quite easy to tell. Sensitive skin is skin that reacts more than usual and is easily irritated, so you’ll often be able to see or feel a difference in your skin. 

Look out for these common symptoms: 

  • Dry skin 
  • Flaky patches 
  • Redness 
  • Itchiness
  • Burning or stinging sensation 
  • Small bumps 

Some people are simply born with more sensitive skin and the skin does become more easily irritated as we age. There are also many different triggers that could irritate sensitive skin. The most common are skincare products—such as those with alcohol, acids or fragrances—other products like make-up or shower gels, hot and cold weather, sun exposure and hormones. 


How to choose a skincare routine for sensitive skin 


Here’s the routine to follow to calm sensitive skin and get it glowing. 


woman applying skincare product for sensitive skin

What to look out for 


The easiest way to choose which products to use for sensitive skin is to look out for those that are designed with sensitive skin in mind. Many brands have a whole range dedicated to this. These products will use milder ingredients and lower percentages of acids or active ingredients to minimise the risk of irritation. 

Sensitive skin is often dry and dehydrated, so look for hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin. Botanicals and antioxidants are also great ingredients as they can help to protect against aggravating compounds. 

What to avoid 


Be sure to avoid anything with added fragrances and alcohol, which can be irritating and drying. 

Physical scrubs and acids may also be too harsh for sensitive skin. If you want to include these in your routine, start slowly and see how your skin reacts. Depending on how reactive your skin is, you may be able to use a gentle version of the product. Start once a week and build it up and stop immediately if there’s any drying, redness or soreness. 


Products to use every day 



The first step in any skincare routine is cleansing. Be sure to cleanse your face morning and night to remove dirt, oil, make-up and pollutants that can clog your pores and can cause breakouts and irritation. 

Opt for a gentle creamy cleanser that can remove make-up with stripping the skin of its natural oils. Exfoliating cleansers can be too harsh for skin that easily reacts. 

Face Dr top pick: AllSkin Med Gentle Cleanser 

You could also try: 


After cleansing, some people’s skin reacts well to toner. This product helps to balance the natural pH of the skin and remove any excess product. Alcohol toners are common, so be sure to check the ingredients list of any toner before using it. There are gentle ones out there that can help to balance the skin without being overly harsh. 

Plus, toners made for sensitive skin are often cooling and calming, which is perfect for skin that’s always irritated. 

Face Dr top pick: ZO Skin Health Calming Toner 

You could also try: 


After cleansing, apply a serum to lock in moisture and give the skin a potent dose of healing ingredients. Be sure to look for those that are moisturising to cater to what your sensitive skin’s needs. Hyaluronic acid serums are ideal for boosting hydration levels and serums with vitamins and botanicals can help with healing the skin’s natural barrier to keep irritants out. 

Face Dr top pick: Obagi Professional-C Serum 10%Reach out to if you're interested in this product. 

You could also try: 


skincare serum on petals sensitive skin


Sunscreen is an important step in skincare routines for any skin type. For those of us with sensitive skin, look out for zinc oxide sunscreens which can be more gentle on the skin while still providing protection from harmful UV rays. Apply every morning, even on overcast days. 

Face Dr top pick: Obagi Physical Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50. Reach out to if you're interested in this product. 

You could also try: 


Products to use every week 



Masks can be a great go-to product for when your skin needs an extra boost of calming and soothing ingredients. Look for masks which are thick and hydrating. Masks with gel textures have the added benefit of feeling cooling on irritated skin, helping to relieve any burning or stinging sensations. You can buy weekly masks or overnight masks, which are great for really hydrating the skin and healing it while you sleep. 

Face Dr top pick: ZO Skin Health Complexion Clearing Masque 

You could also try: 


man applying face mask for sensitive skin


It’s easy to think that those with sensitive skin should skip this step. But exfoliating is just as important for sensitive skin as the other skin types, you just need to take it easy and pay more attention to the products you’re using. 

Instead of a physical scrub or harsh acid like glycolic acid, opt for something gentler like lactic acid. This often comes as a serum and can help to remove dead skin cells and reveal a dewy complexion, without over-exfoliating. You may find that exfoliating every day is too harsh, but your skin doesn’t react to exfoliating just once a week. Start using a new product slowly and watch carefully for a reaction. Even exfoliating once a week can make a difference to the look, feel and health of your skin. 

Face Dr top pick: ZO Skin Health Exfoliating Polish 

You could also try: 

Need expert advice?  


Now you know some tips and tricks for building a skincare routine for sensitive skin, it’s time to get started. Why not speak with a skin expert to make sure you’re using the best products for you? At Face Dr, we offer free video consultations where you can talk to a member of our team. In a 30-minute call, one of our skin experts will analyse your skin, listen to your concerns and recommend the best products to tackle them. 

We only ever recommend brands and products that we know offer real results, so you can save time and money finding the best products sooner. Plus, there’s never any obligation to buy. It can be daunting trying new products if you have sensitive skin, but our skin experts can give you the tailored advice you need to make the best decision. Our experts can also help you build the ideal skincare routine to help soothe sensitive skin and keep it as healthy and radiant as possible. 

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