If you have sensitive skin, there is no doubt that you would be constantly wary of trying out new skincare products or practices. From rashes and inflammation to acne, having sensitive skin would definitely feel like you are walking on a minefield.

But just because you have sensitive skin does not mean you should not be following a skincare routine. All you need to do is follow some expert-approved skin care tips that are specially designed to help calm, soothe and nourish sensitive skin to reduce inflammation. And guess what? To help you get started, we got in touch with Dr. Mrunal Shah Modi of Shine Skin, Hair and Laser Clinic, Mumbai to help you figure out some easy to follow yet super effective skin care tips for sensitive skin. Read on to unlock your best skin ever!


1. How do you know if you have sensitive skin?

How do you know if you have sensitive skin?

Before we begin, it is really important to understand how to find out if you have sensitive skin. And to make things really simple here’s a no-fuss way to find out, according to Dr. Modi. She says, “Start by washing your face with a gentle cleanser and pat dry. If your skin feels dry, itchy or red after 15-20 minutes, then it means that you have sensitive skin.”

Some other tips to figuring out if you have sensitive skin that the doctor points out are::

  • “Sensitive skin usually reacts easily to any new products and is prone to rashes and irritation.
  • Sensitive skin can tan and get sunburnt quite easily. It gets red and dry all the time. Acne is a common concern if you have sensitive skin.
  • Patients usually complain about the burning and stinging of the face. Excessive dryness can cause flakes.”

Please note: If you have any doubts about sensitive skin, it is always better to speak to a dermatologist about your skin problems rather than taking steps on your own to avoid major issues.


2. Skincare tips for sensitive skin

Skincare tips for sensitive skin

Now that you know how to find out if you have sensitive skin, let’s look at some expert-approved skincare tips for sensitive skin in detail.


- Use a gentle cleanser

Use a gentle cleanser

The kind of cleanser you use when it comes to dealing with sensitive skin is really important. It is better to avoid using foaming cleansers and stick to super gentle foam-free or no-rinse formulas as they prevent stripping your skin. Dr. Modi says, “You could use a gentle pH-balancing cleanser and strictly avoid the ones that contain harsh and potent ingredients like salicylic or glycolic acid. This is because they will further irritate your skin and make it dry and flaky.”


- Switch to an alcohol-free toner

Switch to an alcohol-free toner

Toners are essential if you want healthy, glowing and clear skin and doubly important for people with sensitive skin. If you have given up on using toners because you feel like your skin stings or feels dry after use, then it is time to switch to an alcohol-free toner. According to Dr. Modi, “Using alcohol and astringent-free toner is an excellent way to maintain your skin’s pH balance and keep your pores clean. But if despite using the right type of toner, you feel like your skin burns a lot, then you should avoid using a toner entirely.”


- Moisturise without fail

Moisturise without fail

Dr. Mrunal says that moisturizing your skin at least twice a day, after a shower and before bed, are really important skincare tips for sensitive skin. Use a lightweight, gel or cream formula that doesn’t contain harsh ingredients and is fragrance-free. Moisturizers not only help to hydrate and condition your skin but also work to enhance the barrier function, reduce signs of aging and keep your skin looking soft and supple. Therefore, irrespective of your skin type, skipping on moisturiser under any circumstances is not an option.


- Exfoliate sparingly

Exfoliate sparingly

Exfoliation is an excellent way to get rid of dirt, debris clogging up your pores and dead skin cells, but if you have sensitive skin, then you need to be careful about the number of times you use a scrub. Dr. Modi says, “Exfoliation helps remove the dead skin, but if you have sensitive skin, then exfoliation can end up irritating your skin instead. Over exfoliation should be avoided and you must not exfoliate your skin more than two to three times a month as it can strip the skin of natural oils, compromise the barrier function and lead to inflammation, redness and rashes.” Remember to use a super gentle cleanser without big granules to protect your skin.


- Never forget to use sunscreen

Never forget to use sunscreen

Sunscreen should be an integral and mandatory part of your skincare routine irrespective of your skin type and it is something you should apply every single day come rain or shine and whether you are indoors or outdoors. Dr. Modi says, “Sunscreen is an absolute must over a moisturiser. This will not only prevent sun damage caused by the UV rays but will also prevent redness and burning due to sun exposure. Sun and UV rays damage the skin and people with sensitive skin easily tan and get sunburns. Sunscreen actually protects the skin. Using a physical sunscreen which has zinc oxide and titanium dioxide is very important.” Always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 50 PA+++ or above, for all-round protection from UVA and UVB rays.


- Drink enough water

Drink enough water

Drinking enough water throughout the day is extremely important if you want a healthy functioning body, along with soft, supple and hydrated skin. Lack of water is a major sensitive skin aggressor, which leads to a lot of problems such as redness, itching and eczema. A simple way to avoid this issue is to drink at least three to four liters of water each day.


- Follow a night time skincare routine

Follow a night time skincare routine

The time you sleep is when your body actually heals and repairs itself a lot, therefore it is extremely important to supplement your body with everything it needs to improve and assist it in this. In order to deal with sensitive skin, it is important to follow a night time skincare routine by including a replenishing, repairing and rejuvenating night cream in your routine. This will help improve your skin’s barrier function against aggressors and makes it feel less sensitive over time.


3. Ingredients to include for sensitive skin

Ingredients to include for sensitive skin

According to Dr. Mrunal Shah Modi, “Use fragrance-free and hypoallergenic products that contain ingredients such as melatonin, tranexamic acid, kojic acid, polyhydroxy acids, squalane, ceramide-3 and jojoba oil.” These ingredients do not aggravate skin sensitivity, thanks to their anti-inflammatory, calming and skin-soothing properties. This is what makes them really suitable for sensitive skin.


4. Ingredients to avoid for sensitive skin

Ingredients to avoid for sensitive skin

It is best to avoid really potent and inflammatory ingredients in your skincare routine if you have sensitive skin. “You must completely avoid ingredients like hydroquinone, tretinoin, retinoids, glycolic acids, salicylic acids, alpha hydroxy acids, benzoyl peroxide, hyaluronic acid and coconut oil”, says Dr. Modi.


5. FAQs about skin care tips for sensitive skin

FAQs about skin care tips for sensitive skin

Q. How do you treat sensitive skin naturally?

A. The best way to deal with sensitive skin naturally is to avoid long showers, hot water, harsh chemicals and fragrance in products. Additionally, it would be better to avoid DIY remedies without consulting your doctor about it first. Be sure to use more organic and plant-based products to help reduce skin sensitivity and achieve healthy, glowing skin.

Q. How important is the role of diet when it comes to sensitive skin?

A. Dr. Modi says, “A good and healthy diet plays a very important role in caring for sensitive skin. Keeping your body hydrated is the key to keeping sensitivity at bay, hence drink a lot of water and fluids throughout the day. Consume a diet that is rich in green leafy vegetables, fruits, almonds, walnuts and omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, eating nuts, citrus fruits and foods rich in vitamin E is important to maintain the skin’s barrier function and achieve healthy-looking skin.”

Q. What are the skincare steps one should avoid if they have sensitive skin?

A. Since sensitive skin is more prone to inflammation, redness and acne, it would be wiser to avoid certain skincare steps. Dr. Modi says, “One should completely avoid using products with fragrances, alcohol and sodium lauryl sulphate. Avoid over-exfoliating your skin, using chemical sunscreens and alcohol-based toners as well. Additionally, it is important to avoid wearing makeup for long hours without first prepping and protecting your skin with a good, lightweight moisturiser.”