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Most people get sensitive skin at some point in their lives. Although it’s commonly referred to as a skin type, sensitivity is a skin condition resulting from product use or a skincare method. Unlike oily or dry skin, sensitive skin is not necessarily a permanent skin type — yes, it goes away with the proper skincare routine and an awareness of which ingredients . Here are some of the ingredients you should watch out for when looking for a lotion for sensitive skin.

What is Sensitive Skin?

The term “sensitive” refers to skin with reduced tolerance to and cosmetics. Applying items to skin with increased sensitivity can result in mild to adverse reactions, such as redness, itching, and flaking. Moisturization is essential to the skin in general, but it’s especially beneficial to sensitive skin.

Using the right lotion for sensitive skin can help repair the skin barrier, which may be compromised due to harsh environmental conditions and certain cosmetic products. According to the National Institutes of Health, a damaged outer layer can result in increased transepidermal water loss, which is the amount of water that evaporates through the skin and into the environment. You want your skin to retain moisture to stay strong and healthy — this can’t happen with high levels of TEWL. 

Moisturizers can help reduce irritation by improving hydration levels. However, the wrong type of lotion can aggravate the situation. Here are some ingredients to avoid.

Check your alcohol levels.

If you have sensitive or dry skin, it’s best to steer clear of ingredients that contain certain alcohol ingredients. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an independent source of information on the health and safety of personal care products, denatured alcohol such as isopropyl and ethanol are low-hazard ingredients. They don’t pose any health threats. However, repeated use can strip your skin dry over time.

Skip the fragrance.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, fragrances are the leading cause of allergic reactions on the skin. Synthetic fragrances can trigger . When these substances react with the skin, they can cause inflammation and weaken its inner layers. Opt for fragrance-free products to avoid further irritating your skin.

Watch out for sulfates.

Sulfates are as common in skincare products as they are in shampoos and conditioners. You can usually see them as ammonium lauryl sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate on the label. Their primary function is to create a lather. The lather helps break down oils and provides deep-cleaning action. While it’s not generally harmful to the skin, you may want to avoid it if your skin is sensitive since it can also be very drying.

Go easy on the scrubs.

Facial and body scrubs are great for mechanical exfoliation; however, they can contain physical exfoliants that can be too harsh on the skin. Most body scrubs have natural granules, such as coffee, oatmeal, rice bran, and ground nuts and seeds. These granules can have jagged edges that can be too rough on the skin. While granules are not found in lotions, they are common ingredients in widely used body washes and scrubs.

Instead, opt for something like Baby Dove Hair-to-Toe Sensitive Moisture Wash. It has a pH-neutral and hypoallergenic formula that specifically caters to the sensitive-skinned. Although it's a mild baby wash designed for infant care, it's also suitable for cleansing adult's skin without damaging the outer barrier.

If you enjoy your scrubs, though, make sure to work them gently and always moisturize after with a lotion for sensitive skin, such as Baby Dove Sensitive Moisture Lotion. Created for , this product contains ¼ moisturizing cream. It soothes and cares for sensitive skin with a mild, hypoallergenic, pH-neutral formula. This nourishing baby lotion is also fragrant-free so it won't cause or worsen skin flare-ups.

Sensitive skin can reap many benefits from regular moisturization. When choosing a lotion for sensitive skin, skip the ingredients above and go for a gentle formula that won’t cause further irritation.