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5 Active Ingredients Sensitive Skin Should Try

5 Active Ingredients Sensitive Skin Should Try

Under the impression that sensitive skin and active skincare ingredients were mortal enemies? Actually there are some awesome power-players that work wonders on delicate skin…

It’s a well-known fact that sensitive skin types go gaga for gentle ingredients that care for their fragile barrier function and are moisturizing, hydrating, calming and soothing. But sensitive skin matures just like every other skin type, and oftentimes things like aloe vera and chamomile (as awesome as they are!) don’t cut the mustard when trying to soften the visible blows of aging.

Most skin types can turn to potent, active anti-aging ingredients like retinol, glycolic acid and vitamin C without a care in the world. Of course, it’s always smart to patch test such powerful ingredients first… just in case. But once this is out of the way, most find they can introduce them into their daily routines with zero problems.

Not everyone has such luck with their skincare, however, and sensitive skin can be a tricky type to master. But all is not lost because we’ve rounded up some of the best active ingredients that are effective, for sure, but are way kinder to the skin, making them a fabulous choice for sensitive souls.

Keep scrolling for the five active ingredients we rate best for sensitive skin.

1. Bakuchiol

Retinol is awesome. We know that. You know that. But if you have sensitive skin that flares up if you so much as say the word ‘retinol’ out loud, gentler alternatives are more your style. And this is where bakuchiol shines.

Bakuchiol (pronounced bah-koo-chee-awl) is basically nature’s answer to retinol. Says it all, right? Extracted from the seeds and leaves of the babchi plant, bakuchiol has been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, both internally and topically to treat the skin. A bunch of recent clinical studies have also shown that, as well as offering the previously well-known anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, bakuchiol offers similar benefits to retinol, stimulating collagen synthesis and accelerating cellular turnover. Because of these skin-changing abilities, bakuchiol can dramatically improve the surface of the skin, encouraging a brighter, clearer, smoother and more even complexion. What’s more, all of this comes with very few, if any, of the irritating side effects that are so often attributed to more potent retinoids.

Bakuchiol is the backbone of our new healthy aging Longevity range which includes Rejuvenating Longevity SerumDepuffing Longevity Eye Cream and Renewing Longevity Moisturizing Cream. Give them a go, sensitive skin folks. We don’t think you’ll regret it.

2. Hyaluronic Acid

You’ll probably know a fair bit about hyaluronic acid (HA) as it’s always in the skincare spotlight. But here’s a quick recap. Hyaluronic acid is a lubricating polymer that’s found naturally in your skin (as well as in your eyes and joints, ps). It’s what’s known as a humectant which means it has the ability to draw in moisture, kind of like a sponge. In fact, studies have shown that HA can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. Don’t ask as how, it just does. Call it magic.

Sensitive skin is often notoriously dry and dehydrated thanks to a slightly sub-standard barrier function. And this is why HA is such a good choice for hydrating, moisturizing and plumping sensitive skin, simultaneously helping to improve fine lines and wrinkles. The fact that it’s a naturally-occurring substance already found in the body also makes it very well tolerated. Love that. Try Hyaluronic Acid Facial Serum for your daily hit.

3. PHAs

PHAs are poly hydroxy acids that work by gentle exfoliating those pesky dead skin cells that can outstay their welcome at the surface of your skin, blocking your pores and giving your skin a dull, gray palor that nobody wants. Unlike scrubs and cleansing brushes, PHAs exfoliate your skin without the need for any rough scrubbing – because sensitive skin hates that. You’ll probably be acquainted with their cousins, AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids) which include the likes of glycolic acid and salicylic acid. And don’t get us wrong, we’re big fans of the As and Bs, but when it comes to sensitive skin, the mighty Ps are everything.

So how do they differ? Well, PHAs have a larger molecular size than AHAs and BHAs. This makes them way gentler on the skin because they only work at the surface, rather than penetrating the deeper, more fragile layers. Ideal for those who can’t quite bear the strength of other exfoliating acids, PHAs are awesome alternatives. They also help hydrate and moisturize the skin as an added bonus. Keen to try them out? We get that, so look out for the most common PHAs on your ingredients list: gluconolactone, lactobionic acid and galactosen.

4. Niacinamide

It’s a fact: niacinamide (vitamin B3) is one of our favorite antioxidants for sensitive skin. Versatile, easily tolerated and wonderfully caring for a compromised barrier function, what’s not to love?

As well as its fighting ability to ward off the damaging effects of free radicals – which your skin forms on a daily basis thanks to pollution and UV radiation –  niacinamide has fantastic anti-inflammatory properties, helping to regulate oil production while calming the skin and reducing unwanted redness.

It also has a clever way of aiding the production of ceramides in the uppermost layers of your skin. Ceramides are waxy lipids that make up somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of your skin’s composition, helping to retain moisture and protect your skin from external factors. With age, ceramides start to dwindle, so anything you do to keep them at an all-time high is going to be awesome for the strength and resilience of your skin. Try applying our Niacinamide Facial Serum twice daily for incredible results. It also contains vitamin E and HA for some extra love.

5. Ceramides

While we’re on the subject of ceramides, these are another great bunch of ingredients to keep an eye on if you want to improve the resilience of your skin and ensure it stays looking and feeling its best for longer.

Synthetically produced to mimic the natural stuff that works hard within your skin’s structure, topical ceramides are kind of a big deal. They’re well tolerated by all skin types (even the most sensitive), plus they offer some extremely important benefits – especially as your skin ages. We’re talking moisturization, hydration, strengthening, repairing, protection and all sorts.

The most commonly used ceramides in skincare are NP, AP and EOP which we’ve packed into our new Firming Collagen Day Lotion and Smoothing Collagen Serum. What’s more, the ones we use are vegan ceramides which means they’re plant-derived and totally cruelty-free. High-fives.

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Georgia Gould

Georgia Gould

Georgia is an award-winning beauty writer who has been in the business for over 20 years. British-born, she began her career as a magazine beauty editor in London before moving to San Francisco, CA in 2012 where she now continues her love as a freelance writer and editor. As well as her editorial work, Georgia has created content for many high-profile beauty brands, including Clarins, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, Simple and TRESemmé. Her passions include retinol (obviously), golfing, skiing and walking her beloved Schnauzer, Dave.