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Top 10 Products That Helped Me Overcome My Extremely Sensitive Skin

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TAMU chapter.

When I was 12 years old, I started to develop acne. It grew worse, and by the time I was 15 years old, I was so embarrassed that I looked for excuses to stay home from school. I would get anxious every time somebody spoke to me or looked at my face. I practiced insanely good facial hygiene with no sign of any improvement. My mom and I tried everything – medications, acne creams, you name it. After a couple years of trying different techniques, my dermatologist couldn’t find a solution, so she just assumed it was a hormonal issue. She put me on birth control to see if my skin condition would improve, but it only worsened. By this time, my skin was constantly red, cystic, and dry. I was so embarrassed to be seen without makeup to help cover my skin condition, that I started wearing makeup to my basketball games..obviously this only made my acne worse, as sweating in makeup is THE WORST thing for your skin. By my senior year in high school, my acne had spread to my back and thighs. This made summer time a nightmare for me, because I was terrified to wear a bathing suit, revealing all of my blemishes. 

In my freshman year of college, I decided to try something new. I decided to drop all of the acne products and cheap makeup. I prioritized my money, and bought natural products only. A good rule of thumb is to look for products that say “non comedogenic.” After a year or so of looking for and testing different products, my acne cleared almost completely. Turns out, I just have SERIOUSLY sensitive skin and was having a bad reaction to all sorts of products (including acne products which are just way too harsh for problem skin). Buying quality products can be expensive, but to me, totally worth it! Below is a list of products that saved my skin AND my confidence. 

Origins – “GinZing” Moisturizer

Because this moisturizer is organic and oil free, it helps keep my pores clean. Before I discovered this product, my nose was oil slick and my skin always felt clogged. Because this moisturizer is a gel instead of a lotion, it’s light and feels clean! It can be pricey (about $30 for the large container), but very little of the product goes a long way! One container usually lasts me about 2-3 months, and I use it every morning and every night. I ocassionally use “United State” balancing tonic from Origins as well to help with my acne scars. I highly recommend any Origins product! All of their products are organic and very gentle on the skin. 

Alba Botanica – “AcneDote” Face and Body Scrub

I use AcneDote about 3 times a week on my face, and sometimes on my back if I feel that it may be close to a breakout. It’s an exfoliant, so be careful not to use every day, as it can be a little harsh. It contains walnut shells instead of microplastics, so not only is it great for your skin, but it’s also great for the environment! I also recommend Alba Botanica’s “sensitive sunscreen” for when summer time rolls around. It’s spf50, and keeps my skin from getting oily, while still protecting it from the sun! All of Alba Botanica’s products are completely vegetarian and have no synthetic fragrances. 

Cetaphil – Ultra Gentle Body Wash

Cetaphil Ultra Gentle Body Wash is a non-comedogenic product that helped heal all of my body acne! After about two months on this product, I had a clear back and thighs! Please do not confuse this body wash with the skin cleanser…they are very different, and the skin cleanser isn’t nearly as effective. I usually pair this soap with the Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion for moisturizing my body if it feels dry. 

Arm and Hammer – “Free & Clear” Detergent for Sensitive Skin

I used to use Tide Pods, but switched to Arm and Hammer “Free and Clear” last year. Because my skin is so sensitive, it can’t handle many of the dyes and perfumes that can be found in other detergents. This product is dermatologist tested AND hypoallergenic. I find it is extremely effective on pillow cases and sheets since your face has a lot of contact with the pillow at night, as well as on underwear and bras because they can be tight and in closer contact with your skin. This laundry detergent has shown amazing results on my face and body acne (it especially cleared up the area on my thighs where the panty line is). 

bareMinerals – “Bare Pro” Foundation and Concealer

This is BY FAR the best makeup brand I have ever used. Many skin experts say that bareMinerals is so easy on the skin, that you should be able to sleep in it with no problems (however, I do not recommend actually doing this). I receommend the BarePro fundation and the concealer, because though they are a lighter wear, they provide great coverage! This is important for me since I still have a lot of dark marks/acne scars. I usually pair this with the bareMinerals “Blemish Rescure” powder over the foundation for more of a natural and soft look. 

Clearasil – Overnight Spot Patches

I find that these patches are GREAT, because though they have acne medication in them (salicylic acid), they are going directly on the pimple instead of on your entire face or the area around the pimple, unlike a cream or ointment. If I feel a zit coming under the skin, I pop one of these on before I sleep (after cleansing and moisturizing my face of course), and remove it when I wake up. It can usually prevent even the gnarliest pimples from ever getting too big and irritated.

Simple – Moistuizing Facial Wash

This is a great daily cleanser that comes from a company known as “the sensitive skin experts.” It’s infused with vitamins, and there are no artifical perfumes or colors, and no harsh chemicals. It is dermatologist tested, hypoallergenic, and non-comedogenic. Unlike most face washes, it doesn’t make my skin feel dry or tight afterwards. I also recommend Simple’s biodegradable cleansing wipes. I keep these in my backpack during the day, so if I get sweaty I can go to the bathroom and clean up with these – this prevents sweat/oils from sitting on the skin and festering all day, which can be a leading cause of body acne. They’re also biodegradable, so they are great for the environment, as well as your skin!

Yes to Tomatoes – Detoxifying Charcoal Facial Wipes 

These are great on nights that I’m out late studying or partying, because sometimes when I get back I’m just too lazy to properly wash my face (this is rare, but it DOES happen). They’re a great alternative to harsh makeup removing wipes, and they don’t dry out my skin. 

Flower Beauty – “Seal the Deal” Hydrating Setting Spray 

This product from FLOWER Beauty can be difficult to find in store, but I’ve been ordering it on Amazon instead of buying it from Ulta, lately. I have a problem with makeup tending to dry out my skin throughout the day, and many setting sprays make my skin way too oily and can therefor lead to breakouts. “Seal the Deal” by FLOWER keeps my skin moisturized without making it oily. It has never interfered the clarity of my skin, and it keeps my makeup in place all day!

Physician’s Formula – “Organic Wear” Mascara

Now, I know this is not a product that goes directly on the skin, but it does have an effect! Residue from mascara can be highly irritating to the skin on your face. Also, many mascaras are actually extremely bad for your eyelashes, and can cause them to fall out and lose volume. This organic mascara from Physician’s Formula is organic, does not harm your eyelashes, and is more gentle on the skin. I’ve actually noticed that my eyelashed have gotten longer and thicker ever since I stopped using regular mascara. 

These products made a huge impact on my skin, and helped me be more confident when expanding my social life. I no longer feel insecure when playing sports or swimming, and I hope these products can do the same for you if you too suffer from sensitive skin!

Taylor is a geology and climate student at Texas A&M University, with a passion for reading and writing. She is a lover of animals, Seattle, art, all things vintage, and ketchup. When she isn't studying, playing basketball, gaming, or painting, she can be found eating chicken fries while watching a thriller or mystery film.