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How “Sensitive” Skincare Products May Be Irritating Your Skin

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If you have sensitive skin, it’s safe to say you’re pretty careful about what you put on your complexion.

That’s why you only invest in sensitive skincare products, like perfume-free lotions, gentle cleansers, and non-paraben serums. But believe it or not, your “sensitive” skin care regimen may be the source of your irritated skinSo what gives? Read on to find out how sensitive skin care may actually be irritating your skin.

Skin Care Duluth

*Individual results may vary

10 Common Allergens That May Be In Your Sensitive Skin Care

1. Fragrance.

Surprised? As it turns out, even fragrance-free products for sensitive skin may have perfume in it.

Marketing and labeling can be purposefully deceiving.  That’s why it’s recommended that you learn to read ingredients.  For example, if a body wash says “unscented” on the front, the ingredient label on the back may show fragrance (parfum). In this case, this product would be absolutely irritating to sensitive skin, leading to chronic itching and rashes.

2. Parabens.

These synthetic ingredients are responsive for preserving the formulas within skin care products. Many people – especially those with eczema, dermatitis, and sensitive skin – may find parabens irritating, which is why we recommend checking any skin care product for parabens. Some parabens to look out for include ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben, and propylparaben. Notice how the word paraben is in each of these ingredients. This makes them easier to spot while you’re scanning the label.

3. Dyes.

Dyes are typically found in makeup products, like eyeshadows, blushes, and lipsticks. If you have sensitive skin, be rigorous about your makeup purchases. Only go for makeup that touts using vegan dyes, as these are generally safer for sensitive skin.

4.Tea tree oil.

Tea tree oil is often touted as a natural alternative to acne fighters like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe for sensitive skin. Tea tree oil – and other essential oils – can be very irritating to sensitive skin. Steer clear of tea tree oil products if you have sensitive, acne-prone skin.

5. Propylene Glycol.

This ingredient is used in moisturizers to help lock in moisture for longer, but some people with sensitive skin find it irritating. Double-check if your favorite moisturizer lists it as an ingredient.



As it turns out, natural rubbers can be found in common cosmetic products, including skin care formulas. It’s always worth checking on the back of the bottle if your product contains latex or any other form of natural rubber.

7. Preservatives.

Preservatives can be helpful for making your favorite skin care products last longer, but if you have sensitive skin, they could also cause you to break out or experience rashes. Preservatives can come in a variety of structures, like parabens or alcohol. Some preservatives to keep an eye out for are; tocopheryl acetate, propylene and butylene glycols, phenoxyethanol, methylisothiazolinone, and certain parabens like methylparaben, butylparaben, and polyparaben.


Some cosmetics and skincare products may contain various forms of alcohol, which can dry out and irritate sensitive skin. To see if your favorite products contain alcohol, look for ingredients like citral, benzyl alcohol, lilial, and even oak moss or tea tree extract.

9. Metals.

Some skin care products may use luxury ingredients like gold to help tighten and tone skin. As it turns out, gold and nickel are also commonplace ingredients in sensitive skin care products, which could cause your allergies to flare if you happen to be allergic to either of these metals.

10. Color additives.

Keep an eye out for any color additives that may have been added to a skin care product to make it look a certain color. Color additives are most common in hair products and henna tattoo products.

If you have sensitive skin and want to avoid constantly scrolling through ingredient lists, your best bet is to invest in medical-grade skin care products, like the kind you can find at Twin Ports Dermatology.

Our selection of medical-grade skin care products – including cleansers, moisturizers, serums, creams, and more – can keep your sensitive skin happy while tackling your biggest complexion concerns.


*individual results may vary



*individual results may vary


Take the Next Step 

Twin Ports Dermatology has the most experienced dermatology and skin care specialists in the Northland.  

Schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable Providers at Twin Ports Dermatology in  Duluth, MN. You can also call our office directly to schedule – (218) 302-1000.

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