The Role Ingredients Play in Products for Sensitive Skin

The Role Ingredients Play in Products for Sensitive Skin - Sente Labs

One in two people has sensitive skin. If you happen to be one of them, you know how difficult finding the right skincare products can be. Scanning the ingredient list and researching every additive to make sure it won’t irritate your skin can ruin the joy of shopping for beauty products.

While soothing ingredients can calm your complexion, irritating additives can inflame your skin. If you’re wondering what the best ingredients for sensitive skin are and which ingredients you should avoid, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll explain everything you need to know about sensitive skin and identify the best and worst ingredients to help you find products for your delicate complexion.

What Is Sensitive Skin?

According to the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (JEADV), sensitive skin is a clinical condition in which people report feelings of tightness, itching, burning, stinging, and pain on their face. Although sensitive skin is commonly found on the face, it can also appear on your scalp, hands, and body in varying degrees.

Why does sensitive skin sting and burn when it comes into contact with conventional personal care ingredients? Here is why the best and worst ingredients for sensitive skin matter. Unlike normal skin, sensitive skin is extremely intolerant. When exposed to ingredients that are well tolerated by normal skin, sensitive skin overreacts and produces a strong inflammatory response, leading to facial redness and discomfort.

What Causes Sensitive Skin?

Before we talk about ingredients to avoid for sensitive skin, it’s important that you understand what causes sensitive skin in the first place. Many factors ranging from health conditions to environmental irritants can make your skin highly intolerant. Below, we’ll discuss the most common causes of skin hypersensitivity.

Overactive Nervous System

Some people are born with an overactive nervous system, which makes their skin’s nerve endings hypersensitive. When exposed to harmless stimuli like hard water and hot/cold temperatures, hypersensitive nerves perceive danger and release inflammatory substances in response. These inflammatory chemicals are responsible for skin redness and irritation.

Skin Barrier Damage

Harsh chemical ingredients in conventional personal care products are responsible for many modern-day sensitive skin problems. These ingredients erode the skin’s protective barrier, allowing environmental stressors to easily attack the skin. Once they get through, these stressors irritate skin nerves, leading to dermal inflammation.

What Are the Best Ingredients for Sensitive Skin?

Although it seems like a chronic problem that will never go away, there are many effective skincare ingredients that can alleviate sensitive skin. Before we discuss the worst ingredients to avoid for sensitive skin, let’s talk about the best ingredients that are clinically proven to calm intolerant skin.

Heparan Sulfate Analog

An exclusive skincare technology developed by Senté, Heparan Sulfate Analog (HSA) is a modified form of heparan sulfate (HS). HS is a naturally occurring molecule that is essential for life and plays an important role in skin health. Similar to Hyaluronic Acid, it is an excellent skin hydrator and one of the best ingredients for sensitive skin. This patented molecule employs a two-pronged approach to calm hyper-responsive skin.

HSA can improve skin health and has natural soothing properties which help soothe dermal sensitivity. In a study published by the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology (JDD), HS was shown to repair the skin’s barrier within 8 weeks of use. Another clinical research published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology revealed that HSA can relieve skin inflammation within 12 weeks. HSA products can help strengthen the dermal barrier against inflammation, calming irritated skin and helping visibly reduce physical signs of redness.


Also known as nicotinamide or vitamin B3, niacinamide is among the best ingredients for sensitive skin. Research has shown that niacinamide can increase ceramide production, which is a critical component of the skin’s protective barrier. As it can strengthen the skin’s defensive wall, niacinamide can improve skin sensitivity by preventing the entry of foreign irritants.

While there are plenty of niacinamide skincare products on the market, many have very low concentrations of vitamin B3 which makes these products ineffective. To buy the most effective niacinamide serums and creams, go for our Senté Ultralight Defense Moisturizer and Illuminé Eye Cream. Both offer highly potent niacinamide solutions to help boost barrier function.

Green Tea Extract

A cup of green tea alongside a container of dried green tea leaves

You’re probably already aware of the many health benefits of drinking green tea. Green tea is not only beneficial in edible form, but it’s also one of the best ingredients for sensitive skin when applied topically.

Green tea extracts are packed with polyphenols⏤potent antioxidants that can neutralize free radicals. Free radicals are harmful substances that destroy healthy cells, and this injury triggers inflammation. Studies have found that green tea has powerful anti-inflammatory properties due to its high antioxidant content. Green tea skincare products like our Dermal Repair Cream can soothe sensitive skin by neutralizing free radicals.

Ingredients to Avoid for Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin needs extra TLC as it is less tolerant of environmental stressors. Therefore, when shopping for skincare products, look out for these worst ingredients for sensitive skin:

  • Fragrance (also called parfum)
  • SD alcohol (also known as denatured alcohol), ethyl alcohol, and isopropyl alcohol
  • Parabens (propylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben, and methylparaben)
  • Walnut shells or apricot kernels (found in conventional face scrubs)
  • Chemical sunscreens⏤use mineral sunscreens instead
  • Essential oils, including lavender, tea tree, mint, and citrus oils
  • Ammonium lauryl sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate

Soothe Sensitive Skin with Senté

And there you have it⏤the best and worst ingredients for sensitive skin. Skincare ingredients play a crucial role in skin health, so make sure to buy products that are formulated with gentle ingredients. Free of fragrance, parabens, soap, and other harsh ingredients, many of our dermatologist-recommended skincare solutions are specially formulated for sensitive skin. Shop Senté sensitive skin products today and enjoy the freedom that comes with achieving a radiant complexion.