Which Face Wash Is Best For Sensitive Skin?

Welcome to Afterthought. Sensitive skin requires special attention and care. Choosing the right face wash can make a significant difference in maintaining your skin’s health and appearance. This guide will help you navigate through the options and select the best face wash for your sensitive skin.

Understanding Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin is prone to reactions such as redness, itching, and dryness. This skin type can be triggered by various factors, including harsh weather, stress, and unsuitable skincare products. The primary goal when selecting a face wash for sensitive skin is to find a product that cleanses effectively without causing irritation.

Key Ingredients to Look For

  • Gentle Surfactants: Surfactants are the cleansing agents in face washes. For sensitive skin, opt for mild surfactants like cocamidopropyl betaine or decyl glucoside. These are less likely to strip the skin’s natural oils.
  • Hydrating Ingredients: Sensitive skin often needs extra hydration. Look for ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and aloe vera, which help retain moisture and soothe the skin.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents: Ingredients such as chamomile, green tea extract, and calendula can reduce inflammation and calm irritated skin.
  • pH-Balanced Formulas: Maintaining the skin’s natural pH balance is crucial for sensitive skin. A face wash with a pH level close to the skin’s natural pH (around 5.5) will help preserve the skin barrier.
  • Fragrance-Free and Hypoallergenic: Fragrances and dyes are common irritants for sensitive skin. Choose products labeled as fragrance-free and hypoallergenic to minimize the risk of adverse reactions.

Ingredients to Avoid

  • Harsh Surfactants: Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are potent cleansing agents that can be too harsh for sensitive skin, leading to dryness and irritation.
  • Alcohol: Denatured alcohol or ethanol can strip the skin of its natural oils and cause dryness and irritation.
  • Synthetic Fragrances and Dyes: These can cause allergic reactions and irritate sensitive skin.
  • Essential Oils: While natural, some essential oils can be potent and irritating to sensitive skin.
  • Parabens and Phthalates: These preservatives and chemicals can cause skin irritation and disrupt hormonal balance.

Types of Face Washes Suitable for Sensitive Skin

  • Cream Cleansers: These are often rich and hydrating, making them suitable for sensitive skin. They gently cleanse without stripping the skin of its natural oils.
  • Gel Cleansers: Opt for mild, non-foaming gel cleansers. They are effective in removing impurities while being gentle on the skin.
  • Micellar Water: This type of cleanser contains micelles that trap and lift away dirt and makeup without the need for rinsing. It’s gentle and ideal for sensitive skin.
  • Oil Cleansers: Using oils for cleansing can be very gentle on sensitive skin. Look for lightweight, non-comedogenic oils that won’t clog pores.

Tips for Using Face Wash on Sensitive Skin

  • Patch Test: Before using a new face wash, do a patch test on a small area of your skin to ensure it doesn’t cause any adverse reactions.
  • Use Lukewarm Water: Hot water can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation. Use lukewarm water to wash your face.
  • Gentle Application: Avoid scrubbing your face vigorously. Use gentle, circular motions to cleanse your skin.
  • Pat Dry: After washing, pat your skin dry with a soft towel instead of rubbing it.
  • Follow Up with a Moisturizer: Always apply a gentle, hydrating moisturizer after cleansing to lock in moisture and protect the skin barrier.


Choosing the right face wash for sensitive skin involves understanding your skin’s needs and paying close attention to ingredients.

Look for gentle, hydrating, and anti-inflammatory components while avoiding harsh chemicals and irritants. By following these guidelines, you can maintain healthy, glowing skin without the discomfort of irritation.

Remember, everyone's skin is unique. It might take some trial and error to find the perfect face wash, but with patience and attention to detail, you’ll be able to find a product that suits your sensitive skin beautifully.

Back to blog