9 soothing ingredients to calm down sensitive skin

Is your skin all angry at you right now?

Maybe you used a skincare product it doesn’t like. Or you’ve stayed in the sun a little too long. Or you’re dealing with another rosacea outbreak.

Whatever the reason, your skin is now a big, red and inflamed mess.

Don’t worry, I’m here to help. Here are 9 ingredients that’ll soothe the irritation and bring your skin back to normal:

1. Aloe Vera

You must be living after a rock if you don’t know aloe vera is super soothing. When I was younger and didn’t yet know the importance of sunscreen, aloe vera was my go-to on those rare occasions I got sunburnt. But it’s good for all kinds of irritations.

Aloe vera works because it has  glycoproteins that help speed up the healing process by reducing pain and inflammation, and polysaccharides that stimulate skin growth and repair.

But if the aloe vera you use hasn’t been properly processed, its soothing properties go out the window. Always check the label to make sure your lotion uses cold-processed aloe vera derived from the whole-leaf.

Best Picks:

  • Nature Republic Aloe Vera 92% Soothing Gel ($8.00): available at Walmart and Yes Style
  • Skinfood Aloe Vera 93% Soothing Gel ($8.00): available at Ulta and Yes Style

Related: Can Soothing Aloe Vera Treat Stretch Marks And Wrinkles, Too?

Struggling to find skincare products that don’t irritate your sensitive skin? Download your FREE “Skincare Ingredients To Avoid” cheatsheet to find out what the most common culprits are and cut them out of your skincare routine:

paula's choice 10% niacinamide booster 01

2. Niacinamide

A form of Vitamin B3, niacinamide is still the underdog of the vitamin world. And that totally sucks because it’s an amazing multiatasker everyone should include in their skincare routine.

Niacinamide treats acne, fades hyperpigmentation, and improves skin’s barrier function and elasticity. But, to go back to the point of this post, niacinamide also has anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe irritations and relieve the symptoms of rosacea.

Best Picks:

Related: Is Niacinamide A Skincare Do It All?

3. Avena Sativa (Oat) Extract

Oats are one of the best things you can put on your skin. I kid you not. Oats (you’ll find them hiding under the name Avena sativa on the label) are super soothing.

A 2002 study found oats can reduce skin irritations caused by contact with a high dose of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. SLS is one of the most irritating things you can put on your skin. If oats can soothe that, they can soothe everything.

Best Picks:

  • Aveeno Bath Treatment ($6.97): available at iHerb and Walmart
  • Eucerin Eczema Relief Body Cream ($10.43):available at Walmart.
  • Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief Toner For Normal To Oily Skin ($21.00): available at Paula’s Choice.

Related: Sensitive Skin? Why You Should Add Oats To Your Skincare Routine

green tea in skincare

4. Tea

Did you know your skin fancies a cup of tea, too?

Green and white tea are both rich in epigallocatechin gallate, a powerful antioxidant that does double duty: it stimulates collagen production and soothes irritations.

FYI, you can go with black tea as well, but I wouldn’t. It has the smallest amount of epigallocatechin gallate so it won’t work as well.

Best Picks:

  • Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum ($80.00): available at Cult BeautySephora and SpaceNK
  • MD SolarSciences Mineral Creme Broad Spectrum SPF 50 UVA-UVB Sunscreen ($30.00): available at at Dermstore and Sephora
  • Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum With Retinol ($34.00): available at Paula’s Choice

Related: Is White Tea More Effective Than Green Tea?

5. Vitamin C

It’s true I always say you have to be careful with vitamin C if you have sensitive skin. High doses can irritate it.

But, some forms of vitamin C have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, too. For example, 5% Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate reduces inflammation caused by acne. That’s the kind of vitamin C you want to go for.

PS. Vitamin C also boosts collagen production and fades hyperpigmentation.

Best Picks:

Related: Forms Of Vitamin C Used In Skincare

blissoma phototonic facial sunscreen + daily moisturizer SPf 25

6. Zinc Oxide

Zinc Oxide is my fave UV filter. Why? It’s the only UV filter that protects from ALL UV rays on its own!

Plus, it’s super gentle. Not only it doesn’t irritate skin like most other UV filters tend to do, it also acts as an anti-irritant. You can use it to treat various forms of skin irritation, including diaper rash.

Yep, it’s safe enough for babies, too. That’s how gentle it is.

Best Picks:

  • Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30 ($34.00): available at Cult BeautySephora, and SpaceNK
  • EltaMD UV Pure Broad Spectrum SPF 47 ($24.50): available at Dermstore and Walmart.
  • Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection SPF 50 Sunscreen + WetForce For Sensitive Skin & Children ($42.00):available at  NordstromSephora and Ulta.

Related: Why Zinc Oxide Is The Best UV Filter Ever

7. Licorice Extract

I loved licorice candy as a kid. Now, I put licorice on my skin.

Licorice extract contains Licochalcone, which has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, it brightens skin, too.

Best Picks:

Related: Three Reasons Why You Should Add Licorice Extract To Your Skincare Routine

8. Salicylic Acid

Salicylic Acid is an exfoliant. I usually recommend it to oily skin because its gets inside the pores and unclogs them from within. Bye bye pimples!

But it’s good for sensitive skin, too. Salicylic acid is a relative of aspirin so it has anti-inflammatory properties, too. It can reduce inflammation related to acne, rosacea and “other superficial inflammatory disorders”.

Best Picks:

Related: Why Salicylic Acid Is Key To A Pimple-Free Complexion

9. Chamomile Extract

Chamomile is another old wives’ remedy.

Chamomile works because of bisabobol and chamazulene, two compounds with anti-inflammatory properties.

But be careful! If you’re allergic to chamomile or any other plant in the daisy family,  you can get an allergic reaction instead!

Best Picks:

  • Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II ($62.00): available at Feel UniqueHarrods and Sephora
  • Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief SPF 30 Mineral Moisturizer Normal To Oily ($29.00): available at Dermstore and Paula’s Choice.

How do you soothe irritated skin? Share your tips in the comments below.