9 Ingredients To Soothe Irritated And Sensitive Skin

by Gio
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
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:

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:

  • Badger Balm Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Cream SPF 30 Unscented ($42.00): available at iHerb.
  • 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:

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



Trisha November 12, 2013 - 6:06 pm

My skin has been a bit irritated lately, mysteriously. I’ve just been leaving it alone, and that helps. Less products for me, the better, sometimes. Although I like the idea of using tea!

beautifulwithbrains November 12, 2013 - 9:52 pm

Trisha, I’m sorry to hear that. Using fewer products is definitely a good idea, but one of these ingredients could help soothe your skin even faster. 🙂

Ana November 12, 2013 - 8:03 pm

Lots and lots of aloe vera, yogurt, fish oil…

beautifulwithbrains November 12, 2013 - 9:57 pm

Ana, aloe vera is amazing for irritated skin, isn’t it?

Janessa November 19, 2013 - 5:54 am

All these ingredients I could use in my skincare! I used a Niacinamide sunblock and have tried it at least twenty times… I don’t even know. I give up on it because it breaks me out and I don’t think my current skincare products have niacinamide in them but I am just fine since I wouldn’t mix that with vitamin C during the day.
If my skin gets irritated, I just put a good moisturizer on there, even if it’s fragranced because I frankly love scents!

I ordered the Yule stuff from Haus of Gloi! I had to tell you! I tried the Snow Wolf (smells like pine forest and a bit more masculine and it’s not my preference used on its own), Wintervale (clean slightly cologne-like scent at first but then it smells really nice and even cold), Fancy Bread (lots of fake banana scent if you take a good whiff of it with some nuttiness to it but if used sparingly, it does smell like banana bread from at least a few centimeters away; I really like this though because I can mix it with my regular lotions!), Sweet Potato Treat (FAVORITE ONE! Even my two other friends smelled all of them and decided this was our favorite; it smells super sweet and buttery and although I’ve never tried baked sweet potatoes with marshmallow atop, they said it smells just like it), (got a sample of) Three Treasures (don’t really remember, sorry! but it’s more amber-ish and musky and it’s a good scent just not like WOW), and Plotter’s Breakfast (ooo I like this one for it’s sort of dirty-ish scent that works really well layered with the sweet stuff). I got the gingerbread, sugar plum, and silver fir butterbombs and THE BUTTERBOMBS are AMAZING. They leave the water soft and almost creamy and leave my skin soft and smell delicious. The gingerbread smells like ginger cookies and it’s great. I haven’t used the other two yet, but I love the scents.
I got two lipbalms (one for me and one for a friend) in Gingerbread and Hot Toddy.
Gingerbread smells very gingery and spicy like the actual cookie!
Hot Toddy smells like really sweet toffee. The rum part comes in when you actually apply this lipbalm! It has an alcohol-ish taste to it which I found a bit weird and not preferable at first but I kind of like how neat it is that the scent and taste vary. I love the formulation but not the scent enough to reach for it often. I don’t drink if that helps. :]

I am off to get Eggnog for sure! I really want to try that one and when I do order it, I am going to purchase one of every butter bomb because I love them that much. Good bye, LUSH!

beautifulwithbrains November 24, 2013 - 10:48 pm

Janessa, I love your haul! Everything sounds amazing, but then this is Haus of Gloi, so it’s not surprising. 🙂 From your description, I think I’d love Snow Wolf and Three Treasures the most, although you made me curious to try Sweet Potato Treat too. I usually don’t go for sweet scents, but if you all like it, it must be pretty good.

And I must order some bath bombs too. I rarely buy these because they last so little, but from what you said, they must be awesome. I have yet to come across a bath bomb that leaves my skin soft, but hopefully these will. Let me know how you like the other flavours once you get them!

I love the Gingerbread lip balm. It’s so moisturizing and the smell is yummy. Like you, I don’t drink, so I think I’d have your same reaction to Toddy. Although the texture really intrigues me.

Nayab Zafar April 12, 2020 - 11:54 am

i have mild acne and occasional eczema, can u guide us , how to use these products like in the form of a skin routine(am and pm routine)

Gio May 15, 2020 - 11:51 am

Nayab, I’d love to help you create the best skincare routine for your needs. You can book your consultation here: https://www.beautifulwithbrains.com/skincare-consultation/

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