What Is the Best Makeup for Sensitive Skin?

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According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the fragrances and preservatives in many makeup products can irritate the skin. If your skin becomes red or itchy after applying makeup, you don’t have to completely forgo cosmetics or change your daily makeup routine. Being more selective on the ingredients and types of products you use can prevent sensitive skin inflammation.


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Read the ingredient labels of all makeup products before purchasing. Since fragrances can aggravate sensitive skin, look for products that are labeled “without perfume” or “fragrance-free.” Do not buy products labeled as “unscented.” According to the American Academy of Dermatology, “unscented” products often contain fragrance to disguise the smell of the chemicals. Although makeup preservatives (such as formaldehyde, phenoxyethanol and paraben) can cause skin irritation, products containing water must have them to prevent bacteria growth. Compare product ingredient labels and choose products with less than 10 ingredients to avoid aggravating your skin with numerous preservatives.

Face Makeup

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Choose face makeup (such as foundation, concealer or blush) labeled “non-comedogenic” or “hypoallergenic.” These products are designed to be less likely to cause allergic reactions. Select powder foundation or cover-up when possible. Powder cosmetics tend to contain less preservatives because they don’t contain water, an ingredient more susceptible to bacterial breeding. If you prefer liquid foundation, select products that contain silicone. The University of Alabama Birmingham Health System reports silicone foundation is less likely to irritate sensitive skin. Avoid water-proof products because they can strip skin of its protective oil and cause irritation.

Eye Makeup

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According to the American Academy of Dermatology, eyelids are the most sensitive area of skin on the face. Look for lighter-colored, powdered eyeshadow because it contains less irritating color pigments than brighter shadows. Avoid eye makeup containing shimmer or glitter. If you use eyeliner, choose a wax-based pencil liner rather than a liquid eyeliner. Liquid liner contains latex, which can cause an allergic reaction on sensitive skin. When possible, choose black eyeliner or mascara. The University of Alabama Birmingham Health System reports black may be gentler on skin than other pigments. Discard eye makeup after three months to prevent bacteria accumulation that can further aggravate skin. Do not share any eye makeup products.

Lip Products

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Although lips are less likely to be as sensitive as your eyes or face, they can still become dry or cracked when irritated. If your lips are sensitive, use a moisturizing lip balm and lipstick or gloss. Avoid long-lasting lip color. The American Academy of Dermatology states that ingredients in long-wearing lip products are more likely to cause an allergic reaction. Throw away lip products one year after purchasing to prevent contamination.

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