Sensitive Skin: Ingredients to Avoid or Embrace

Sensitive Skin: Ingredients to Avoid or Embrace

Charlotte Berglund Thomsen,

Up to 75% of Europeans identify as having sensitive skin.1 People with sensitive skin need to pay careful attention to the products they choose, and go through some trial and error, before finding a well-informed skincare routine that helps them maintain healthy and radiant skin. Today, we're going to delve into the world of sensitive skin, explore the ingredients you should steer clear of, and recommend ingredients that can be your skin's best friend.


Understanding Sensitive Skin

People with sensitive skin often experience redness, irritation, dryness, burning sensations, and even breakouts. This is due to an impaired skin barrier, which allows irritants and allergens to penetrate more easily. Recent scientific findings have shed light on the crucial role of the skin microbiome in maintaining skin health. For those with sensitive skin, the microbiome's delicate balance may be disrupted, leading to further skin issues. Using probiotic skincare daily, and not just when a skin issue arises, is key to preventing imbalances from occurring. A strong microbiome can help you skin to  withstand environmental stressors, or skin irritants.

 Skincare smears

Ingredients to Avoid

When you have sensitive skin, it's essential to be mindful of the ingredients in your skincare products. Here are some common culprits that can trigger skin reactions:


Fragrances: Fragrance ingredients, whether synthetic or natural, can be harsh on sensitive skin. They often contain allergens that lead to redness and irritation.

Harsh Surfactants: Sulfates, such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), are known to strip the skin of its natural oils and disrupt the skin barrier, making it more vulnerable to irritation. SLS also effects your natural skin microbiome.

Alcohol: High concentrations of alcohol in skincare products can be drying and irritating for sensitive skin. Look out for ingredients like denatured alcohol. Alcohol kills microbes and will thus also effect your natural skin microbiome, including the good bugs that make up part of your immune defense.

Parabens: Parabens are preservatives found in many cosmetics, but they can cause allergies and skin sensitivity in some individuals.

Essential Oils: While some essential oils have skincare benefits, they can be too potent for sensitive skin. Be cautious when using products that contain strong essential oils like citronella, peppermint or eucalyptus.


All of BAK’s products have received  the highest grade, ‘A’, from the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals, meaning they’re free from perfume, hormone disrupting substances, known allergens, and chemicals that harm the environment.

 BAK Skincare_Oil for Redness

Ingredients to Embrace

On the flip side, several ingredients can help soothe and strengthen sensitive skin:

Natural Oils and Butters: Natural oils like jojoba, argan, and shea butter are rich in fatty acids and can provide nourishment and hydration to sensitive skin, helping to maintain its balance and suppleness.

Hyaluronic Acid: Hyaluronic acid is a hydrating powerhouse. It helps the skin retain moisture, reducing dryness and irritation.

Ceramides: Ceramides are essential lipids that make up the skin barrier. Using products with ceramides can fortify your skin's protective layer.

Niacinamide: This B vitamin derivative has anti-inflammatory properties that can calm redness and irritation while improving the skin's overall texture. It’s just one of the many substances, called metabolites, produced by probiotics. You can read more about them here.

Aloe Vera: Known for its soothing properties, aloe vera gel can provide instant relief to sensitive skin and reduce redness.

 Multiple active ingredients

Avoiding the Overload: Finding Balance in Active Ingredients

While it's essential to incorporate effective ingredients into your skincare routine, there is such a thing as overloading your skin. Using too many active ingredients, especially at once, can overwhelm sensitive skin and lead to adverse reactions. It's crucial to strike a balance and give your skin time to adapt to new products.


Some common active ingredients should not be combined due to the potential for irritation. For instance, using both alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), such as glycolic acid, and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), like salicylic acid, simultaneously can be too harsh for sensitive skin. Likewise, avoid pairing retinoids, which are known for their anti-aging benefits, with strong exfoliants like AHAs or BHAs, as this combination can lead to excessive dryness and sensitivity. Always introduce new active ingredients gradually and consider consulting with a dermatologist for a personalized skincare regimen that caters to your skin's specific needs. Remember, less can often be more when it comes to sensitive skin, and a gentle, consistent approach may yield the best results.


Having sensitive skin can be challenging, but with the right approach, you can manage it effectively. By avoiding irritants and embracing skin-loving ingredients, you can keep your skin healthy and comfortable. Don't forget to consider lifestyle factors and make choices that support your sensitive skin's well-being. And when you choose BAK Skincare products, you're choosing a brand that has earned an "A" grade from the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemistry for safety and effectiveness – because we care about your skin as much as you do.