From hand soaps to face washes: The 11 best products for sensitive skin

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Thorough hand-washing and hygiene practices are a daily necessity for everyone, but the frequency of these habits has drastically increased given the current state of the world — especially when it comes to hand care.

Particularly for those with sensitive skin, this repetitive process can cause some serious wear and tear, even beyond the hands. To both proactively and retroactively tackle this issue, we’ve compiled a list of our 11 favorite products to restore the hands, body and face to their optimal health level, as well as possibly prevent any further damage and irritation.

Hands

According to the CDC, practicing thorough hand care is a “simple yet effective way to prevent infections.” By simply cleaning your hands, you can help prevent the spread of germs — even those that are resistant to antibiotics and are sometimes “impossible” to treat.

With this in mind, many have resorted to hand sanitizing gels and washes to ensure that they are abiding by these guidelines. While most are packed with fragrances and essential oils — both of which can be irritants for sensitive skin types — the following products were formulated as fragrance-free and/or feature gentle and soothing ingredients that restore the hands’ softness and smooth appearance.

Shop: ArtNaturals Fragrance-Free Hand Sanitizer, $14.98

Credit: Amazon

Shop: Eczema Honey Gentle Foaming Hand Soap, $8.95

Credit: Eczema Honey

Shop: Eucerin Advanced Repair Fragrance-Free Hand Cream, $4.69 (Orig. $6.89)

Credit: Amazon

Shop: Skinfix Eczema+ Hand Repair Cream, $18

Credit: Sephora

Shop: Eczema Honey Oatmeal Hand Cream, $24.95 (Orig. $29.95)

Credit: Eczema Honey

Shop: Bamford Botanic Hand Cream, $40

Credit: Bamford

Body

According to Melissa Piliang, M.D., who specializes in dermatopathology (the practice of diagnosing skin conditions by studying them at a molecular level) at Cleveland Clinic, over-washing is one of the worst things a person can do for sensitive skin.

“Think about it like butter on a knife. If you put it under cold water, that fat on the knife doesn’t go anywhere,” she told Self. “But if you put it under warm water, those lipids will melt away. It’s the same kind of issue with the lipid layer in our skin.”

To further ensure that this layer is thoroughly cleansed but not stripped, using a gentle product formulated to soothe the skin can be beneficial. Here are two of our editors’ favorites:

Shop: Billie Sudsy Ultra Gentle Body Wash, $9

Credit: Billie

Shop: Athena Club La Creme de la Creme Creamy Body Wash, $13

Credit: Athena Club

Face

Dermatologists and doctors recommend that, especially in regards to face care, keeping it simple and sticking to products that are gentle, fragrance-free and have fairly short ingredient lists will serve you well.

“The basic advice for patients who experience sensitive skin, chronically or just in the short term, is to keep it simple,” Dr. Marlys Fassett, a UCSF dermatologist and expert on dermatitis (skin inflammation) told Self.

Below are a few products that follow this formula. Some of these brands are also favorites of Dr. Fassett’s.

Shop: Olay Fragrance-Free Gentle Foaming Face Cleanser, $5.24 (Orig. $6.99)

Credit: Olay

Shop: CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser, $10.98

Credit: Amazon

Shop: Eucerin Redness Relief Night Creme, $9.19 (Orig. $14.99)

Credit: Amazon

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