10 of the Best Cleansers for Sensitive Skin

These are the best cleansers for sensitive skin to say goodbye to redness and irritation.

best cleansers for sensitive skin

Cleansing is a crucial part of any skincare routine. You should find a cleanser made specifically for your skin type and one that will take care of any problems you may have instead of just choosing a random one. When you choose the wrong cleanser, it can cause more skin issues. 

While sensitive skin can often react to certain ingredients in skin care products, environmental factors, stress levels, lifestyle habits and dietary changes are also known to cause irritation.

What Ingredients to Look Out For

It’s good to choose cleansers with nourishing, non-irritating ingredients that will soothe while cleansing and avoid any exfoliants that aren’t gentle. Cleansers that are also physical exfoliators can slightly tear the skin or make it even more irritated.

For sensitive skin, it’s crucial to avoid parabens, phthalates and fragrances, since they can cause an imbalance in your skin’s pH and lead to rashes, over-drying, breakouts and redness.

Other ingredients to steer clear from are menthol and eucalyptol because it will strip the skin of its natural sebum, which will lead to dryness and irritation.

Making sure a cleanser is fragrance-free is also important for those with sensitive skin. Cleansers with fragrance can lead to redness or inflammation.  

You should be careful when using facial cleansing brushes as well. These devices can be too harsh for sensitive skin and strip it of its natural oils.

Carefully look over the ingredient list first and look for ingredients that will improve the skin’s natural barrier and soothe irritation while keeping it moisturized and hydrated, such as niacinamide, hyaluronic acid and ceramides.

It may be best to include only a few products in your skin care routine. Find a gentle cleanser that’s not harsh on the skin and a moisturizer that also works for sensitive skin. The last product should always be a sunscreen to protect your skin from sun damage. You should also only exfoliate only once a week as it can be very harsh and irritating on the skin.

1. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser ($10)

This is one of the best drugstore facial cleansers for sensitive skin recommended by dermatologists because it’s incredibly gentle and versatile. It works with one molecule binding to the oil and the other sticking to the water, to wash impurities away without stripping your skin of oils. The cleanser also leaves the skin very moisturized and helps to soothe redness. It’s also non-comedogenic and fragrance-free. 

2. Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser ($39)

The Ultracalming Cleanser by Dermologica is a gentle face wash that soothes skin and promotes healing which is perfect for sensitive skin. It provides the skin with protection against pollution, hormonal changes and any irritation.

There is panthenol to nourish the skin and an anti-ozonate complex to fight against future inflammation. Oat is another ingredient in the formula to calm inflammation while lavender and cucumber are also there to reduce redness, soothe skin irritation and reduce swelling.

3. First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser with Antioxidant Booster ($21)

First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser gently clears away all dirt, excess oil, makeup and impurities while calming stressed, irritated skin. It has a lightweight, whipped texture that transforms into a creamy, frothy texture when mixed with water to infuse your skin with essential antioxidants. 

Allantoin and aloe leaf extract are in the formula to reduce inflammation and reinforce your skin’s ability to resist environmental triggers. This fragrance-free face cleanser also hydrates and soothes irritation because of the blend of glycerin, aloe, licorice root and white tea extracts.

4. La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser ($12)

La Roche-Posay Hydrating Gentle Soap Free Cleanser is another one of the best cleansers for sensitive skin. This milky, cream cleanser gently rids skin of makeup, dirt and impurities, while maintaining the skin’s natural moisture barrier and pH. It can even get rid of stubborn eye makeup.

The gentle formula uses thermal water, ceramides and glycerin to restore skin comfort and retain essential moisture, leaving the skin feeling soothed and hydrated.

5. CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser ($16)

This hydrating cleanser won an Allure Best of Beauty award in 2019 and highly recommended by dermatologists. It is another one of the best drugstore facial cleansers for sensitive skin. The cleanser is gentle while still very effective at removing debris, dirt, pollutants and makeup without stripping skin.

The cleanser is ideal for sensitive skin types because it’s filled with ceramides. These are fats naturally found in the skin to prevent water loss. Ceramides are also important to maintain the skin barrier and helps those who get irritated skin easily. Hyaluronic acid is there as well to draw water into the skin and lock in hydration. The cleanser is also non-comedogenic and fragrance-free.

6. Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash ($24)

The Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash is gentle and easily rinses away makeup, impurities and surface oils for skin. There are ingredients such as mint to reinvigorate the skin’s appearance and broad leaf kelp extract, wheat protein and tourmaline to cleanse and purify sensitive skin.

If you want to check out Origins, you can get free shipping on any $35+ order here.

7. Skinceuticals Soothing Cleanser ($35)

This soothing cleanser is gentle but effective at removing any impurities. There is a high concentration of sorbitol, glycerin, orchis mascula extract and cucumber extract, which all work together to remove impurities while calming and comforting sensitive skin. It also nourishes delicate skin and washes away stubborn makeup residue.

8. Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser ($11)

The Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser by Neutrogena has also won an Allure Best of Beauty award. It is another one of the great drugstore facial cleansers for sensitive skin. The formula has glycerin which pulls moisture into the skin and soothes irritation right away. It is also formulated specifically for sensitive skin types while being non-comedogenic and fragrance-free. It removes dirt, oil and even waterproof makeup easily. 

9. Eminence Organic Skin Care Calm Skin Chamomile Cleanser ($42)

This calming cleanser gently removes impurities from the skin while reducing irritation using clean ingredients. Sunflower and calendula oils are rich in vitamins and hydrate and protect the skin. Chamomile extract is there to reduce irritation, revitalize, calm and balance the appearance of skin. Rosemary extract rejuvenates the skin and gets rid of inflammation while arnica fortifies the skin’s defense barrier. There is also a biocomplex of antioxidants, coenzyme Q10, vitamins and alpha-lipoic acid that all work together to reduce visible signs of fine lines and wrinkles and improve the appearance of the skin.

10. Fresh Soy Face Cleanser ($38)

The Fresh Soy Face Cleanser is pH-balanced, fragrance-free and will melt away any makeup including mascara. Sensitive skin will benefit from its many high-quality, clean ingredients. Amino acid-rich soy proteins help maintain skin elasticity and suppleness and aloe vera and cucumber are there to soothe the skin. Glycerin is also present for hydration while sunflower and borage seed oils nourish the skin and rosewater calms and balances the skin. It removes impurities and tones the skin for clean, balanced skin as well.

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