Of all the products in our skincare lineup, serums are the ones that could make it or break it. Packed with actives like Vitamin C and BHA, these lightweight but powerful products are meant to deliver results. It’s not easy to find the best serums for sensitive skin (also known as reactive skin). Every sneaky ingredient you forgot to decode from the label may irritate your skin so you need to be careful.
While a less-is-more approach is always the best, there is more to top serums for sensitive skin than hyaluronic acid and glycerin. The new generation of sensitive skin products restores the skin barrier with the help of ceramides. It expedites redness relief with break-through ingredients. Most importantly, the skincare industry finally agreed that there are different types of sensitive skin. Each calls for a different skincare routine.
Types of Sensitive Skin and How to Deal With Each
- Genetically sensitive skin is linked to inflammatory skin conditions like rosacea and eczema. This sensitivity type requires a consultation with your derm and might lead to a prescription-only skin routine.
- Reactive skin is a temporary condition that might occur due to skincare overdose or misuse. The goal here is to eliminate potential sensitizers and then move toward restoring the skin barrier.
- Sun exposure and pollution might lead to environmentally sensitive skin. In that case, you’d need to focus on finding the best sunscreens for sensitive skin. Also, invest in blue-light blocking skincare.
- Dry aging skin demonstrates symptoms of flakiness and irritability. Typically it’s treated as reactive skin with dehydration tendencies.
Best Serums for Different Types of Sensitive Skin
Regardless of which type you are, I’ve done some digging to find the best serums for your specific sensitive skin type.
REN Clean Skincare Evercalm Redness Relief Serum
Best for Environmentally Sensitive Skin
This clean beauty serum is a clinically tested quick-fix to calm skin redness. Fueled by a sensitivity alleviating White Mushroom Extract and antioxidants defending the skin against environmental pollution, this gentle formula helps soothe sensitized skin in under 30 minutes. It relieves skin discomfort and tightness in seven days.
Bioderma Hydrabio Serum
Budget-Friendly Serum for Dehydrated Skin
French pharmacy brands are known for a wide variety of gentle products for sensitive skin, and Bioderma is one of the pioneers in research on dehydrated skin. Brand’s Sensibio line for sensitive skin achieved its cult-favorite status, but this hidden gem serum is proven to help with the most dehydrated and sensitized skin.
Glow Recipe Avocado Ceramide Redness Relief Serum
Best Serum for Reactive Skin Barrier Repair
Developing a reactive skin condition is common when your skincare routine steps hit double-digits. If that’s the case, gel-like formulas incorporating skin barrier restoring ceramides are the way to go. Glow Recipe’s clean beauty serum offers precisely this: with the help of claiming Avocado Extract and an effective anti-irritant, Allantoin, this serum leads to more hydrated and soothed skin.
Dr. Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Camo Drops SPF 44
Best Cica Serum for Color-Correcting
Gentle enough for any skin sensitivity, this color-correcting serum uses the power of antioxidant-rich Cica (also known as Tiger Grass) to moisturize and nourish the skin. This serum’s mineral sunscreen enhanced formula for sensitive skin offers a subtle green tint known to neutralize redness. This formula is handy as an all-in-one daytime moisturizer for reactive skin overwhelmed with product overuse.
DERMAdoctor Calm Cool + Corrected Moisture Recovery HA Serum
Best Serum for Genetically Sensitive Skin
If your skin is prone to rosacea or eczema, dermatologist-approved skincare products are your best friends. This hyaluronic acid serum is formulated with sensitive skin concerns in mind. The formula is oil-free and fragrance-free to avoid common irritants. It features Prickly Pear extract, a barrier-boosting antioxidant, and Dragon Fruit extract, which helps soothe skin and reduce redness and inflammation.