I have sensitive skin and am always on the lookout for products that won't irritate it.
Sensitive Skin Can Be a Problem
If you're like me and have been blessed with sensitive skin, you probably struggle to find a body lotion that doesn't cause irritation.
You may think I am being facetious when I say "blessed," but I really do think sensitive skin is a good thing. Skin is the body's first line of defense and having sensitive skin means you're much less likely to coat your body in a layer of harsh chemicals that could be harmful to your system. Although you might imagine that anything manufactured for your skin will not contain anything harmful to humans, some toiletries contain a long list of chemicals that have either been proven to be carcinogenic or that cause concern.
Ingredients That Irritate Sensitive Skin
While what irritates my skin may not be what irritates yours, there are some ingredients known to frequently cause irritation or sensitivity. For instance, most of us should use mineral sunscreens instead of chemicals, and perfume (often listed as parfum) in a product is likely to cause irritation. Many preservatives also affect sensitive skin and so for that reason, it is best to buy organic or preservative-free products.
Essential Oils and Sensitive Skin
But be careful because some organic products rely on essential oils for preservatives and some of those can even cause problems for sensitive skin. Generally, the oils that cause irritation are not used in body lotions - I've never seen black pepper in an ingredients list! But there are others that do get used, such as peppermint or lemongrass. Both of these are best avoided, as are clove, basil and wintergreen.
What to Avoid
I have tried many body lotions, both the more conventional "hypo-allergenic" type and organic lotions. The two featured in this article, by Allergenics and Green People stand out for me as particularly good. Both these lotions are made in the UK and so may not be available where you live, although Green People is available on Amazon.com. If you cannot get these lotions, be sure to choose one that has:
- no preservatives
- no scent, perfume or parfum
- no sodium laurel sulphate (this is a known irritant for many people)
Avoid these, not just in body lotions, but in all cosmetics, including soap and shampoo. Since I switched to an unscented shampoo, my scalp has stopped itching.
Toiletries without preservatives don't last as long as those with, but most will last for six months to one year.
1. Allergenics Preservative-Free emollient
This lotion works to protect your skin in two ways.
- It does not contain ingredients that irritate the skin.
- It does contain ingredients that soothe and that protect against external irritants.
Some of the soothing ingredients are aloe vera and borage oil. Aloe vera is well known for soothing skin and in its pure form is even useful for sunburn. Borage oil is also known as starflower oil and can help soothe dermatitis.
What this means—and I can only report how this is for me—is that there is no itchiness or skin irritation after using this lotion.
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The lotion is light and non-greasy, not too thick or thin. It lasts well and is reasonably priced, at least in the UK.
Other Allergenics Products for Sensitive Skin
Allergenics make a range of toiletries for sensitive skin. Their emollient cream is much thicker than the lotion and particularly good for rough or dry areas of skin such as elbows or hands. I have used this cream many times and found it effective for restoring moisture, and soothing.
The Allergenics shower gel can be used on the face as well as the body. I find that most shower gels make my skin itch, and since I changed to Allergenics Wash this has stopped, so I am very pleased with it!
2. Green People No-Scent Natural Hand and Body Lotion
I love Green People's philosophy, and I love their products. We started out by using their baby care range, then as our babies became kids we used their kids range and eventually I used their adult products too. Green People was founded by a mother whose little daughter was allergic to the chemical-based skincare products available.
Because Green People's products were created with allergic skin in mind, not surprisingly, they are great for those of us with sensitive skin. For example, I've had an itchy scalp and dandruff for years and tried all sorts of anti-dandruff shampoos over the years. Since I switched to Green People's No Scent shampoo, the itching and dandruff have cleared up.
Green People's No Scent Natural Hand and Body Lotion is thicker than the Allergenics one, which makes it good for hands, feet, elbows and anywhere else that needs some extra moisture. For me, this makes it not quite as suitable for an all-over lotion, but if you like a thicker lotion, this would be better for you. Although it is quite expensive, particularly outside of the UK, like all Green People products it is highly concentrated and does last a very long time.
Recommended for Extremely Allergic Skin
If you have additional skin problems such as severe eczema or psoriasis, then I would recommend this lotion rather than Allergenics one. This is because I did a comparison of other reviews of the two products, and not one person reports an allergic reaction to this lotion or any of Green People's No Scent range, whereas one reviewer did report a reaction to Allergenics cream. In addition, some people report that it even helped psoriasis.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Mohammad Tanvir Ibne Amin from Dhaka on December 05, 2014:
I faced the problem of allergy when I apply my lotion. But it feels irritating especially in the winter without having a lotion. Right now I'm using PHYSIOGEL lotion by Stefel that my physician recommended me . But still I have the same problem.
Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on October 21, 2013:
Hi brakel2, sorry for the late reply, but I'm not on Hubpages much nowadays. I'm glad you found this useful and hope you managed to get the products. You are right that we are fortunate to have so much choice and the options to research nowadays.
Audrey Selig from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on September 12, 2013:
Thank you for this hub on sensitive skin, as I am always looking for new products for my skin. I will have to search to see if I can find these. Right now, I use Eucerin and Aveeno products. I use Mary Kay facial products and have not had any problems. I will check with Amazon and see what I can find. I cannot use soap in the shower and need body wash. I am so glad we have the capability to investigate and find solutions. We are fortunate. I love to find new products that work, so thank you for sharing this information. Blessings and so nice to meet up with you again. Audrey
Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on February 21, 2013:
Cyndi, both of these lotions are of course British, so not so easy to get in the US, though there may be similar ones. Having said that, we do get several US brands this side of the pond, and I haven't seen anything quite like these among them. I've read that EU standards regarding "natural" and so on do tend to be more exacting than in the US.
Thanks for your comment!
Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on February 17, 2013:
These lotions sound really good. I might order them from Amazon in the near future because I don't think they are readily available where I am. Great tips here!
Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on February 06, 2013:
Yes, CarNoobz, what we put on the skin can make a huge difference. He should watch what soap, shower gel and so on he uses too, and even washing powder. One of my sisters used to come out in boils inreaction to washing powder, and I used to get covered in a very uncomfortable rash if I used suncream that had any perfume in it. Hope this helps, and thanks for stopping by.
CarNoobz from USA on February 06, 2013:
My older son has some issues with skin sensitivity, eczema etc. Maybe he just needs to find the right lotion.
Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on February 02, 2013:
fpherj48, I think you could be right that aging plays a part. I have had sensitive skin most of my life, but it's become more so in the last few years. I'm glad this is useful to you and thanks for the feedback.
Suzie from Carson City on February 02, 2013:
Interesting. Although I have not had "sensitive" skin for the majority of my life, this seems to have changed, recently. I find I must be more careful about the products I am using. This may be the result of aging, as well as particular medications.
I appreciate this information very much...UP++