Here’s a fun fact: The skin on your face is not the same as the skin on the rest of your body. For starters, it’s notably thinner and more delicate, and you’ve got to account for the fact that it’s near sensitive areas—such as your eyes, nostrils, and mouth—that offer an entrance directly into your body.
Your facial skin is also home to more oil glands compared to elsewhere on your body. (In fact, your face can have up to 900 glands per square centimeter!) While these oil glands are vital in keeping your skin moisturized, the downside is that they are often more susceptible to becoming clogged with dirt, product, and bacteria—a recipe for acne.I
These small differences might not seem like much, but they ultimately translate into skin that’s more reactive and sensitive to the ingredients applied to it. For that reason, the skincare ingredients you apply to your face must undergo a bit more scrutiny compared to the ingredients applied to the more robust areas of your body. (It’s why we have lotions and washes designated for your body, and a whole other set of products intended for your face!)
Since everyone’s skin is different, it’s so important to select skincare ingredients and products that will improve the health and beauty of your skin type. It also means knowing which ingredients to avoid in skincare and cosmetic products based on your specific needs.
Below, we’re guiding you through the skincare ingredients to avoid (and use) for oily, dry, and sensitive skin types.
Our Recommended Ingredients to Avoid if You Have Oily Skin
You have an oily skin type if your skin looks and feels slick and shiny. You might also notice that the T-Zone area—which consists of your chin, nose, and forehead—is especially oily. The reason why oily and blemish-prone skin types often go hand-in-hand is because excess sebum produced by the body can mix with bacteria, dirt, and grime, resulting in clogged pores.
Knowing all that, priority number one for this skin type is figuring out how to strike the perfect balance of hydration, moisture, and skin exfoliation. The first two will help create radiant skin while the latter will help keep pores from becoming clogged. Cleansing your face in the morning and evening can also help prevent pimples.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, the skincare ingredients to avoid for oily skin include oil-based products (which can be comedogenic), as well as alcohol-based products (known to be irritating).II Instead, create a routine full of skin-loving products that will balance and nourish your oily complexion. That includes water-based gel moisturizers, mattifying toners, and gentle exfoliating ingredients—such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide—to keep pores from clogging.
Skincare Recommendations For Oily Skin
After cleansing your face, we recommend applying Bye Bye Pores™ Leave-On Solution Pore-Refining Toner, which is formulated with coconut water to hydrate and revitalize your skin, alongside kaolin clay to help absorb excess oil to control shine and minimize the look of pores. It also contains silk, a powerful natural protein fiber that helps smooth, soften, and condition your skin.
One reviewer raves, “I love this toner. I have always had extremely oily and blemish-prone skin. I am almost 40 and this has been a game-changer for me. Love the difference it is making in the size of my pores on my cheeks!”
You can follow up your toner with Confidence in a Gel Lotion™, a water-based, oil-free moisturizer formulated specifically for oily skin types. It feels weightless on your skin and absorbs lightning fast to help your skin look and feel hydrated for 72 hours.
Makeup Recommendations For Oily Skin
Follow the same skincare ingredient rules when selecting your makeup. Start with Your Skin But Better™ Oil-Free Makeup Primer for a makeup-gripping base that will help your makeup last longer, then apply CC+ Cream Oil-Free Matte with SPF 40. This mattifying version of IT Cosmetics’ award-winning CC+ cream delivers full coverage and SPF protection. It has also been clinically tested to reduce shine and control oil for up to 12 hours.
To spot-treat and conceal blemishes at the same time, apply Bye Bye Breakout™ Full-Coverage Concealer™, formulated with salicylic acid, directly to pimples. Follow up with Bye Bye Pores Pressed Setting Powder to set everything into place and visibly reduce shine.
Our Recommended Ingredients To Avoid If You Have Dry Skin
People with a dry skin type typically have a complexion that feels and looks rough and dull. It might also appear flaky and feel itchy or sore. In more extreme cases, dry skin may even crack or bleed, though this tends to happen more on the body versus face.
Skincare Recommendations For Dry Skin
We recommend the IT Cosmetics Confidence collection to quench dry skin. Start with the skin-changing Confidence in a Cleanser™, a revolutionary cleanser and serum hybrid. It gently cleanses while moisturizing your skin for a soft, refreshed, balanced complexion.
Follow up with IT Cosmetics’ does-it-all super moisturizer, Confidence in a Cream™ Hydrating Moisturizer. It’s formulated with hyaluronic acid to attract moisture to your skin and support elasticity. The inclusion of ceramides and peptides helps retain moisture and reinforce the skin barrier.
Gentle exfoliation via ingredients such as lactic acid is also important for dry skin. This helps buff away some of those flaky bits to reveal a brighter, more radiant-looking complexion. Removing that top, dull layer of skin also helps your skin absorb products more easily. Confidence In Your Beauty Sleep™ Night Cream, which is formulated with lactic acid, can help gently exfoliate while also moisturizing your skin—all while you catch Zzzs.
Makeup Recommendations For Dry Skin
Opt for products with hydrating, moisturizing skincare ingredients when seeking makeup for dry skin. After priming your skin with a hydrating moisturizer, apply IT Cosmetics’ best-selling CC+ Cream with SPF 50+. This color-correcting cream offers full-coverage while hydrating your skin and diffusing the look of imperfections.
One reviewer writes, “This is the best CC Cream I have ever found. It is light enough while still providing some coverage for my 64-year old face! I have recommended it to women my age and those much younger as well.”
If you prefer a satin finish, try Bye Bye Foundation Full-Coverage Moisturizer™ with SPF 50+; it also boasts hydrating skin benefits.
Our Recommended Ingredients To Avoid If You Have Sensitive Skin
Sensitive skin is characterized as being more reactive to certain ingredients compared to other skin types. Reactions can range from mild irritation and redness to itchiness and rashes. To prevent those kinds of flare-ups, it’s important to use gentle, simple formulas with non-irritating ingredients. Sensitive skin types should prioritize skincare ingredients that can help calm and soothe skin, such as aloe vera, colloidal oatmeal, and chamomile.
Skincare Recommendations For Sensitive Skin
Confidence in a Cleanser is a skin-loving option that’s approved for even the most sensitive skin. In addition to revealing beautiful, clean skin, this sulfate-free and soap-free cleanser will leave your skin visibly rejuvenated. The inclusion of colloidal oatmeal—a natural anti-irritant—helps smooth, moisturize, and soften.
One reviewer with a sensitive skin type says, “My skin feels extremely clean, and overall this product gives me a sense of security in the fact that I am taking proactive steps to ensure my skin is healthy. I would definitely recommend this product for my fellow folks with sensitive, normal skin types, and [blemish-prone skin].”
After cleansing, we recommend applying Bye Bye Redness™ Sensitive Skin Moisturizer, which you can use both morning and evening to help soothe the look of redness. It’s formulated with skin-calming, hydrating aloe vera and cucumber extract, a non-irritating ingredient known for its anti-inflammatory and soothing benefits. Meanwhile, colloidal oatmeal helps visibly soften and smooth.
Makeup Recommendations for Sensitive Skin
You can use Bye Bye Redness™ Neutralizing Color-Correcting Cream before applying your foundation. Approved for sensitive skin types, this tinted and hydrating product helps neutralize the look of redness. It also helps soothe your skin via colloidal oatmeal, aloe vera, and avocado. It's ideal for camouflaging red-toned discoloration, such as rosacea, blemishes, and irritation.
Follow up with Your Skin But Better CC+ Airbrush Perfecting Powder, a buildable, sheer- to full-coverage powder that creates the look of airbrushed skin. In addition to camouflaging imperfections and discoloration, it helps nourish skin with hyaluronic acid, niacin, and peptides.
- Evgenia Makrantonaki; Ruta Ganceviciene; and Christos Zouboulis.“An update on the role of the sebaceous gland in the pathogenesis of acne.” Dermato Endocrinology. 2011, January - March.
- “How to control oily skin.” American Academy of Dermatology Association.