Top 10 Tips for Moisturizing Sensitive Skin


Keep It Simple

In skin care, less is more -- most of the time.
In skin care, less is more -- most of the time.
Jonathan Kantor/Getty Images

Many dermatologists will tell you that some of the best moisturizing solutions for sensitive skin are also some of the oldest and simplest.

Good old petroleum jelly has been a beauty fixture since the 1860s. Mineral oil has also been prescribed as a skin moisturizer for more than a century. Even though both products have oddly unnatural origins -- they're accidental byproducts of oil drilling and gasoline production -- they've also proven to be reliable treatments for dry, sensitive skin [source: Brody].

Mineral oil is an occlusive. Occlusives coat the skin with a protective layer that blocks the loss of moisture through evaporation [source: Baumann]. Along with humectants and emollients, occlusives are common ingredients in moisturizers.

Mineral oil is the active ingredient in baby oil, the old standby for moisturizing the sensitive bottoms of infants and their equally sensitive parents. Be aware that the classic baby oil recipe includes fragrances that could cause irritation. You can also buy pure mineral oil or fragrance-free baby oils.

Remember, though, that not all body parts are created equal. What's good for your hands and elbows might not be best for your face. If you already have oily, acne-prone skin, then oil-based products like petroleum jelly and mineral oil aren't the best choices for moisturizing your face.