Cleansing your face is a key factor in an effective skincare regimen. Others may choose just any kind of facial cleanser, but things are dealt with differently with sensitive skin. People with sensitive skin types tend to be extra careful in using skincare products.
With a wide list of facial cleansers in the Philippines, those with sensitive skin must only choose products with ingredients that could only be beneficial for them. In this article, we will provide you with a list of the 10 best facial cleansers for sensitive skin, and a comprehensive buying guide, with comments and insights from dermatologist Dr. Jarische Lao-Ang, to help you reach an informed decision.
Dr. Jarische Lao-Ang, MD, DPDS is a board-certified dermatologist in Metro Manila, and achieving healthy skin is her goal in every skin journey she has with her patients. She also aims to raise awareness on healthy skin facts and skincare habits. She is a Diplomate of the Philippine Dermatological Society and is currently offering online consults for any skin, hair, and nail concerns. You can follow her on her Instagram and Facebook page to know more details about her practice!
Our recommendation articles are carefully researched and crafted by the mybest Philippines team of writers and editors. To stay true to our company’s mission and vision to help users’ selection process easier, we also collaborate with experts from various fields to ensure that our content stays factual and useful.
Experts featured in this article only reviewed the content of our buying guide. They had no part in the selection or ranking of products or services listed.
The products and services listed are ranked independently by the editorial team based on the points mentioned in our thoroughly researched buying guide (as of 01-16-2023).
Here are some key points to consider:
For more detailed information, read through our buying guide below.
In choosing a facial cleanser, it is best to ensure that you only feed your skin with the right ingredients to keep it healthy. Have the time to check the product’s ingredients list and see if it has some of these good substances for sensitive skin.
If you need a cleanser that is organic and has a soothing ability, choose one that is formulated with Aloe vera. Redness and irritation are common concerns associated with sensitive skin, and Aloe vera can remedy these issues.
When you want to achieve naturally clear and glowing skin, cleansers made with Aloe vera will be your best choice. This flowering succulent is a natural humectant that moisturizes your skin, leaving you with a clean and soft feeling.
Aloe vera is one of the underrated ingredients for people with sensitive skin. This medicinal herb is rich in vitamins, amino acids, and minerals, like zinc. These compounds keep the skin barrier healthy and calm down inflammation. Aside from calming irritation, aloe vera also hydrates and promotes wound healing. Cleansers with aloe vera gel can be used once or twice daily.
Tomato and licorice root are two known ingredients that function as potent antioxidants. These substances found in skincare products help fight skin aging caused by harmful factors like UV rays and pollution.
Aside from their anti-aging abilities, tomato and licorice root are packed with vitamins and nutrients that are beneficial for sensitive skin. Tomatoes contain Vitamin B needed for skin cell repair, while licorice root lightens the complexion and reduces acne and oil build-up.
Tomatoes contain lycopene and lutein are antioxidants that can protect the skin from oxidative stress. Licorice contains anti-inflammatory properties and helps brighten the skin. With proper formulation, these 2 ingredients can be helpful for sensitive skin.
Hyaluronic acid quickly captured our attention when it was introduced into the market. A popular component in achieving Korean glass skin, hyaluronic acid is famous for its ultra-moisturizing benefit.
Hyaluronic acid is an element naturally produced by our body, which retains water and keeps our tissues, joints, and organs well lubricated. When used in facial cleansers, this ingredient keeps your skin nourished and hydrated.
Hyaluronic acid is a humectant that moisturizes the skin. It can maintain good hydration and prevent damage to the skin, making it beneficial for people with sensitive skin. Do note that a derivative of hyaluronic acid is sodium hyaluronate. This compound has a smaller molecular size and penetrates the skin better. Both forms are effective when used.
Much like hyaluronic acid, ceramides are also naturally found in our bodies. These are fats or lipids in our outer skin layer that keep it moisturized and free from radicals or external aggressors.
Ceramides are beneficial to sensitive skin because they help restore the skin barrier that could be damaged due to the incorrect use of skincare products or other forms of irritants. Not only does it restore your skin, but it also keeps it healthy and in good condition.
Ceramide is one of my personal go-to ingredients for sensitive skin. It is a lipid component of the skin and is an important part of the skin barrier. Though naturally produced by the body, replenishing ceramides with skin care products is helpful. It not only moisturizes the skin but also protects the skin against damage.
While facial cleansers have substances that are beneficial for sensitive skin, there are also some that could be toxic or harmful. It is advisable to leave out products that contain these ingredients.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or SLS is known as a common type of surfactant. It is often found in grooming and bath products like shampoos, body washes, lotions, and facial cleansers. While it is largely used for cosmetic items, those with sensitive skin must be cautious of its consequences.
SLS can be overpowering, and incorporating it into skincare products may strip off natural oils present on your skin. Continuous usage may lead to irritation and dryness, which is why it is best to eliminate cleansers containing this ingredient.
For sensitive skin types, certain ingredients such as sulfates can be irritating. It is best to check product labels before buying and using them.
Parabens are chemical preservatives popularly included in most skincare products. Although they are known to kill molds and bacteria, parabens may negatively affect people with sensitive skin.
Parabens are also considered irritants and may cause serious skin inflammation. When improperly applied, this condition may be aggravated by adverse allergic reactions like itchiness, redness, and rashes.
Parabens are not always harmful because it is an important preservative for skincare products. Also, formulations differ. Some may contain a higher percentage than others. For products that have parabens, people with sensitive skin are advised to patch test first before applying directly on the face.
Some skincare brands add artificial colorants to their products to produce a more vibrant and enticing look. But don’t get too excited! Applying these products may incur harmful effects on your skin, which you might regret in the future.
Synthetic dyes are a no-no for sensitive skin as these may be absorbed and lead to clogged pores, acne, and irritation. Not only that, but artificial colorants may also strip off the natural oils in your skin, making it more prone to discoloration and blemishes.
Dyes are one of the most common known allergens. If you have eczema-prone skin or a history of atopy (asthma), best to avoid the use of products with synthetic dyes.
For sensitive skin types, what might work for others may not have the same effect on you. This is why you need to be extra careful about the kind of cleanser you use, and avoid using these types of cleansing agents.
Alcohols are present in most skincare products, such as toners and cleansers. This ingredient helps in achieving a non-greasy and weightless feeling on the surface of your skin. But for sensitive skin, alcohol may be too harsh, resulting in dry skin.
In addition to harshness and extreme dryness, alcohol also strips off your natural skin barriers, making it harder to retain moisture and more vulnerable to breakouts. Whether it may be in the form of ethanol, isopropyl, denatured, or specially-denatured (SD) alcohol, it will be best for those with sensitive skin to steer clear of this component.
Not all alcohols in skincare are harmful. Fatty alcohols such as cetyl alcohol are hydrating to the skin. Denatured alcohols, on the other hand, can be drying. It is this type of alcohol that we must avoid.
Fragrances, particularly those that are chemically formulated, are a big red flag for your skin. Even a combination of organic and artificial fragrances must be avoided to prevent allergic reactions or flare-ups. Although it might be tempting to purchase skincare products with pleasant scents, choosing a fragrance-free cleanser could be a better choice, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Just like dyes, fragrances are among the common allergens. Though some may prefer having scent in a skincare product, it is best to opt for fragrance-free products for sensitive skin types. Also, note that "unscented" is not the same as "fragrance-free." In unscented products, fragrance is still there, but there are just chemicals incorporated to mask the scent, so look for products labeled as "fragrance-free."
We often see facial cleansers with high exfoliating powers in local stores and even in advertisements. This might seem convincing, but your sensitive skin might not love it. Exfoliating cleansers, whether made from fruit seeds, walnut shells, or salt, might cause micro-tears on your skin, which is why it is best to avoid using these products if you have sensitive skin.
Exfoliants are advised to be used at a minimum frequency for people with sensitive skin. If one has active flares of acne/rosacea/eczema, avoid using exfoliants. Among the hydroxy acids, PHA is deemed safe for sensitive skin types. Again, best to ask for guidance from a dermatologist before using it.
Aside from having sensitive skin, it can also be advantageous to know your current skin condition. Knowing whether you have normal, oily, or combination skin narrows down your list of suitable cleansers. Below are our recommendations as to which formula is best for your skin type.
Gel cleansers, as the name implies, are characterized by their transparent, jelly-like consistency. These types of cleansers are best for sensitive skin because they are gentle and mild, and will not cause irritation.
In spite of their lightweight texture, gel cleansers are known for their deep cleansing abilities. They are capable of removing excess oils, but are non-comedogenic, meaning they will not clog your pores. This type of cleanser also works best for those with acne-prone skin.
Gel cleansers can be mild to sensitive skin. Make sure to lather properly when using gel cleansers.
Cream cleansers are the opposite of gel cleansers in terms of texture, as they have a richer and thicker consistency. Plus, they have more hydrating capabilities, making them perfect for dry and sensitive skin types. If you are a fan of double cleansing, you may also use cream cleansers after oil-based cleansers as part of your skincare regimen.
If you are looking for a cleanser that could easily wipe off dirt, oil, and even waterproof makeup, try a cleansing balm or oil. Cleansing balms and oils are now part of easy and simple skincare routines since they do not require water. These products can be applied to the skin and wiped off easily and will not cause irritation or clogged pores.
Cleansing balms or oils are preferred for double cleansing. It is recommended if you wear makeup or if the skin feels heavy at the end of the day. For cleansing oils, make sure to choose "non-comedogenic" oils, especially if you have acne-prone skin.
Micellar cleansers are best for all skin types. In particular, they work great with sensitive skin since they are water-based and do not contain alcohol. Also, micellar cleansers are able to remove skin impurities without tightening or clogging the pores. You may use it as a no-rinse cleanser or a toner after washing your face with a regular cleanser.
Different cleanser formulas call for different types of packaging as well. Check out which packaging type fits your needs below.
If you opt for a facial cleanser with a liquid or gel-type formula, you may choose a flip-top cap bottle or tube as your container. Most watery skincare products, like micellar cleansers, use flip-top cap bottles or tubes as their packaging for easy product release.
Make sure to close the lids properly after every use to avoid waste. Also, this is to prevent exposure of the product to the external environment since the product can get contaminated.
If you want to be more controlled with dispensing your facial cleanser, go for one with a pump packaging. Some gel and cream cleansers may come in the form of foaming dispensers or simple bottles with pumps. Another advantage of this packaging is that it prevents leakage and will not mess up your bathroom, drawer, or skincare kit.
Since they have a thicker consistency, most cleansing balms are packaged into jars for easy application. Other brands also provide mini spoons so you can easily scoop out the product instead of using your hands. And if you are going on a trip, you can transfer the product to a smaller jar to leave space for your other skincare products.
Make sure to clean the spoon in the jar packaging after every use. This is to ensure that there's no dirt upon putting it back in the package.
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Gentle Skin Cleanser
Clinically-Proven and Loved by Most Users
All Clean Balm
Deeply Cleanses the Skin, Best for Makeup Lovers
Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser
Combines Ceramides, Hyaluronic Acid, and Amino-Acid in One Gentle Cleanser
Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
Formulated With Tea Tree Oil and Salicylic Acid for Smooth and Blemish-Free Skin
In Her Element
Low pH Rose Radiant Cleanser
Support Local With This Proudly-Filipino Made Gel Cleanser
Pure Mild Facial Cleanser
A Non-comedogenic, Hypoallergenic Mild Cleanser
Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution
Has a No-Rinse Formula for Hassle-Free Cleansing
First Aid Beauty
Removes Makeup and Soothes Irritated Skin
Soy Face Cleanser
Formulated With Soy Protein for Gentle Cleansing and Hydration
pH 5.5 Gentle Cleanser
Your New Holy Grail for Acne-Prone and Sensitive Skin
Cetaphil has been one of the most trusted skincare brands in the country—not to mention, it is dermatologist-recommended, too! Whether you are struggling with acne-prone or sensitive skin or suffering from eczema and rosacea, their Gentle Skin Cleanser is a lifesaver! Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is packed with powerful cleansing and hydrating abilities.
With its Micellar Technology, this product removes grime, makeup, and residue from your face. Aside from that, it is also formulated with vitamins B3 (Niacinamide), B5 (Panthenol), and glycerine that prevent dryness and strengthen your skin barrier. Best of all, you can use this with or without water, so you can easily add this to your daily skincare regimen.
If you are someone who wears makeup every day, you might need a product that could easily wipe off even the last trace of oil, dirt, and makeup on your skin. Heimish All Clean Balm is something that you can depend on! Ideal for sensitive skin, this product gently melts away all impurities from your face without stripping your face of its natural oils.
Heimish All Clean Balm comes in a solid, thick consistency that turns into a silky, oil texture once applied. It is enriched with shea butter, rose extract, and orange peel that naturally cleanse and soothe your skin. This works best as your first step cleanser, which you can finish off with a gel, cream, or foam cleanser after.
Are you having a hard time looking for a facial wash that not only cleanses but protects your skin at the same time? Worry not, because CeraVe's Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser's got your back! This dermatologist-formulated product starts as a creamy texture, then turns into a foamy substance to remove deep-seated dirt and bring back that supple, soft skin.
Meet the product's power trio—hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and amino-acid. Hyaluronic acid attracts water onto your skin and locks it in to keep it hydrated. Ceramides are present to replenish and restore your skin's natural barriers. Finally, amino acids power through your skin's Natural Moisturising Factors (NMF), keeping it nourished with every wash.
Dubbed as the do-it-all cleanser for every skin type, COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser is the answer to your skin problems—from acne, oil, and dirt to clogged and enlarged pores. The best part? This cleanser is formulated with low pH so you can get rid of all impurities but still keep the natural oils from your skin.
To prevent breakouts, this product combines the power of tea tree oil and 0.9% salicylic acid. These substances work together in stripping off dead skin cells, dirt, and bacteria while minimizing your pores to control oil production. With daily use, your skin will look brighter and feel more supple.
In Her Element is a local brand that offers skincare products that are specially formulated for Filipino skin. Their low pH Rose Gel Cleanser is crafted with fresh botanical ingredients that will purify your skin but never dry it out. Thus, you can use it as a daily cleanser.
This facial wash encapsulates the powers of rose extract, niacinamide, and cica extract to give you an ultra-cleansing experience and soft skin afterward. It also has a low pH level of 6 to 6.5, which keeps your skin's natural barrier intact and moisturized. By purchasing this product, you can support your fellow Pinoy's business!
For sensitive skin types, facial cleansers do not need to have extravagant or complicated ingredients. It only needs to be gentle and effective in washing away unwanted elements on your skin. This is Neutrogena Pure Mild Facial Cleanser’s promise.
This pure, mild gel cleanser delivers its goal of keeping your skin clean and soft at the same time. It is hypoallergenic, so you won’t have to worry about rashes or itchiness. Apart from that, this product is also non-comedogenic, which means it does not clog your pores or leave any dirt or oily residue on your face.
If you often apply makeup on your sensitive skin and feel afraid that it will only worsen your skin condition, Bioderma has a solution for you. Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution is a no-rinse cleanser that gently removes makeup and impurities without causing irritation and dryness. This dermatologically-formulated product is perfectly made for people with sensitive skin.
This cleanser is known as the first and only micellar water product that thoroughly cleanses your skin while restoring its original structure. This product is also safe to use around your eye area. Since it does not need rinsing, you can now enjoy an easy and hassle-free way of cleansing your skin.
Calming inflamed and irritated skin could be a tough job, which is why you need a tougher product like First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser to get it done! This gentle cleanser is capable of removing makeup, dirt, and sebum, all while soothing your skin.
Its creamy texture works wonders for sensitive skin types as it is crafted with calming aloe vera, anti-irritant allantoin, and naturally hydrating glycerine. Besides that, First Aid Beauty has incorporated its own antioxidant booster formula in this product to keep your skin protected from free radicals and external aggressors.
Fresh’s best-selling lightweight facial wash gives you soft and supple skin without compromising its natural defense. Expertly tested and proven effective, their Soy Face Cleanser removes deep-seated dirt and leaves you with nothing but clean and healthy skin.
This product is made with repurposed soy that is packed with hydroxyproline, an amino acid that restores your skin’s elasticity and smoothness. It is pH-balanced, too, making it suitable for sensitive skin types. It may be somewhat expensive, but if you are okay with splurging a little bit, this product is definitely worth purchasing.
Are you tired of pimples resurfacing on your skin no matter how hard you try to cleanse it? We’ve got the solution for you! Oxecure pH 5.5 Gentle Cleanser is an ultra-mild and non-irritating facial wash that is perfect for acne-prone and sensitive skin. This product works wonders because of these three key elements.
Its Dual Moisture Lock Technology works to hydrate and soothe your skin. It also has salicylic acid that gently exfoliates dead skin cells and makes your skin feel refreshed. Lastly, the mangosteen extract keeps away harmful bacteria that cause irritation, flakiness, and redness to your sensitive skin.
Below are some of the most asked questions on the web answered by Dr. Jarische Lao-Ang.
The frequency of washing the face depends on your skin concerns and your skin type. It is advisable to wash your face twice. On a personal note, you may skip cleanser in the morning if your skin doesn't feel heavy upon waking up.
However, it is a non-negotiable to use a cleanser at night to wash off all the dirt throughout the day. For people with sensitive skin, choosing the right cleanser that is not too drying is important. And applying moisturizers with calming ingredients after face wash is helpful.
After cleansing, the order of skincare products to be applied depends on what you have in your routine. For people with sensitive skin, it is recommended to avoid using too many products at a time. This is to avoid the risk of irritation. For layering of products, go from thinnest to thickest. Avoid layering exfoliants over retinoids, especially if you have sensitive skin. Always patch-test new products.
Double cleansing is only advisable if you feel a one-step cleanse is not enough after wearing makeup or when the skin feels heavy. Double-cleansing risks drying the skin and can contribute to a damaged skin barrier. In my opinion, it is better for people with sensitive skin to use a one-step cleanser. Double-cleanse only as needed. Also, avoid facial scrubs.
Looking for other skincare products that are suitable for your sensitive skin? We've got you covered! Check out our expert-reviewed articles below for more recommendations.
Author: Sthephanie Labarentos
Editor: Aprille Jarcia
Our buying guide was carefully researched and crafted by the mybest team of writers and editors, in collaboration with the expert featured in this article. We used the buying guide as a basis for choosing and ranking the product recommendations, and we looked at reviews and ratings from different E-commerce sites like Lazada, Shopee, and more.
No. 1：Cetaphil｜Gentle Skin Cleanser
No. 2：Heimish｜All Clean Balm
No. 3：CeraVe｜Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser
No. 4：COSRX｜Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
No. 5：In Her Element｜Low pH Rose Radiant Cleanser
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When you purchase products mentioned in the article, part of the sales may be returned to mybest.
The descriptions of each product is referenced from the content available from the manufacturer, e-commerce sites etc.
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