Sunscreen: Those with dry or sensitive skin require a sunscreen that ticks off a lot of boxes: creamy and physical. Dermatologists say that for the best version of this, you’ll need to spend a little more. Opt for a creamy sunscreen to ensure that your skin isn't missing another opportunity to hydrate. Also, look for a formula with a physical sunblock, like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, rather than a chemical sunscreen, like avobenzone (also called Parsol 1789). This is because blocks sit on top of the skin, rather than getting absorbed into it, making them less apt to irritate these sensitive-skin types. One that fits the bill: EltaMD UV Facial Broad-Spectrum SPF 30+ ($22, amazon.com).
Antioxidant Serum: Although your skin craves moisture, many dermatologists say you’re still better off with an antioxidant serum, as opposed to a cream, because there’s some concern that creamy humectants may impede the skin's ability to absorb the antioxidants. SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic ($162, skinceuticals.com) is a formula you’re apt to find in many dermatologists' medicine cabinets. Apply in the morning before your moisturizer and sunscreen.
Retinoid: “Your skin has fewer oils to act as a buffer against retinoids, so you need to use one for sensitive skin,” says Heather Rogers, M.D., a cofounder of Modern Dermatology, in Seattle. Her pick: AvÃ¨ne RetrinAL 0.05 Cream ($61, dermstore.com). Minimize irritation by applying it twice a week, then work your way toward more frequent applications, followed by moisturizer if you have flaking.