You just finished your skincare routine, applied your favorite moisturizer, and suddenly, you feel a burning sensation on your skin. It’s a disconcerting experience, but don’t worry. This guide will help you understand why this happens and what you can do to soothe and prevent it.

Why Does Your Skin Burn After Applying Moisturizer?

A burning sensation after applying moisturizer can be caused by several factors. Understanding these can help you identify the issue and choose the right products for your skin.

1. Irritating Ingredients

Some ingredients in moisturizers can cause irritation, especially if you have sensitive skin. Dr. Joshua Zeichner, Director of Cosmetic & Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, explains, “A burning sensation after applying moisturizer is often a sign of irritation. This can be caused by a variety of factors, such as fragrance, preservatives, or certain active ingredients.” (Source: Mount Sinai)

2. Fragrance and Preservatives

Fragrance and preservatives are common culprits in causing skin irritation. These ingredients can trigger allergic reactions or sensitivity, leading to a burning sensation.

3. Active Ingredients

Moisturizers with active ingredients like retinol, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) can cause a mild burning sensation, especially if your skin is not accustomed to them. Dr. Shari Marchbein, Board-Certified Dermatologist, notes, “If you’re using a moisturizer with active ingredients like retinol or alpha hydroxy acids, a mild burning sensation may be normal, especially if you have sensitive skin. However, if the burning is severe or doesn’t subside, discontinue use and consult with a dermatologist.” (Source: Shari Marchbein Website)

4. Dry and Damaged Skin

Dry and damaged skin can be more prone to irritation. When your skin barrier is compromised, it’s easier for irritating substances to penetrate and cause discomfort. Dr. Hadley King, Board-Certified Dermatologist, advises, “If your skin is dry and damaged, it may be more prone to irritation from moisturizers. Make sure to gently exfoliate your skin before applying moisturizer to remove dead skin cells and allow for better absorption.” (Source: Dr. Hadley King Instagram)

5. Allergic Reactions

Sometimes, a burning sensation can be a sign of an allergic reaction. Dr. Michelle Henry, Board-Certified Dermatologist, warns, “Sometimes, a burning sensation after moisturizing can be a sign of an allergic reaction. If the burning is severe or accompanied by other symptoms like redness, swelling, or itching, see a dermatologist as soon as possible.” (Source: Dr. Michelle Henry Website)

What to Do If Your Skin Burns After Applying Moisturizer

If you experience a burning sensation after applying moisturizer, follow these steps to soothe your skin and prevent future irritation.

1. Rinse Your Skin

If the burning is intense, rinse your skin with cool water to remove the product. This can help alleviate immediate discomfort.

2. Apply a Soothing Ingredient

Use a product with soothing ingredients like aloe vera or colloidal oatmeal to calm your skin. Dr. Mona Gohara, Board-Certified Dermatologist, suggests, “If your skin burns after moisturizing, consider switching to a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic moisturizer. Look for products that contain soothing ingredients like aloe vera or colloidal oatmeal.” (Source: Yale Medicine)

3. Avoid Harsh Ingredients

Identify and avoid ingredients that can cause irritation. Stick to products that are free from fragrance, alcohol, and harsh preservatives.

4. Patch Test New Products

Before using a new moisturizer, do a patch test. Apply a small amount to a discreet area of your skin and wait 24 hours to see if any reaction occurs.

5. Moisturize Gently

Apply moisturizer to damp skin to enhance absorption and reduce the likelihood of irritation. The Golden Rx, skincare experts, recommend, “Make sure you’re applying your moisturizer to damp skin. This will help the product to penetrate more deeply and hydrate your skin more effectively.” (Source: The Golden Rx Instagram: @thegoldenrx)

6. Use Non-Comedogenic Products

Opt for non-comedogenic products that won’t clog your pores or exacerbate skin issues.

Preventing Future Irritation

1. Choose the Right Moisturizer for Your Skin Type

Select a moisturizer that suits your skin type and concerns. For dry skin, choose rich, emollient-based moisturizers. For oily or combination skin, opt for lightweight, oil-free formulations.

2. Incorporate Hydrating Ingredients

Look for moisturizers that contain hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, which attract and retain moisture in the skin.

3. Avoid Over-Exfoliation

Exfoliating too often can damage your skin barrier, making it more susceptible to irritation. Stick to gentle exfoliation once or twice a week.

4. Protect Your Skin Barrier

Strengthen your skin barrier by using products with ceramides, niacinamide, and fatty acids. These ingredients help maintain the integrity of your skin barrier and prevent moisture loss.

5. Maintain a Consistent Routine

Consistency is key to achieving healthy, hydrated skin. Stick to a regular skincare routine and give your skin time to adjust to new products.

I once experienced a burning sensation after using a new moisturizer. It turned out that the product contained fragrance and alcohol, which irritated my sensitive skin. After switching to a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic moisturizer with soothing ingredients, my skin felt much better. This experience taught me the importance of reading ingredient labels and choosing products carefully.

When to See a Dermatologist

If you continue to experience burning or irritation despite making changes to your skincare routine, consult a dermatologist. They can help identify any underlying issues and recommend appropriate treatments.


Experiencing a burning sensation after applying moisturizer can be alarming, but understanding the potential causes and knowing how to address them can help you achieve comfortable, hydrated skin. By choosing the right products and following expert advice, you can maintain a healthy, glowing complexion without irritation.

Expert Quotes Summary

  • Dr. Joshua Zeichner: A burning sensation can be due to irritation from fragrance, preservatives, or active ingredients. (Source: Mount Sinai)
  • Dr. Mona Gohara: Consider switching to fragrance-free, hypoallergenic moisturizers with soothing ingredients like aloe vera or colloidal oatmeal. (Source: Yale Medicine)
  • Dr. Hadley King: Dry and damaged skin is more prone to irritation. Gently exfoliate before moisturizing. (Source: Dr. Hadley King Instagram)
  • Dr. Michelle Henry: A burning sensation may indicate an allergic reaction. Seek medical advice if symptoms persist. (Source: Dr. Michelle Henry Website)
  • Dr. Shari Marchbein: A mild burning sensation from active ingredients may be normal, but severe burning requires discontinuation and consultation. (Source: Shari Marchbein Website)
  • The Golden Rx: Apply moisturizer to damp skin for better absorption and effectiveness. (Source: The Golden Rx Instagram: @thegoldenrx)


  • Contact Dermatitis to Cosmetics: Reviews prevalence of dermatitis from cosmetics, including common allergens and irritants. (Source: The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology)
  • The Role of Moisturizers: Examines efficacy of moisturizers in addressing dryness, emphasizing the importance of choosing the right product for your skin type. (Source: International Journal of Cosmetic Science)

By following these tips and understanding the potential causes of skin burning after moisturizing, you can enjoy a comfortable, hydrated, and healthy complexion.

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Hello there! I'm Rebecca Silver, a beauty aficionado with a diploma from the International Beauty Institute. I've devoted my time to crafting articles that break down the world of beauty into easy, actionable tips. Whether it’s about nurturing your hair, caring for your skin, mastering makeup, or pampering your nails, I make sure each piece of advice is simple to follow and effective. My mission? To guide you through enhancing your natural beauty with routines that are tailored just for you. Beauty is a journey, and I'm here to navigate it with you—one fun, confident step at a time. Let's embrace and celebrate the beauty in all of us.Linkedin

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