Guide to Sensitive Skin & FAQs

Welcome to Queen

We have been making our Queen and Sensiderma skincare and make-up for sensitive skin since we were founded by three eminent dermatologists 90 years ago! We explain a little of what we do below but we love to speak to our customers and anyone seeking advice about their sensitive skin. There is no hard sell, just friendly, knowledgeable customer service. So, don't suffer! Just call us 01825 768 845 or email us at today.

What is sensitive skin?

Sensitive skin takes many forms. Some Queen customers know what they suffer from or that they are allergic to a particular ingredient. Some do not. Some may have always had sensitive skin and some become sensitised without warning to a  product they have used for some time or following a facial or change of product. Pregnancy can also cause skin to become sensitive and to suffer outbreaks of acne or extreme oiliness or dryness (to find out more about coping with sensitive skin during pregnancy, click here). At Queen, we also class sensitive skin as being problem skin i.e. skin which suffers from conditions such as rosacea, eczema, dermatitis, urticaria (hives or nettle rash), acne or spots. What all of these skin types have in common is that they can make life miserable for the sufferer and can mean many people spend years not daring to try any type of skincare or make-up lest they exacerbate their problem or provoke a new outbreak.

An interesting summary is provided by the American Academy of Dermatology website which quotes dermatologist Leslie Baumann, MD, FAAD (director of the University of Miami's Cosmetic Medicine & Research Institute and professor of dermatology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine) as saying there are four distinct types of sensitive skin acne, rosacea, burning and stinging, and contact dermatitis (allergies and irritants) and they all have one characteristic in common: inflammation.

What can Queen products do to help?

We do not claim to be able to cure skin conditions - no topical, over-the-counter cosmetic product can do this (whatever they may say!). Where we can help, however, is in enabling people to care for their skin properly (cleansing, toning, moisturising) with the most gentle, safest products which can improve the look and feel of skin and keep many conditions under control. Our make-up is also gentle enough to enable many sensitive skin sufferers to begin feeling confident and good about their skin and themselves. As one of our clients said recently, having been delighted to find she could use Queen Mascara without the problems she had suffered for the last 20 years: ' I am so grateful to have found you! I'll probably be going round the village now with eyes far too dramatically enhanced for my rural lifestyle!'

Queen products such as Skin Cream, Enriched Moisturising Lotion and our Sensiderma Rich Hand Cream also help soothe dry itchy patches and scaly skin. The products have a very high success rate with eczema-prone skin and with the itchy rash and raised red patches caused by urticaria. They can help combat these conditions and, if used thereafter, can help prevent their recurrence.

Do you supply sample sizes?

We believe sensitive skins should always try products before committing to an expensive purchase. We offer trial sizes for all of our products except our blushers, eye-shadows, eye pencils, mascaras and lipsticks. The latter are difficult to supply in a sample size or format but we can send a small amount to you if you email or telephone us. If you were to buy full sizes, we offer a no-quibble exchange or money-back guarantee if they do not suit you. We ask that you send the products back free-of-charge to our FREEPOST address (no stamp needed) and we will refund you.

Are Queen products suitable for all skins, including black and Asian sensitive skins?

Yes, our skincare products are beneficial for all skin types and colours. If you have sensitive skin, our products can help whatever colour your skin. In terms of our make-up, we do not have an extensive range of foundation colours but our eyeshadows, blushers, eye pencils and lipsticks can enhance all skin. A nice tutorial which demonstrates how Queen eyeshadows, in our new magnetic compact, can be used on black skin, can be found at Follow Wande's step-by-step  guide to achieve a really pretty, soft glow.

How do I know if I have a problem skin condition?

A brief overview of some common skin conditions is found below. The American Academy of Dermatology summary may also be helpful. 


A common condition usually affecting the cheeks, chin, nose and forehead and most common in women.  Sufferers may find it begins with excessive blushing. This may be triggered by heat, stress, food or there may be no obvious trigger at all. Skin may then develop enlarged and/or broken blood vessels, making skin look red and often swollen. Inflammatory rosacea may develop from the vascular stage. In inflammatory rosacea, pink bumps or papules appear, often in crops. They are of a more domed, regular shape than acne spots and do not tend to be painful like acne spots. In some severe cases, the eyes may be affected, leaving them feeling sore and gritty. Rhinophyma is a type of rosacea suffered most often by men when they develop enlarged nose tissue, leaving the nose red and bumpy looking. Please see our 'Rosacea' section here for more general information, for the best moisturisers for rosacea-prone skin and other product recommendations.

Seborrhoeic Dermatitis

A type of eczema which may often start as mild dandruff before developing into scaliness around the eyebrows, and pinkness and dryness of the side of the nose, around the eyes and, in some cases, the ear and the neck. The condition can come and go, often without obvious cause.

Contact Dermatitis

A rash and inflammation caused by skin reacting to something it has come into contact with. Many of our customers come to Queen after having experienced an allergic reaction to a beauty product or a particular ingredient.  

FAQs about Queen and the Queen range (click on a question to be taken to the relevant answer)

1. What does Queen do?
2. What does hypo-allergenic actually mean?
3. Why would I use your products?
4. How do you differ from other hypo-allergenic ranges?
5. Are your products natural?
6. You seem to use lots of synthetic ingredients in your products?
7. Why do you use colouring when you say you are hypo-allergenic?
8. Why do you use mineral oil?
9. Why not use more natural oils?
10. Why do you use preservatives?
11. Why don't you use perfume?

12. If I know I am allergic to any ingredients contained in your products, can you help me?

1. What does Queen do?
We specialise in skin care and make-up for sensitive, problem and dry skin. Our range was devised in 1927 by dermatologists who could find no suitable existing products for their patients so formulated their own. We still use the original formulations. Our products can be used to help with many skin conditions, including acne, rosacea, itchy scalp and eczema.

We produce high-quality, gentle cosmetics which are suitable for even the most sensitive skin and eyes and for skins prone to the conditions above. Because we use only ingredients which are known and historically proven to cause little to no allergic reaction in sensitive skins and because our formulations are as pure and simple as possible and contain absolutely NO perfume, they will not exacerbate existing skin conditions and, in many cases, can help improve them. Our products are made by hand in our factory in West Sussex.

Our 80 year history means our products have been tried, tested and proven to be safe and effective for sensitive and problem skins. Many of our customers have been using our products for more than 50 years.

2. What does hypo-allergenic actually mean?

Hypo-allergenic is defined in the Collins English Dictionary as beneath, below or less than, while allergenic is defined as capable of causing an allergic reaction. Thus, hypo-allergenic can be taken to mean below the level capable of causing an allergic reaction.

So what does this mean in practice? Well, it means that the products are formulated to contain fewer known irritants than others and/or that the amount of a particular ingredient which may cause a problem at a greater level is low enough not to cause irritation. In addition, Queen products contain the lowest number of ingredients possible per product to keep our lotions, creams and make-up as simple and pure as possible.

3. Why would I use your products?

Queen products are suitable for anyone and for all skin types. However, our products are devised specifically for people who:
Have problem skin - sensitive, allergy-prone or suffering from conditions such as acne or rosacea
Have very sensitive skin
Have skin which is prone to redness (dry, sensitive red skin)
Have sensitive eyes
Have suffered an adverse reaction to, for example, a product in another range and have found they cannot use or wear anything without a flare up
Have very dry skin
Have beautiful skin which they wish to maintain!

4. How do you differ from other hypo-allergenic ranges?

Where we differ from any other hypoallergenic company is:
We use very few ingredients per product - the more ingredients you have contained in a product, the higher the risk of an adverse reaction
We use no perfume, fragrance or essential oils at all in any of our products
We provide a full range of products from cleansers to lipstick so you can be sure all the products you use are safe for you
Our track record - we have 80 years experience, meaning our products are tried and tested
Our customer service - we work with you to try and find out what may be causing your individual sensitive skin problem. You can call us for a no-obligation chat and we will do our best to try and help with individual sensitive skin advice.

5. Are your products natural?

Currently, any product with even the smallest percentage of a natural ingredient can call itself natural and most so-called natural ranges contain synthetic ingredients they have to as it is impossible to formulate them safely otherwise. In our main range, we use a mixture of natural and synthetic ingredients but we do not call our products natural as this would be misleading.

Natural has become synonymous with safe but it is important to realise that this is not necessarily the case. Just as someone may be allergic to pollen or nuts, so natural oils or ingredients in cosmetics may cause an adverse reaction and irritate sensitive skin or exacerbate skin conditions. Where we do use natural ingredients  allantoin which is derived from comfrey root, for example - they are known and proven to be non allergic.
We detail all the ingredients used in each product as we have nothing to hide and know that they are all safe and effective. Many ranges will only highlight the natural/organic/botanical ingredients they use. To read more about why natural is not always best, click here.
Most organic ranges contain essential oils which, being highly perfumed, are not suitable for sensitive skin. The American Academy of Dermatology's Dr Baumann says many organic products lead to contact dermatitis, because they contain essential oils and fragrances that can cause allergy, that it is a misnomer to call organic products healthier and advises patients to use caution before using products labeled natural or organic. In fact, she anticipates seeing 'occasional cases of contact dermatitis to some botanicals found in skin care products' (
6. You seem to use lots of chemical or synthetic ingredients in your products? How can these be good for me?

(See above also) There are many so-called natural ingredients that are bad for skin and many derived or synthetic ones that are safer and more effective. We use a mixture of synthetic and natural ingredients all of which are cosmetics grade, have been tried and tested and have been proven historically to cause no allergic reaction in even the most sensitive of skins. The word chemical is very emotive and implies that something is bad when, in fact, everything around us is made of chemicals. The charity Sense about Science has produced a fascinating report on misconceptions about chemicals entitled 'Making Sense of Chemical Stories' and this extract illustrates this. 
If someone came into your house and offered you a cocktail of butanol, iso amyl alcohol, hexanol, phenyl ethanol, tannin, benzyl alcohol,
caffeine, geraniol, quercetin, 3-galloyl epicatchin, 3-galloyl epigallocatchin and inorganic salts, would you take it? It sounds pretty ghastly. If instead you were offered a cup of tea, you would probably take it. Tea is a complex mixture containing the above chemicals in concentrations that vary depending on where it is grown. Derek Lohmann, research chemist

Back to Queen, we have customers who have used our products for more than 50 years on the recommendation of their mothers. Many of our clients are in their 90s with beautiful skins which they put down to our products (we do recognise that good genes play a role too!).

7. Why do you use colouring when you say you are hypo-allergenic?

The colouring we use is non-irritant and we use only the tiniest amount. We have tried to produce the products without colouring but we have found that our customers prefer some of the products with colouring in them!
8. Why do you use mineral oil?
We believe this is the most effective oil  pure, clear and without odor and with fabulous moisturising qualities for skin. As with all our ingredients, we use only cosmetic grade mineral oil that has been refined and purified for this specific usage. The ingredients we use depend on the effect we wish our products to have. As such, where mineral oil is the best ingredient we use it. Where another oil e.g. wheat germ oil, castor oil, almond oil is more effective, we will use it.

9. Why not use more natural oils?

We believe this is the most effective oil pure, clear and without odor and with fabulous moisturising qualities for skin. As with all our ingredients, we use only cosmetic grade mineral oil that has been refined and purified for this specific usage. As we say in the previous answer, the ingredients we use depend on the effect we wish our products to have. As such, where mineral oil is the best ingredient we use it. Where another oil e.g. wheat germ oil, castor oil, almond oil is more effective, we will use that.
10. Why do you use preservatives?

It is essential that cosmetic products contain preservatives. While we are able to produce the products under controlled conditions, we cannot control what happens to them when used by consumers putting fingers into jars or touching the tops of tubes and bottles introduces bacteria. We use a very small amount of preservatives less than 0.4% which have been proven to be suitable for use in cosmetics. To learn more about parabens and their use, please read our guide here. Our products do not contain Methylisothiazolinone which has recently been highlighted in the press as causing skin sensitisation and dematitis.

11. Why don't you use perfume?

Fragrance, perfume or essential oils are major causes of skin irritation and we have never used them for this reason.

It is worth noting that some fragrance-free products, despite claiming or appearing to you to have no scent, may in fact contain some. This is often to mask what manufacturers and consumers may consider a faint, often antiseptic, aroma. Queen products use no fragrance whatsoever. In a small number of products, this antiseptic smell may be detectable but it proves the absence of fragrance and does not linger on your skin. You should hopefully find it quite pleasant after a while.

12. If I know I am allergic to any ingredients contained in your products, can you help me?

Yes, please contact us because we can often formulate our products without the ingredient to which you are allergic or by substituting specific ingredients.

To read genuine customer feedback about Queen products, please visit our testimonials page.