Sensitive skin or sensitized skin? What's the difference?

Posted by YUNASENCE on 12th Jun 2024

Sensitive skin or sensitized skin? What's the difference?

Sensitive skin and sensitized skin are terms often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to different conditions. 

Here’s a breakdown of the differences:

Sensitive Skin:

  • Innate Condition: Sensitive skin is a natural, often genetic condition that some people are born with.
  • Characteristics: It’s characterized by a predisposition to reactions such as redness, itching, burning, and dryness. People with sensitive skin often have a thinner skin barrier.
  • Triggers: Sensitive skin reacts to external factors like weather changes, stress, and specific ingredients in skincare products.
  • Long-term Condition: This is a long-term condition that tends to persist throughout a person's life.

Sensitized Skin:

  • Acquired Condition: Sensitized skin, on the other hand, is a condition that develops over time due to various factors.
  • Characteristics: It’s caused by damage or disruption to the skin barrier, leading to increased reactivity and sensitivity.
  • Triggers: Common causes include overuse of harsh skincare products, environmental pollutants, excessive exfoliation, and exposure to irritants or allergens.
  • Temporary Condition: Unlike sensitive skin, sensitized skin is usually temporary and can be treated by addressing and removing the underlying causes.

Sensitive skin is an inherent trait, while sensitized skin is an acquired condition often resulting from external factors and can be managed with proper care and adjustments in skincare routines.

Calming sensitized skin requires a gentle, soothing approach to reduce inflammation and restore the skin's barrier. Here are some tips to help soothe and heal sensitized skin:

  1. Simplify Your Skincare Routine:

  2. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate:
    • Look for moisturizers with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and ceramides to help repair the skin barrier and retain moisture.

  3. Cool It Down:
    • Use cool compresses or splash your face with cool water to reduce redness and inflammation.

  4. Avoid Hot Water:
    • Wash your face with lukewarm water instead of hot, as hot water can further irritate and dry out your skin.

  5. Use Soothing Ingredients:
    • Opt for products containing ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile, green tea extract, and calendula, which can help soothe and calm the skin.

  6. Sun Protection:
    • Always wear sunscreen with a high SPF to protect your skin from UV damage. Look for mineral-based sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

  7. Avoid Exfoliation:
    • Skip physical and chemical exfoliants until your skin has calmed down, as they can further irritate sensitized skin. If you still want to exfoliate your skin a little, use wet wash cloth on its own.

  8. Watch Your Diet:
    • Stay hydrated and eat a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods like fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids. Avoid alcohol and spicy foods, which can trigger inflammation.

  9. Be Gentle:
    • Pat your skin dry with a soft towel instead of rubbing. Use your fingers to apply products gently, avoiding any rough handling.

  10. Consult a Dermatologist:
  • If your skin doesn't improve or you’re unsure what’s causing the sensitivity, it's a good idea to see a dermatologist for personalized advice and treatment.

Taking these steps can help calm and heal your sensitized skin, restoring its natural balance and comfort.