Sensitive vs Sensitized Skin

Do you know the difference between sensitive vs sensitized skin? Generally speaking, a lot of people don’t know whether or not they have sensitive or sensitized skin.

We’re typically told that most skin-related problems, including redness, flakiness, or irritation occur because our skin is sensitive to certain ingredients. We’re then instructed to avoid the products that contain the ingredients.

In reality, however, you could be suffering from sensitized rather than sensitive skin, and the reaction could only be temporary. Even though the two have similar characteristics they are completely different, and it’s important to know the difference and get treated accordingly. Sensitized skin can act as an imposter to sensitive skin. It mimics sensitive skin reactions, and that’s why it is so difficult to tell the two apart.

Both of these conditions can cause itching, burning, swelling, rashes, uneven texture, etc. If you continue treating your skin improperly, the condition may not resolve or may even worsen. Around 50 percent of the world population believes that they have sensitive skin when in fact they are really experiencing sensitized skin. Let’s compare the two.  

SENSITIVE SKIN 

Sensitive skin is much more complex than sensitized skin. People who have sensitive skin are usually born with it and it continues to be passed down along the family tree. Rosacea or eczema are common genetic sensitive skin conditions. When your skin is sensitive, the outer layer of the skin, also known as the skin barrier, is particularly reactive to the particles that are in the air and the ingredients that are in certain products that you use.

According to Dermalogica.com “sensitive skin is considered more delicate because it has a lower amount of pigment, a thin epidermis, and blood vessels close to the skin surface, hence the appearance of redness.” 

Unfortunately, it can never truly be fixed, but there are ways to help manage the sensitivity and the overall appearance of your skin, including choosing products that are specifically tailored for sensitive skin.

SENSITIZED SKIN 

Unlike the sensitive, anyone can develop sensitized skin at any time. Sensitized flare-ups can result in peeling or cracking on the cheeks and forehead, blotchiness, and dry patches.

Usually, sensitized skin can be triggered by the internal and external factors of your lifestyle. Some key things to consider are:

  • What you eat
  • Whether or not you drink enough water
  • Over exposure to UV rays
  • Air quality
  • Over-processed skincare products (all the more reason to make the switch to clean beauty and skincare)
  • Stress and or inflammatory diseases.

The number one thing that you can do to reduce sensitized skin is to make lifestyle changes. Reducing stress, regular exercise, staying hydrated, and healthier food choices all have a positive impact on sensitized skin 

TREATMENTS

Sensitized Skin

For people who are dealing with sensitized skin, the key is to repair the damaged skin barrier. Avoid products that have fragrances, synthetic fillers, preservatives, and additives.

Also make sure the products that you are using are hydrating, rather than occlusive (block the pores) because many times sensitized skin is a result of dehydrated skin.

If you’re piling on heavy creams and emollients to hydrate the skin, it could have the opposite effect of blocking pores. Drinking more water, using clean products, and lifestyle changes will soon have your sensitized skin back on track. 

Sensitive Skin

If you have sensitive skin, you should follow the same guidelines as people with sensitized skin. Clean ingredients and lifestyle choices can help sensitive skin.

Also, avoiding products that trigger flare-ups is critical to sensitive skincare. Sensitive skin may require the assistance of a physician and medical treatment, so it’s important to know whether you have sensitive skin or if you are merely dealing with temporary sensitized skin. 

No matter if you’re treating sensitive vs sensitized skin, remember that less is better. 

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