Whenever we experience that phase of red, itchy skin we’re tempted to chalk it up to be a sensitive skin type, but surprisingly, that cause is far less often to blame than you think. In many cases, the reason for dry, red or itchy skin is because your skin has become sensitized.
What’s the difference between sensitive and sensitized skin?
Almost literally, the difference between the two is nature versus nurture. Sensitive skin is more of a predisposition to irritation whereas sensitized skin is due to external factors.
The cause of sensitive skin is much deeper than any cream or moisturizer can reach. If you really do have sensitive skin, your root cause is genetic. Nothing you can say or do will change that fact. For you those of you with sensitive skin, your lovely DNA has created you with a predisposition for extra susceptability to skin irritation. Psoriasis, eczema and rosacea are all conditions that are physical manifestations of a genetic predisposition to skin sensitivity.
The biggest difference between the two types of skin is knowing that sensitized skin is not a skin type, it’s skin that’s been triggered by and conditioned to irritation by external and internal factors including but not limited to: smoke, physical stress, food, ingredients in your skincare and emotional stress. Essentially, what has happened is your skin’s protective lipid barrier has been damaged, which makes it difficult for your skin to defend itself against aggressors. The nice thing about this skin type, is it’s not actually a skin type, it’s just a condition. Because of that, your skin can be nourished back to its normal level of health!
How to treat sensitive and sensitized skin
Whether you have sensitive or sensitized skin, since both their symptoms are fairly similar, treating them is pretty simple.
Soothe skin with a gentle cleanser
While your skin is in such a vulnerable state, you’re not about to run after your favorite exfoliator. You need to focus on hydration, soothing irritated skin and repairing your skin’s lipid barrier. Use a gel or cream-based cleanser like Dermalogica UltraCalming Cleanser that can be used all over the face and doesn’t strip the skin of its essential nourishing oils.