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How to Tell the Difference Between Sensitive Skin and Sensitized Skin

How to Tell the Difference Between Sensitive Skin and Sensitized Skin
SkinStore Editors
Writer and expert6 years ago
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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.

Sensitive Skin

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.

Sensitized Skin

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.

Repair your skin's lipid barrier

Whatever skincare steps you take, you want to be sure to lock in moisture and hydration to minimize irritation and redness. Work on repairing your skin's naturally protective lipid barrier with a protective serum like SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Combination Antioxidant Treatment that offers a potent Vitamin C that envelopes the complexion in a protective layer of hydration while providing anti-aging benefits to the skin.

Use a Moisturizer Customized for Your Skin

Not all moisturizers are created equal. If you're one with sensitive or sensitized skin, you should be looking for more gentle ingredients to help you lock in moisture and soothe irritation. SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel combines Vitamin B5 and hyaluronic acid to restore essential nutrients to the skin and enhance the benefits of a daily moisturizer like SkinCeuticals A.G.E Interrupter that corrects damaged skin with blueberry extract, proxylane and phytosphingosine.

These tips, along with eating a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water and managing stress well can help restore hydration and comfort to your skin. Don't jump to conclusions the next time you have a redness flareup or irritation. It could be an easy fix! Find more sensitive skin treatments on SkinStore today.

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SkinStore Editors
Writer and expert
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Our team of beauty experts cover everything from skincare to makeup, picking out the most effective products from the best brands and latest trends. Stay up to date on everything beauty with the SkinStore blog, and find all your essentials in one place.