Sensitive vs Sensitised Skin: Know The Difference 

By Carol M.
October 27, 2021

A lot of people believe that they have sensitive skin when in fact, the problem is their skin is sensitized.

It’s easy to get confused because the symptoms look similar, like redness and irritation.

In simple terms, sensitive skin is due to your genes, whereas sensitized skin is caused by exposure to potential irritants.

It's important to know the difference because it can affect your daily routine and how you choose products to care for your skin. 

The difference between sensitive and sensitized skin

Sensitive skin is neither a medical condition nor a skin type. Some people are genetically predisposed to react adversely to cosmetic products, sunlight, or other environmental factors.

It’s probably not surprising to learn that people with sensitive skin are more likely to also have underlying skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis.

Sensitized skin, on the other hand, is an acquired condition as a result of exposure to external irritants. Triggers can include fragrances or colorants in skincare, harsh exfoliants, dyes and even environmental factors like extreme heat or cold.

Oftentimes, we don’t realise that we’re overdoing it on our skincare routine or exposing ourselves to irritating environments until our skin has paid the price. Identifying and eliminating the triggers can significantly improve the condition of sensitized skin.

In both cases, sensitive and sensitized skin are extremely fragile. They are more prone to damage and weakening of the skin barrier that leads to inflammation, rashes and dryness. 

Tips to repair sensitive and sensitized skin 

Notice your skin starting to get irritated these days? It’s time to play detective and look into your lifestyle.

Start with your skincare routine and simplify it. Stop using potentially irritating ingredients like acids, essential oil, fragrances or benzoyl peroxide and see how your skin reacts.

As for what products are best for sensitive and sensitized skin? That really depends on the individual as everyone reacts differently to ingredients, even the ‘gentle’ ones.

Less is more when it comes to your skin, whether you have sensitive or sensitized skin.

If you suspect your diet, eliminate processed foods and load up on antioxidant-rich foods like fresh fruit and vegetables.

Consult a doctor if you’re still unsure. They can also provide advice for long-term care to manage sensitive skin