Sensitive vs Sensitized Skin

Sensitive vs Sensitized Skin

Posted by Sarah Kinsler-Holloway on

Ever wonder why skin throws a tantrum sometimes? Redness, itchiness, and irritation – these are all signs that something's not quite right. But what exactly is the culprit? Is it simply sensitive skin, or has your skin become sensitized? Understanding the difference is very important as an esthetician.

Sensitive Skin

Imagine your skin as a bouncer at a nightclub. Sensitive skin is like a bouncer with strict boundaries. It's naturally more delicate and has a lower tolerance for external factors. Common triggers for sensitive skin include:

  • Fragrances: Perfumes and synthetic fragrances can irritate sensitive skin, causing redness and stinging.
  • Harsh Chemicals: Sulfates, alcohols, and other harsh ingredients can strip away natural oils, leaving your skin feeling dry and uncomfortable.
  • Environmental Factors: Sun exposure, cold weather, and pollution can all exacerbate sensitive skin.


Think of sensitized skin as the bouncer who's had a rough night. It's usually normal skin that has been temporarily weakened by external aggressors. These aggressors are similar to those that trigger sensitive skin, but they can also include:

Over-exfoliation: Scrubbing your skin too harshly or using chemical exfoliants too frequently can damage the skin barrier, leading to sensitization.

Harsh Skincare Products: Using products that are too strong or not suited to your skin type can disrupt the skin's natural balance and cause irritation.

Certain Medications: Some medications can have side effects that make the skin more sensitive.


How to Address These Conditions:

No matter if you have sensitive or sensitized skin, the good news is there are ways to soothe it and prevent flare-ups. Here are some tips:

Simplify The Routine: Stick to gentle, fragrance-free products formulated for sensitive skin. Look for ingredients like ceramides that hydrate and strengthen the skin barrier.

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize: A good moisturizer is essential for both sensitive and sensitized skin. It helps keep the skin barrier healthy and prevents irritation.

Sun Protection is Key: Sunscreen is non-negotiable, even for sensitive skin. Look for a mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

Listen to the Skin: Pay attention to how skin reacts to different products and environments. 


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