Sensitive Skin vs Sensitised Skin
They were describing their skin as burning, itching, tightness, dryness or stinging. Skin Experts have noticed over the last few years that the reported prevalence of self-perceived skin sensitivity has increased steadily over time. What is interesting is a fact that it affects women more than men. As we all know more often women’s skincare routine traditionally tends to be more complex and advanced. The growing market of skincare has given us access to strong acids, retinols and serums. A lot of us instead of talking to Skin Experts about what is the best for our skin, have become our own skin therapist. The only problem is… Well, sometimes we don’t really know what we’re doing.
Incorrect skin care quite often can develop a skin condition – sensitised skin. Sensitised skin compared to sensitive skin has a lot in common, but the origin is different. It’s up to us to identify the root causes so we can treat and transform skin back to optimal health. While 60-70% of the population class themselves as having sensitive skin, many are mistaken. People with sensitive skin, may actually be sensitised skin, and that we could be playing a bigger role in the reactivity of our skin than we realise. An irritating skin condition that arises as a result of external factors.
Knowing the difference between sensitive and sensitised skin is an important first step in understanding how to keep your skin healthy and beautiful.
What is Sensitive Skin?
Sensitive skin is deeply rooted in genetics and is often connected to non-related skin sensitivities like allergies, asthma, and blushing. Those with sensitive skin have usually experienced these symptoms all of their life. These issues can even be related to hormones, such as a stress rash on the face. Sensitive skin types also tend to have less pigment in their skin. This lack of pigment means that sensitive skin has less of a protective barrier, making it more easily affected by environmental factors. Blood vessels are often closer to the surface and are easily stimulated by outside irritants. Unfortunately, as sensitive skin is genetic little can be done to cure it, but its symptoms can be calmed and managed with a specialised skincare regime.
Signs of sensitive skin
- Flaking, peeling or cracking on the cheeks and forehead. This indicates dehydrated skin and impaired barrier function.
- Flushing and itching, or burning sensations, which can also be a sign of over-reactive capillaries.
- Small, rash-like bumps or breakouts (not to be confused with acne breakouts).
- Thin skin texture with a translucent appearance.
- A feeling of tightness, which can indicate dehydration and lead to skin reactions from products.
- Redness or blotchiness. This signals over-reactive capillaries or a tendency toward rosacea.
What is Sensitised Skin?
Sensitised skin is usually caused by environmental or lifestyle choices. Factors such as pollution, stress, medication, hormones, diet, climate changes, skincare products and smoking can all contribute to an impaired skin barrier, allowing external aggressors to cause redness or irritation. Much like sensitive skin, sensitised skin tends to look blotchy with visible dryness and irritation. This similarity in appearance is what makes it so difficult to distinguish between the two. However, sensitised skin is not a skin type. Sensitised skin is a skin condition.
Sensitised skin can be treated and resolved while sensitive skin is something you’re born with. Sensitised skin is the result of overstimulation and can be a temporary skin problem. Ingredients like acids and retinol can work magic at removing dead skin, increasing cell turnover and improving the look and texture of our skin but like most things, it’s about moderation. It’s worth building up your tolerance to punchy ingredients slowly and sensibly, pausing to see if your skin agrees with it.
Factors that are causing sensitised skin
- stress, diet, smoking, dehydration, alcohol, wrong skin care routine and cosmetic ingredients
- pollution, airborne allergens, weather, and temperature changes
- physical effects of stress or hormonal fluctuations
- rosacea, eczema, psoriasis
Is Your Skin Sensitive or Sensitised?
With your better understanding of the differences between sensitive and sensitised skin, it’s time to determine if you classified your skin correctly.
Does sensitive skin run in your family? Do you also experience non-related skin allergies? If so, then the chances are that you have sensitive skin, which requires a personalised skincare routine.
However, if you have noticed that skin is newly sensitised, then it might be due to the wrong skin care routine, too many skincare products, environmental irritants or an allergic reaction to an ingredient.
It’s essential to identify what product/irritant is causing irritation to your skin type and find a gentle alternative. Remember, our skin changes over time and you might need to switch your skincare routine seasonally to create a method that works for you!
If you aren’t exactly sure which skin type you have, book a skin consultation with our Skin Expert that has years of experience working with all skin types. During your consultation, you will find out what is your skin type, what kind of skincare products are the best for you and how to bring back the natural balance to your skin.