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Skin Sensitivity

Sensitive or Sensitized Skin? | Explained by the Experts

Shiri Feldman

April 04, 2023

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Skin sensitivity is a common condition that roughly impacts 50% of people globally! But what if we told you that your skin might not actually be sensitive but sensitized? The terms – sensitive and sensitized skin are often used interchangeably, but are in fact, quite different. Stick around for a breakdown of what it means to have sensitive versus sensitized skin, and how to properly care for each skin condition. 

What is Sensitive Skin? 

Often genetic in nature, sensitive skin is characterized by a weakened skin barrier and a tendency to react easily to external stimuli. Those with sensitive skin are at a higher risk of experiencing burning, itching, and stinging sensations when exposed to certain ingredients or environmental factors. 

Common triggers for sensitive skin include harsh chemicals, fragrances, and extreme temperatures. Additional factors contributing to skin sensitivity include UV exposure, air pollution, diet, alcohol consumption, stress, sleep, the menstrual cycle, and stress levels. Although it’s a chronic condition that can’t be cured, sensitive skin can be managed with gentle products and simple lifestyle changes. 

What is Sensitized Skin? 

Sensitized skin, on the other hand, is a temporary skin condition that can result from a variety of factors. Not necessarily genetic, sensitized skin can affect anyone, regardless of skin type. Occurring when the skin barrier’s natural function is compromised, this condition can increase the skin’s vulnerability to irritants and allergens. 

Common causes of sensitized skin include over-exfoliation, applying too many active ingredients, using overly harsh topicals for your skin type, diet, and exposure to certain environmental factors like pollution and UV rays. Sensitized skin may appear red and irritated with itching and burning sensations a possibility. While the symptoms of sensitized skin are quite similar to sensitive skin, the cause is usually external and temporary. 

How to Care for Sensitive Skin 

If you have sensitive skin, opt for gentle and hypoallergenic topicals that won’t lead to a skin reaction. Avoid harsh ingredients, such as alcohol, sulfates, and synthetic fragrances. Look at product labels and avoid harsh scrubs at all costs – these can damage the skin’s delicate skin barrier. Always perform a patch test before applying a product to the entire face. 

How to Care for Sensitized Skin 

If you have sensitized skin, it’s crucial to identify and avoid any triggers that are causing reactions. This may include using gentler topicals, avoiding harsh environmental factors, and reducing one’s stress levels. Additionally, using skincare products formulated with ingredients such as antioxidants, niacinamide, and y-oryzanol can help repair and strengthen your skin barrier, reducing the risk of further sensitivity. We recommend applying a soothing serum and moisturizer daily to help reduce inflammation and redness. 

Understanding the difference between sensitive and sensitized skin is imperative to achieve a healthy, radiant complexion. With sensitive skin, we need to place focus on preventing reactions and maintaining the skin’s natural balance, whereas, with sensitized skin, care is placed on reducing inflammation and repairing the skin. Overall, both sensitive and sensitized skin requires gentle, mild, and nourishing skincare products. 

Understanding Root Cause

If you’re looking to get to the root of your skin sensitivity, take our free online skin assessment! You’ll receive a detailed report with the parameters affecting your skin and get matched with a personalized selection of ingredients determined by our team of skin experts. 

For any additional questions, our Revea skin concierge team is here to help! 

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