The Difference Between Sensitive And Sensitised Skin

There are two things we know for sure.

  1. You’ve already broken all of your New Year’s Resolutions.
  2. There are a whole lot of cuteheads who think their skin is sensitive when it’s actually just sensitised.

We can’t do anything about those resolutions, but we can help you figure out if your skin is sensitive, sensitised, or just a little annoyed about that joke you made last night.

Sensitive Skin

What It Is:
Sensitive skin is a skin type. It’s commonly genetic, and those who have sensitive skin are typically prone to inflammatory or allergic reactions (like rosacea). If your skin has been easily irritated or reactive for as long as you can remember, you’re most likely dealing with sensitive skin.

How To Look After It:
- Steer clear of known skin irritants and stick to things that will gently nourish and replenish and protect your skin.
- Consider using a physical (ideally zinc-based) SPF. The calming and soothing benefits of zinc oxide are known to make these very sensitive-skin friendly.
- Always always patch test by sampling a small amount of product on a non-visible part of your skin and wait at least a day to check for any skin reactions.
- And remember! Sensitive skin can present different for everyone so if you suspect you’re dealing with sensitive skin, it’s always good to consult a trusted skin specialist for expert advice.

Sensitised Skin

What It Is: 
Sensitised skin, on the other - just as irritated - hand, is a skin condition. (And an enormously common one at that.) It’s the result of external factors, most commonly, environmental stressors like pollution or sun exposure or incorrect use of hardcore active skin care. 

How To Look After It:
- First things first, you need to (temporarily) put all the actives in your skin care routine on the bench. It’s pretty likely that you’ve compromised your skin’s barrier so what it needs now is TLC.
- Go back to the essentials: A gentle cleanser, a face oil or face cream to replenish, and a whole lot of SPF
- Be patient. Your barrier is going to need time to heal. And once it has, don’t make the same mistakes you did before. Don’t overdo it with exfoliants (two-three times a week is plenty), go slow with heavy-hitters (looking at you, retinol), and if you’re ever in doubt, ask a skin expert or dermatologist to help guide you on an effective but not too harsh routine.

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