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Sensitive Skin vs Sensitized Skin: Do You Know the Difference?

5 min read

If you don’t know the difference between these two skin concerns, you are not alone. Often bucketed together and products marketed to tackle both, it’s no surprise there is confusion and dissatisfaction when said products don’t deliver the goods.

The journey to healthy, glowing, hydrated skin can be both challenging and rewarding, especially for those with sensitive skin. Testing out new products, embracing your unique skin type and texture, and finding a routine that works with your skin rather than against it all contribute to feeling confident and ready to take on the world.

For those with sensitive skin, a wrench is all too often thrown into those plans when a reaction to a new product has your skin reacting with red, dry, and itchy patches. Not exactly the glowing, smooth skin result you had in mind, right? While you may chalk this up to just having a sensitive skin type, it could be that your skin has become sensitized due to other factors.


Sensitive Skin vs. Sensitized Skin

According to the Dermatology Times, while differences in how people perceive skin sensitivity exist, most say they have sensory effects, such as itching, burning, stinging, tightness and dryness. These reactions often follow the integration of new products into one’s skincare routine and lead to one or all these symptoms making an appearance. Sensitive skin is skin that is genetically predisposed to be more susceptible to irritation, and no number of expensive facials or magical products will change the DNA of your skin.

Sensitized skin, however, refers to skin that has temporarily become more sensitive due to a variety of external factors. Sensitized skin refers to skin whose lipid barrier has been compromised. This is often due to stress, environmental factors, or overdoing it on the active ingredients in your skincare routine. Any of these factors can break down your skin barrier and compromise its ability to keep hydration in and external aggressors out.

While it’s hard to initially differentiate between sensitive and sensitized skin, taking some time to analyze your routines (both in product use and lifestyle) will enable you to get to the root of the issue and effectively adjust your approach to caring for your skin.


How to Treat Sensitive and Sensitized Skin

Though sensitive and sensitized skin has different origins, the treatment for each condition is pretty similar. When dealing with sensitive skin you will want to avoid harsh products such as aggressive soaps, body washers and strong exfoliants, and instead, fall back on simple and dependable products infused with ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile, colloidal oatmeal and rosehip oil that will care for your skin without overstimulating it.

Similarly, when dealing with sensitized skin and trying to heal and repair the skin barrier (AKA the body’s natural defense against external aggressors), look to nourish your skin and avoid harsh chemicals such as alcohol, strong scents, and chemical exfoliants that will further erode the barrier.

Starting off with a gentle cleanser, one that is free of alcohol or other irritants, is a great way to cleanse your skin without stripping it of the oils it naturally produces and needs to operate at full capacity.

After that, you will want to nurture your skin with serums, moisturizers and jellies that hydrate and repair the skin barrier, keeping an eye out for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and Ultra-Hydrating Lipids. These ingredients offer a boost of hydration to the skin, aiding in rebuilding the skin barrier and replenishing the outer layer of the skin.

Finally, finish off your routine with a gentle moisturizer that will restore missing nutrients and lock in that much-needed hydration. Similar to a gentle cleanser, a gentle moisturizer will be free of alcohol, essential oils, and other harsh ingredients. 

Sensitive Skin Products We Love

Sensitive skin needs gentle products carefully designed with formulas for delicate skin conditions. We highly recommend Vaseline® Intensive Care™ Sensitive Skin Relief a fragrance-free body lotion that has been formulated for very dry and sensitive skin. This unscented lotion offers efficient healing and moisture to a skin that feels rough and dry. The results are a healthy, hydrated skin, whether you are dealing with sensitive or sensitized skin at the moment.

A trusted and beloved product like Vaseline® Healing Jelly Original, will locks in moisture and provide much-needed relief for sensitive, itchy skin.



Expert Advice
The advice in this article does not constitute medical advice, it is solely available for information purposes.

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