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What's The Difference Between Sensitive and Sensitised?

This is a question that is asked a lot by my clients, and an important one too. While both sensitive and sensitised skin have the same symptoms, they do not have the same causes!

Signs of Sensitivity and Sensitisation

  • Thin and transluscent skin texture

  • Tightness around dehydrated areas

  • Redness is patches

  • Flaking or cracking of the skin

  • Blusing and itching sensations

  • Rash-like bumps

Sensitive Skin

This skin type is caused by a genetic predisposition- in other words, it is something that you're born with. The epidermal lipid barrier layer is naturally less adept to blocking irritants and microbes and more likely to have reactions such as redness and irritation. A dynfunctional lipid barrier can cause conditions such as

rosacea, dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema.

Sensitised Skin

This skin type originates from environmental and outside factors which trigger sensitivity. Pollution, stress, hormones, poor lifestyle choices, medical procedures and over-exfoliation can lead to sensitization. There are also cosmetic ingredients such as alcohol, lanolin, fragrance and D&C colorants that can exacerbate the problem.

When tackling either type of skin, it is important to have appropiate care- e.g. avoiding triggers, or applying extra protection on your skin. At times where your skin is sensitive/sensitised, it is important not to overload the skin with strong products, but to allow healing to happen gradually. certain skincare can be applied to aid the process. Essentially, this takes time.

Things to avoid

  • High sugar diets

  • Smoking

  • Alcohol

  • Known allergens and irritants in cosmetic products

  • Exfoliating procedures (laser, microdermabrasion, peels)

  • Exfoliation at home

  • Low pH products (look for pH Balaced products)

  • Exposing skin to extreme temperatures and climates


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