Sensitive skin vs sensitised skin

One of the most common and equally most frustrating skin issues many people face is redness and irritation, which may be more common for those with sensitive skin, but they can affect anyone. Many people tend to narrow these skin issues down to sensitive skin, but sensitive skin isn't as common as you may think. Sensitive and sensitized skin, dermatologists say, are often confused. Not because they are the same thing but because they manifest in such similar ways. And while you may find it’s sometimes easier to chalk up skin irritation to simply having “sensitive skin”, it’s important to truly know if you’re dealing with a skin type (sensitive) or a skin condition (sensitized).
But is there a difference between sensitive skin and sensitised skin? And if so, how can you treat them both? In this blog post, we will dive into the difference between both, potential solutions, and much more!




Despite their differences, both forms of sensitivity tend to show up on skin in similar ways. If you have sensitive or sensitized skin, you may notice:

  • Dryness
  • Itchiness, flakiness, or peeling
  • Discolouration
  • Redness
  • Stinging, burning, or tingling
  • Tightness
  • Easily irritated
  • Pimple-like bumps


Sensitive skin


What is Sensitive Skin?

The cause of sensitive skin is much deeper than any cream or moisturizer can reach. If you do have sensitive skin, your root cause is genetic. Sensitive skin is therefore much more easily inflamed and much more susceptible to reactions. The skin is dealing with chronic irritation from the inside and is presenting a heightened awareness of the skin’s state. Those with sensitive skin will notice that they are prone to spots, redness, rosacea and itchy skin.

Potential solutions to Sensitive Skin

Although Sensitive skin cannot be cured, you can take various steps to soothe the irritation and reduce symptoms. Some examples include:

  1. Avoid harsh fragrances, detergents, or other chemicals and use fragrance-free, hypoallergenic products.
  2. Try anti-inflammatory and anti-irritation ingredients such as oat extract, green tea extract, aloe vera extract, etc.
  3. Visit an allergist to get pat-tested for allergies to help find a culprit to the irritation.
  4. Cut out exfoliation or anything abrasive and avoid anything with acid, including retinols.
  5. Increase your water intake.

Sensitised skin

What is Sensitised skin?

Sensitised skin is something caused by our lifestyle choices. Unlike sensitive skin, it is not genetic and can be fixed! Some examples of lifestyle choices that cause sensitisation are the overuse of exfoliating products, the use of very harsh products, or not wearing SPF. If your skin is sensitised, it may look thin, feel tight after cleansing and may be red, scaly or bumpy.

Potential solutions to Sensitised Skin

As opposed to sensitive skin, sensitised skin can easily be treated and cured, it just takes some time. Some ways to treat sensitised skin include:

  1. Look for products that have repairing and hydrating benefits like ceramides and hyaluronic acid.
  2. Identify why your skin may have become sensitised (overuse of acids or harsh products, over-exfoliation, allergies, etc.)
  3. Do not wash your face with hot water.
  4. Learn about the ingredients used to formulate your skincare products.
  5. Try simplifying your skincare routine. The more products you use, the greater number of ingredients there are, and the bigger the chance that something will cause a reaction.


Dermalogica’s new UltraCalming™ line is the first to deliver simultaneous relief from all sensitive and sensitized triggers. It soothes dehydration and discomfort, so you can stop hiding behind skin sensitivity. Every UltraCalming™ product is further formulated without lanolin, SD alcohol, mineral oil, artificial fragrances or colours, which can make sensitive or sensitised skin worse. It is the perfect skincare line for anyone with sensitive skin!

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