Is Your Skin Sensitive or Sensitized? Here’s How To Know and How To Deal


One of the things I love about my job as an esthetician is that I get to learn about skin. A lot. As much as I think I know, I still don’t know everything, and I know there is always more to learn.

I’m always surprised by the number of people who come in with skin conditions who have never been to a professional for help. Or, even if they have been to someone before, are trying to handle breakouts or dryness with over-the-counter products because they don’t really understand their skin and what it needs.

The biggest thing I am learning right now is how many people have sensitive skin. The thing is — this has almost become a trendy topic lately. Everyone seems to be talking about how sensitive their skin is and some people will even throw around the term “sensitized” without really knowing what that means or if their skin actually matches the term.

So here are some facts you should know: Sensitive skin and sensitized skin are two different things: sensitive skin refers to the way your skin reacts when it comes in contact with an ingredient or product; sensitized skin refers to your emotional response to what your skin looks like when it’s

As a kid, I had very sensitive skin. It was problematic for me because my mom loved to use her skin care products on me and try the latest beauty products on me. Some of these products would make my skin even more sensitive and then she would blame it entirely on my genes.

I beg to disagree.

Firstly, I don’t think she had sensitive skin at all. And secondly, even if she did, I believe my skin became sensitized due to certain ingredients in the products we used.

Get ready for a little science lesson:

Just like you have people who are allergic to shellfish or other foods, you can have people who are allergic to certain ingredients in beauty products.

Many cosmetic ingredients will cause immediate reactions like redness, itching and swelling but those are often not allergic reactions. Those are irritant reactions that happen when the product is too harsh for your skin.

What’s the difference? An irritating reaction is temporary while an allergic reaction can last a lifetime and become worse with each exposure to the culprit ingredient.

One year ago, I wrote an article about how you can tell if you have sensitive or sensitized skin (the article explains the difference between these two conditions). The post was so popular that I

If you’ve ever experienced a breakout, rash or an allergic reaction after using a new product, you might have sensitive skin. But, how can you tell if your skin is truly sensitive or just “sensitized”?

You might have sensitive skin if…

Sensitive skin can be caused by a number of things, but there are some common signs to look for. Your skin may feel:

Itchy

Dry

Thin or fragile

Easily irritated

Red, flushed and/or blotchy

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s time to consult a dermatologist who can help determine the severity and cause of your skin condition.

If you have sensitive skin, or if you’ve been told you do, you’re not alone. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, approximately 45 million Americans have sensitive skin. It’s a common complaint that is often met with vague advice such as: “Avoid irritating products.” But what exactly are irritating products? And more importantly, how can someone with sensitive skin find products that won’t cause flare-ups?

The key to identifying the right skincare products for sensitive skin is understanding that there is a difference between skin sensitivity and sensitized skin. Skin sensitivity usually refers to an innate predisposition toward reacting negatively to certain skincare ingredients and/or environmental factors. On the other hand, sensitized skin is a condition caused by something external that disrupts the barrier function of your skin and makes it more likely to react negatively to skincare products and environmental factors.

Let’s break down each of these conditions so you can better understand your own skin type and needs.

Dealing with sensitive skin can be tricky. If you have sensitive skin, you are likely to experience irritation, redness, and inflammation easily when using certain products or even just from the environment. Sensitive skin is commonly confused with sensitized skin. Sensitized skin is a skin that has become compromised from overuse of harsh products and ingredients. Sensitized skin becomes more reactive and requires gentler treatment.

Here are some signs of sensitized skin:

– Skin feels tight and dry

– Redness, flushing and itching

– Skin is warm to the touch

– Thickened or rough texture

We live in a world where we are constantly surrounded by pollution and toxins that cause lingering damage to our skin every day. If you use harsh cleansers or overuse acids or vitamin C serums, this could cause your skin barrier to become damaged and sensitized. In order to bring back balance to your skin, it’s important to find skincare products with gentle formulas that will not irritate the compromised barrier of your sensitized skin.

For the past few years, I’ve been hearing more and more people talk about “sensitive skin.” But, what does it mean? Is it even a real thing? And if so, how do you deal with it?

I Dr. Leslie Baumann, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist in Miami, Florida and New York City, to help us all make sense of this buzzy term. If you can’t see her live today at her NYC office for her Truth in Beauty series, you can watch the Facebook Live video below.

What is sensitive skin?

I am a human, and a skin therapist. I have worked in this industry for almost 10 years now. I have seen it all, from clients with the most sensitive of skins to those with the most resilient. I have also seen this industry grow tremendously, and I have noticed (in my humble opinion) that we are still lacking information on how to treat those with sensitive skin correctly.

I am writing this blog because I feel that there is an underlying issue within the skin care industry: many of us are not understanding sensitivity correctly. Yes, it is true when we say that acne is an inflammatory condition, but that is not always the case.

Acne can fall into two categories, inflammatory and non-inflammatory. When you see redness and papules or pustules on your face, those are called inflammatory lesions (or nodular acne). These types of lesions usually happen because your pores become clogged with dirt and bacteria, which then causes inflammation in your pore. They are usually painful and can grow very large if left untreated (1).

Non-inflammatory lesions are more commonly known as blackheads or whiteheads. These types of blemishes occur when your pores become clogged with dirt, oil, and dead skin cells (1). Since


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