FREE Standard shipping when you spend over USD$49. FREE Express shipping when you spend over USD$99. No code required.

Shopping Cart

Your cart is empty

Continue Shopping

Sensitive Skin vs. Sensitized Skin: What is the difference?

While scrolling through your social media, a viral product with excellent reviews from skin influencers caught your attention. It is an exfoliating product that seems to nail all your skin issues, you’re enticed. You decided to purchase the product and two days later, you’re excited to be on your skincare journey towards glowing, radiant skin as advertised. The only problem? Instead of waking up to glowing skin as promised, you ended up with angry, blotchy skin that made you look like a cooked lobster in a boiling pot of hot water. Does this sound familiar to you?


In a world where we are often bombarded with the latest skincare trends and products on social media, and companies that are constantly trying to outdo each other to extend the maximum limits of high active ingredients in their formulations, it is no wonder that a scenario like the above is becoming far too common.


Nearly everyone has experienced some form of irritation to their skin. Most often than not, skincare enthusiasts often associate a situation like the above as having sensitive skin. However, in reality, it could very well be a situation of sensitized skin. While both sensitive skin and sensitized skin do have some similar characteristics, there are some notable differences between the two. Understanding the difference between both sensitive skin vs. sensitized skin will help you decide if an intervention from a dermatologist is warranted to improve your skin condition.


What is Sensitive Skin?

Sensitive skin is often referred to as a skin type that is characterized by skin that is easily irritated and reactive. It is often presented with symptoms such as redness, flaky, dryness, itchy, burning and at times breakouts. A great analogy to describe sensitive skin is the fire alarm going off when you are putting in your toast, an exaggerated response to something that generally should not trigger a reaction. Sensitive skin can be caused by hormones, state of inflammation, medical conditions, environmental such as heat, light, stress, laundry detergent) and skincare products. The causes are mainly rooted in genetics and are commonly seen in those with sensitivities that are not skin related, such as asthma, allergies and blushing. Sensitive skin often starts from childhood and those with sensitive skin usually experience sensitive skin symptoms throughout their lives.


Two of the most common chronic reactive skin conditions that are stemmed from genetics and most commonly seen in the population are Rosacea and Eczema.


 [230131]BLOG-Sensitive vs Sensitized Skin - Rosacea



Rosacea is a skin condition where inflammation occurs around the blood vessels. It is commonly seen amongst the population between the ages of 30 and 50. Rosacea also tends to occur amongst females of Caucasian descent. The inflammation seen in rosacea can be caused by excess blood vessels or reactive blood vessels. Excess blood vessels are often presented with redness and flushing, while inflamed blood vessels are presented as lumps and bumps from broken capillaries. Symptoms of rosacea can be triggered by factors such as stress, food, sun and genetics. Therefore, It is important to consult a dermatologist to find out the root cause of the reactive skin condition to get the best treatment for your skin.


 [230131]BLOG-Sensitive vs Sensitized Skin - Eczema



Eczema is a chronic and long-lasting state of inflammation of the skin characterized by symptoms such as dryness, flaky and itchy skin. It is often seen on areas of the face, neck, elbow and behind the knees. While eczema typically begins during childhood, it can continue to affect anyone of any age. According to the National Eczema Association, eczema affects more than 31.6 million Americans, which is slightly over 10% of the population.


If you are someone who generally does not have symptoms of sensitive skin and suddenly experienced sensitivity after using a new product, it is likely that your skin is sensitized. 


What is Sensitized Skin?

Much like sensitive skin, the symptoms of sensitized skin can present with symptoms of blotchy skin with significant irritation and redness. However, unlike sensitive skin, sensitized skin is a skin condition that is triggered by an external or internal factor such as diet, skincare products or medications. It is a condition where the skin barrier is temporarily impaired and not a condition that you are born with. The symptoms of sensitized skin can be eliminated once the stimulants have been removed. Sensitized skin is generally a temporary condition in comparison to sensitive skin. 


Now that you have a better understanding of both sensitive skin vs. sensitized skin, let’s move on to talk about how to determine if your skin is sensitive or sensitized?


How to treat Sensitized Skin?

The leading cause of Sensitized Skin is related to skincare regimen where harsh products strip the natural oil that protects the layer of the skin, or highly concentrated active ingredients break the skin barrier, causing irritants and bacteria to invade into the skin layer.


Therefore, the most important thing to treat Sensitized Skin is to remove the irritant immediately and avoid using ingredients that can further irritate the skin. A simple tip is to return to the basics of a skincare routine where you cleanse, moisturize and protect the skin. A gentle cleanser such as the Scinic Avocado Foam Cleanser that is fragrance-free and contains moisturizing ingredients like avocado extract that can help prevent stripping the skin of its natural oil. A moisturizer such as the Vegreen 730 Daily Moisture Cream is a minimalist moisturizer with less than 12 ingredients in its formulation to help restore the skin barrier. Finally, an SPF sun protection such as the Hamel Vegan Relief Water Essence Sun Cream that has soothing ingredients and is fragrance-free to help protect the skin against UV radiation from the sun.


How to treat Sensitive Skin?

Sensitive Skin is one of the hardest skin conditions to treat and requires the help of professional personnel such as a dermatologist to help you tailor a skincare regimen that is suitable for your skin. In some cases, prescription medication is warranted to treat sensitive skin. However, in both cases of sensitive skin and sensitized skin, it is of utmost importance to avoid irritants, followed by restoring and maintaining a strong skin barrier.



Lev-Tov, H., Maibach, H. The Sensitive Skin Syndrome. Indian J. Dermatol. 2012. Nov-Dec; 57(6): 419-423. doi: 10.4103/0019-5154.103059

Comments (0)

Leave a comment