Sensitive Skin vs. Sensitized Skin: What's the Difference

sensitive and sensitize skin

Do you know the difference between sensitive and sensitized skin? These two terms are often interchanged and can be confusing especially since we were used to only hearing the word sensitive skin. How do you know which one you have? Check out below! 



What is Sensitive Skin? 


Sensitive skin is a skin type that you are born with and is caused by genetic predisposition. Meaning, that people with sensitive skin are more susceptible to irritation and damaged skin barriers. Sensitive skin is more fragile and more prone to react to cosmetics and external stimuli than normal skin. Commonly, people with sensitive skin can trigger different skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea, or contact dermatitis. Although you cannot change your skin type, you can change your lifestyle, eating habits, and manage proper skin treatment. 


What is Sensitized Skin? 


Sensitized skin on the other hand is not a skin type but a skin condition that results from external stressors and poor lifestyle choices. This happens when your skin barrier is damaged and weak due to internal and external factors such as stress, smoke, dirt, food, weather, or skincare ingredients.  


The common signs of sensitized skin are redness, itching, burning sensations, swelling, breakouts, or patchy skin. The good news is sensitized skin can be reversed but may take time and consistent effort. Since this is not a skin type, you can nurse back your skin to normal health by eliminating what stressor is triggering it.  


How to Protect Sensitive and Sensitized Skin 


Whether your DNA gave you sensitive skin or you acquired skin sensitivity through external and internal triggers, protecting and healing your skin barrier is a step to keep your skin healthy. Here’s how: 


Use Gentle Products 

 woman checking skincare ingredients

Some ingredients are perfect for certain types of skin while others can cause further irritation. If you have sensitive or sensitized skin, the things you need to watch out for are strong ingredients and wrong mixing wrong products together. Your skin is in a vulnerable state and should be treated with gentle products that would not cause more harm than good. Even soaps or laundry detergent can cause irritation for some. Check the labels and look for moisturizing and hydrating ingredients. 


Repair Skin’s Barrier 


The one thing that sensitive and sensitized skin have in common is a weak and damaged skin barrier. You want to make sure that you are protected from the sun by adding SPF (Sun Protection Factors) to your skincare routine and focus on moisturizing your skin to minimize irritation and seal in hydration. Moisturizers with ceramides can help protect and lock in skin moisture. In another note, you should avoid over exfoliating because this can likely cause more peeling and dehydrated skin.  


Hydrate and Moisturize 


Drinking plenty of water can help your skin hydrate and flush out toxins. Try to avoid extremely hot showers since this may cause dryness and strip natural oils off your skin. Make sure to moisturize especially during dry and freezing weather.  




Sensitive skin is something that you are born with. It is a skin type that is caused by a genetic predisposition or your DNA. Sensitized skin, on the other hand, is a condition that you acquire from different internal and external stressors that weaken your skin barrier. Both can be managed by changing your lifestyle, eating habits, and treating your skin barrier.