The simple version
Sensitive skin is very common. It is easily irritated skin with apparent redness.
What it is: It is two things:
Sensitive skin is easily irritated, red and reactive.
Sensitized skin has itching, burning, and textural issues.
Sensitive Skin is a common skin complaint among some patients as they complain of easily irritated skin, redness in the skin, etc. While some people do have truly defined sensitive skin, others simply have sensitized skin unbeknownst to them.
What is the difference between sensitive skin vs sensitized skin?
Sensitive skin is inherited and predominant in Caucasian skin of northern European descent. For the most part one with sensitive skin usually has a fairer skin tone, and their skin is more reactive due to the body having higher levels of histamine which also causes these patients to suffer from allergies, eczema, hayfever, etc. All of these symptoms have one characteristic in common; inflammation.
Sensitized skin can occur in any ethnicity and is caused by outside factors both environmental and lifestyle. These factors can be but are not limited to:
– Climate extremes
– Excessive exfoliation leading to compromised skin
– Alcohol and caffeine consumption which dehydrates the tissues and in some can dilate capillaries, resulting in flushing and redness.
– Inadequate UV protection
– Stress and sleep deprivation
What does Sensitized skin look and feel like?
– Blushing and itching
– Erythema on cheeks, neck and decolette
– Stinging upon product application
– Dehydration on the cheek and forehead area
Treating sensitized and/or sensitive skin requires an at home regime as well as professional regime of ingredients to halt inflammation and restore damaged tissue.
Cleansing with a cream based cleanser or one that includes ingredients such as Raspberry which is a rich source of phytochemicals including ellagic acid that acts as an antioxidant. Vitamin B5 is also a useful ingredient that helps in strengthening the skin’s barrier and regenerates tissue. Arnica is well known for calming inflammation and can be found in topical creams. When it comes to moisturizers, often a rich medium to heavy product is ideal to form a substantial layer of lipid barrier protection and humectant hydration.
Many patients are weary when it comes to treating sensitized or sensitive skin professionally but there are quite a few options in office including a Skinceuticals Lactic Peel. Lactic acid is derived from sour milk. It’s an alpha hydroxy acid like glycolic acid, but is much gentler and helps the skin maintain its ideal PH factor. Lactic acid peels help to remove germs, dead cells and toxins from the skin. People who have them done often report that their skin feels much smoother and looks more toned than before. Lactic acid peels are best for people who have very sensitive skin that might not be able to tolerate the slightly more intense glycolic acid peels. Although lactic acid peels are gentler, they usually provide many of the same benefits as the other peels, but in a less intense version.