Sensitive or Sensitized...there's a difference!
The difference between having Sensitive skin versus Sensitized skin is that you are born with sensitive skin and you develop sensitized skin! The one thing that both types often share is a compromised barrier that leaves the skin vulnerable to visible damage such as pigmentation, dehydration, irritation and redness.
If you naturally have sensitive skin you've probably already noticed a number of things about your skin. You've probably noticed that when it comes to doing things to your skin, less is better. You've also likely experienced a reaction or two to products or even professional services. Your skin may redden or feel irritated easily as well. You may have to avoid sun exposure without protection at all times as a sunburn is very painful and it may take your skin a bit longer to recoup when your skin is sensitive. You may also avoid skin care because you think your skin is too sensitive and can't handle it. Just so you know...In the hands of the right skin care professional you can get help to not only identify triggers but also learn about products that will benefit and improve sensitive skin without discomfort or irritation.
If you have 'sensitized' skin it has happened over time as a result of repeated exposure to an irritating substance, product or any number of other skin sensitizers such as suntanning. The skin is our body's largest organ and like other organs in our body is vulnerable to cumulative damage. Sensitized skin is typically triggered when the skin is repeatedly exposed to a substance in the environment or a product that eventually irritates leading to a redness, breakout or a rash that may last for some time. Sensitized skin can develop pigmentation in areas where it is repeatedly irritated as the skin's protective response when it senses the skin is vulnerable is to send lots of melanin to an area it considers 'wounded' hence the development of an area with darkened skin patches.
Often both types of sensitive skin can be dry due to the poor barrier function not binding water or moisture very well to the skin. There are a number of things you can do to minimize the reactivity of sensitive skin. First, if irritation is fairly constant do an elimination skin care regimen. Use only the mildest purest cleanser and moisturizer and a sun protection product that contains physical sun protection ingredients only, no chemicals, to allow the skin time to heal. Sometimes just limiting what goes on the skin will resolve the issue. It will be important to carefully vet all the ingredients in any products used on the skin. If your sensitizing agent is airborne you may have a tough time isolating just what it is or avoiding it. Avoid scrubs of any kind on a compromised barrier and be diligent with sun protection.
As a skin care professional I've dealt with a variety of sensitive skin types with real results. It's important for you to share with any professional skin therapist you have services with exactly how your skin has reacted to products and/or environmental stresses in the past in order for them to properly evaluate the best course to take with your sensitive skin! You may want to see a professional to have your skin assessed and any products you are using on it checked for potential irritants. Here at SJB we use only an organic Holistic medical grade skin care line that has products safe for use on the most sensitive of skin which leaves us confident that we can help your sensitive skin be healthier, hydrated and less irritated!
You can schedule a consultation appointment using the Book Appointment tab if you have questions on how best to identify and handle your Sensitive or Sensitized skin and you'd like to speak with a skin care professional!
Cindy, owner, Spa Joli Belle