At some point in your life, chances are that your skin will fall into the “sensitive” category. Sensitive skin looks and feels different for everyone, but common symptoms include itching, redness and adverse reactions to more potent products. But these are also symptoms of sensitised skin.
So what’s the difference between sensitive skin and sensitised skin?
Dr Lam Bee Lan, founder and director of Ageless Medical, says, “Sensitive skin is a genetic trait, while sensitised skin is a reaction triggered by certain environmental or lifestyle factors and usually occurs over time. Sensitised skin is caused due to damaged barrier function of the skin that results in irritation.”
So while sensitive skin is a skin type, sensitised skin is a skin condition that can be brought on by alcohol consumption, dehydration and diet (aka having too much fun), and irritants like extremely hot or cold weather, pollen and pollution (hello, haze!), chemicals, certain skincare products and even stress (aka not having enough fun).
But here’s the good news: “Since sensitisation of the skin is a response to an external factor, it is possible that sensitisation may be fully reversed/controlled.”
What can you do to help soothe sensitised skin?
Sensitised skin usually feels dry, itchy, sore and tight, looks red, and has rough patches and uneven texture. It can also feel irritated, and sting when you apply certain skincare products. To minimise inflammation and soothe skin, Dr Lam suggests avoiding the use of hot water, harsh cleansers and exfoliators. Instead, opt for gentle products that have aloe vera, ceramides, evening primrose, vitamin E or shea butter that will block irritants and pollutants from further aggravating the skin. Centella asiatica is another ingredient that will help calm stressed and irritated skin.
But don’t forget that diet, getting enough sleep and drinking lots of water also play a big part in treating sensitised skin. Also, use a sunscreen that has complete broad-spectrum protection such as the Ageless DNA Repair Sunblock, which prevents skin damage triggered by blue light, pollution, heat (infrared), UVA and UVB rays. It also protects and repairs DNA damage, slowing down premature skin ageing and development of hyper-pigmentation.
Scroll through to see our round-up of soothing, calming and restorative skincare products for sensitised skin.