A lot of people will diagnose themselves with sensitive skin, but in fact, only few of those people are truly sensitive. The main difference between Sensitive skin and Sensitized skin lies within our genetics and the environment.

Sensitive Skin. What is it? A person with truly sensitive skin type is genetically predisposed to having a thinner, more delicate protective layer on their skin. This is called the Epidermal Lipid Barrier. This flawed layer lacks the natural skin oils, or lipids, in the skin and allows irritants into the skin, causing adverse reactions like flare-ups, redness, itching and rashes. This can be a cause of many skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. Also, people who are truly sensitive typically are prone to blushing, asthma and allergies.

Sensitized Skin. What is it? A lot more of the population deal with this type of skin ailment. Although it may present itself as sensitive skin, as the reactions may be the same, it is a skin condition more than a skin type. Sensitized skin is caused by our environment and lifestyle. Things like UV exposure, pollutants, smoke, certain cosmetics or preservatives, or even over-exfoliated skin can be external aggressors to trigger sensitized skin, and can damage the Epidermal Lipid Barrier. Any person, any age and any racial background can experience the discomfort of this skin condition.

The Epidermal Lipid Barrier. What is it? Our skin has this protective barrier that is designed to keep moisture in the skin, and irritants or bacteria out. When this delicate layer becomes damaged, or is imperfect from our genetics, moisture escapes the skin leaving it flaky and irritated. Without a strong barrier, aggressors can get into our skin making it more sensitive and causing reactions.

Think of this barrier as a brick wall. The bricks themselves are your skin cells. The cement that holds the bricks together are your Lipids. (Natural skin oils) If the brick wall in your house has cracks or holes in it, rain, pollution and wind can get in. It works the same with our skin. When the lipids (or cement) is damaged or defective, everything that the bricks (skin cells) protect can be compromised.

How can I treat my sensitive or sensitized skin? The best way to treat and maintain sensitive or sensitized skin is by first repairing your brick wall. If you don’t repair and strengthen your Lipid Barrier, you won’t be able to keep any moisture in the skin, no matter how much moisturizer you slather on. Also, you want to make sure you keep your regimen simple, and use products that are made for sensitive and intolerant skin. Use a gentle cleanser that will keep your skin pH balanced, avoid products with preservatives and avoid over-drying ingredients like alcohol. Don’t forget your sunscreen!

What do we recommend? Dermalogica has a wonderful line called UltraCalming for sensitive and intolerant skin. The line contains a UltraCalming Complex, exclusive to Dermalogica. This complex is clinically proven to target and relieve the inflammation and discomfort caused by sensitivities. It has key ingredients and natural ingredients that combat redness, painful sensations, and irritation for immediate and long lasting results.

  • UltraCalming Cleanser – This non-foaming gentle cleanser helps calm and cool the skin, while maintaining the skin’s pH level. It delicately fortifies the skin’s protective barrier without leaving an irritating residue.
  • UltraCalming Mist – This soothing and hydrating lightweight mist helps calm redness and irritation on the skin. This can be used after cleansing to prepare the skin for treatments. Formulated with natural botanical ingredients to minimize flare-ups and ease inflammation.
  • UltraCalming Barrier Repair – This unique waterless moisturizer has a comforting velvety texture that will protect the skin from external aggressors, while minimizing discomfort with it’s natural ingredients like Oat botanicals. It will restore your barrier function with it’s Evening Primrose Oil, Borage Seed Oil and Silicones, and protect against free-radical damage with Vitamins C and E.
  • UltraCalming Super Sensitive Shield SPF30 – This sheer and weightless sunscreen provides a broad-spectrum shield against photo damage and UV exposure. Formulated with Dermalogica’s UltraCalming Complex, it will help minimize any discomfort, burning or itching from skin sensitivity.
  • UltraCalming Redness Relief Primer – This is the perfect primer to incorporate into your daily regime, under your foundation or on its own. Naturally tinted green with botanical extracts to neutralize redness, this silky translucent formulation will also help reduce discomfort while soothing and conditioning the skin. Also specially designed with an SPF of 20, to help protect the skin from damaging UV rays.