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Is your skin sensitive or sensitized?

Is your skin sensitive or sensitized?

Skin sensitivity is one of the unexpected reasons people decide to seek out natural-based skincare.

It’s true. In fact, back when I was still a yoga teacher, this was one of the most common concerns that my students would share with me. And in most cases, people that I encountered usually assumed that they were born with naturally sensitive and reactive skin. 

However, I beg to differ. In fact, I believe that most people are suffering from sensitized skin.

So, what’s the difference between sensitive and sensitized skin? 🧐

First, let’s talk about sensitive skin.

In a nutshell, sensitive skin is a skin type that some people are born with. It’s characterized by skin that’s easily irritated.

For example, someone with sensitive skin may get itchy or even breakout when they are exposed to certain situations, such as high temperature. It may even result in swelling or a rash. Or their skin may react to different environmental factors, which in turn makes their skin appear red and irritated. And the unfortunate thing is, these are issues that they consistently experience throughout their life.

This kind of skin sensitivity usually has direct correlations to other conditions such as allergies, asthma and rosacea.

Sensitive skin is due to the genetic makeup of each individual, and sadly, you can’t fix it. 😞

A 2018 study suggests that people with sensitive skin have an innate imbalance of lipids in their barrier function. This seems to be caused by excessive apoptosis (which is the process of programmed cell death) and Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL), leading to overly dehydrated skin.

However, not all hope is lost. If you’re someone with naturally sensitive skin, there are many ways you can address the symptoms and support your overall skin health. Since every person is different, there’s no one-shoe-fits-all approach. But a good rule of thumb is to develop a gentle skincare routine that can soothe and provide your skin with the extra protection it needs.

I’d suggest an ultra simplified routine with only 2 or 3 products.

Start with a gentle, yet effective cleanser like our Aloe Milk Cleanser. It contains soothing ingredients like aloe vera and niacinamide to calm down any irritation and redness. Then apply a moisturizer that reinforces your overall skin barrier protection, such as Skin Stuff Face + Eye Cream.


Now, let’s talk about sensitized skin.

On the surface, someone with sensitized skin may have similar symptoms to those with sensitive skin: redness, swelling, itchiness, skin that reacts to just about anything.

However, the difference between sensitive and sensitized skin lies in the cause. While having sensitive skin is due to genetics, sensitized skin is often self-induced. 😱

I tend to attribute the reason behind sensitized skin to how the skincare world is nowadays.

These days, many of us are going through something I like to call “cosmetics confusion.” With so many skincare products on the market, such as cleanser, exfoliator, serum, essence, toner, mist, emulsion, mask, moisturizer, etc., we may feel like we need all the products out there to achieve the perfect, flawless skin that we see on social media.

And this is precisely the problem!

By including so many products within the same skincare routine, especially products with many strong actives like acids or retinol, it’s really no wonder our skin would become red, blotchy and reactive. 

And not to mention, the more products we use, the more likely we are to run into an ingredient, or many ingredients, that our skin just doesn't agree with.

The solution? Simplify our routine as much as possible.

I’ve always been a huge advocate for a simple, yet targeted, routine. Because truly, you don’t need a lot of products for a skincare routine to be effective. All you really need is a cleanser, a moisturizer and sun protection. That’s it!

This is precisely why I’ve created the Clean Beauty Starter Kit. It includes almost everything you need in a skincare routine to get good skin days, every day!

Have you tried this kit? Tag us on Instagram at @graydonskincare and share your experience! 🥰


Beauty sleep is real! Click here to find out how sleep affects your skin and how you can make the most of your nighttime skincare routine.

Credit for main image: Sasha_Suzi


Fan L, Jia Y, Cui L, Li X, He C. Analysis of sensitive skin barrier function: basic indicators and sebum composition. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2018 Apr;40(2):117-126. doi: 10.1111/ics.12442. Epub 2018 Jan 5. PMID: 29215741.

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