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Chances are pretty high that at some point in your life, your skin will fall into the “sensitive” category. Sensitive skin looks and feels different for everyone, but common symptoms include itching, redness and reactions to more potent products. But what’s the difference between sensitive skin and sensitised skin?

Both sensitive and sensitised skin conditions occur when the protective barrier of your skin is weak, so more bad stuff like allergens can pass through. However, the difference between sensitive and sensitized at its most simplest, is basically how long the condition lasts for. Sensitive skin is can be genetic and is an ongoing issue.

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Sensitised skin, on the other hand, is caused by lifestyle habits (such as alcohol consumption, dehydration and diet – aka having too much fun), irritants like pollen and pollution, and even stress (aka not having enough fun). The good news? If you have sensitised skin, you can usually reduce or even eliminate the issues when you avoid the triggers.

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Either way, your skin is unhappy right now – so what can you do? 

The key to coping with it is to strengthen it’s lipid barrier with products that contain ceramides, and use soothing products to calm it down in the interim. Dermalogica, which just launched an Ultra Calming Duo – Barrier Defense Booster and Calm Water Gel – specifically for skin that’s red, irritated and/or tight, says that trick is to look for calming ingredients like tumeric (which also has the added benefit of stopping free radicals, those nasty little electrons that cause damage to your cell structure and proteins), aloe vera (which is not only super soothing, but also hydrating) and oat (which is full of anti-irritant properties).

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They recommend you to also try to avoid harsh exfoliators and extreme temperatures. And we would like to suggest asking your doctor for an MC because if you’re so stressed out your skin is reacting, then you definitely deserve a mental health day!

If your skin is in need of some extra coddling, here are some gentle yet effective French pharmaceutical products to try.

This story was first published on CLEO.