The skeptic is pursuable. Asking questions and looking for honest answers. Regardless of the outcome. She is willing to change her mind after meeting certain standards and criterium. The skeptic follows the science.
On the other hand, someone living in denial is able to contradict themselves. Believe two things at the same time: what they want to believe and what the consensus is. It’s no wonder why conspiracy theories thrive in our culture today. It isn’t that they didn’t exist before social media. It was just difficult to find someone on the fringe who believes in things only a few understand. Because someone in denial is not looking to change their mind but to solidify it through connection, narration, and emotion.