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Int J Cosmet Sci. 2013 Feb;35(1):2-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2494.2012.00754.x. Epub 2012 Sep 21.

Sensitive skin: an overview.

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1
San Gallicano Dermatological Institute, VIa Chianesi 53, 00144, Rome, Italy. berardesca@berardesca.it

Abstract

Sensitive skin is a condition of subjective cutaneous hyper-reactivity to environmental factors. Subjects experiencing this condition report exaggerated reactions when their skin is in contact with cosmetics, soaps and sun screens, and they often report worsening after exposure to dry and cold climate. Although no sign of irritation is commonly detected, itching, burning, stinging and a tight sensation are constantly present. Generally substances that are not commonly considered irritants are involved in this abnormal response.Sensitive skin and subjective irritation are widespread but still far from being completely defined and understood. A correlation between sensitive skin and constitutional anomalies and/or other triggering factors such as occupational skin diseases or chronic exposure to irritants has been hypothesized. Recent findings suggest that higher sensitivity can be due to different mechanisms. Hyper-reactors may have a thinner stratum corneum with a reduced corneocyte area causing a higher transcutaneous penetration of water-soluble chemicals. Alterations in vanilloid receptors and changes in neuronal transmission have been described. Monitoring skin parameters such as barrier function, proclivity to irritation, corneocyte size and sensorial transmission can also be useful to identify regional differences in skin sensitivity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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