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Am J Contact Dermat. 1997 Jun;8(2):67-78.

Sensitive skin: perceptions, evaluation, and treatment.

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Department of Dermatology, Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.



Patients with sensitive skin can present a challenge for dermatologists and cosmetic chemists alike. Knowledge of this common skin condition and appropriate dermatologic treatment, in combination with a rational approach to skin-care product selection, are important to patient well-being.


This report summarizes the subjective and objective findings in patients with sensitive skin while presenting a theory to explain disease physiology. Finally, a recommended treatment approach and formulation guidelines are presented.


Sensitive skin possesses one or more of the following anatomic cutaneous changes: heightened neurosensory input, enhanced immune responsiveness, and/or diminished barrier function. Cosmetic and skin-care product formulation considerations for sensitive skin include products with a paucity of ingredients, absence of common sensitizers, minimum number of irritants, and absence of cutaneous sensory or vasodilatory stimulants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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