Background: The concept of the 'sensitive scalp' is vague. However, the 'sensitive skin syndrome' is probably not limited to the face.
Objectives: To evaluate and analyse sensitive scalp conditions.
Patients and method: 1011 individuals, representative of the French population, were investigated.
Results: 44.2 % declared suffering from a 'sensitive scalp' (47.4% of women versus 40.8% of men). Of these subjects, 11.5% reported having an associated scalp disease versus 1.1% of non-sensitive subjects. Hair loss was significantly associated with scalp sensitivity. The scalp was dry for 24%, normal for 58%, greasy for 16% and mixed for 1%. 13% complained of prickling, 25% of itching and 2% of burning or pain. These symptoms were more frequent among those with a 'sensitive scalp'. The main triggering factors were considered to be pollution, heat, emotions and shampoos. No other area of skin sensitivity was specifically associated with scalp sensitivity.
Conclusion: 'Scalp sensitivity' exists and occurs frequently. Triggering factors are numerous. Symptoms appear different from those of facial skin sensitivity. Further studies to define and assess sensitive scalp conditions are needed.