Sensitive skin: an overview

Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. Jan-Feb 2013;79(1):9-16. doi: 10.4103/0378-6323.104664.


Sensitive skin is less tolerant to frequent and prolonged use of cosmetics and toiletries. It is self-diagnosed and typically unaccompanied by any obvious physical signs of irritation. With the change in lifestyle and also with increased opportunity to use many new brands of cosmetics and toiletries, there has been an increase in females complaining of unique sensation in their facial skin. Sensitive skin presents as smarting, burning, stinging, itching, and/or tight sensation in their facial skin. The condition is found in more than 50% of women and 40% of men, creating a sizable demand for products designed to minimize skin sensitivity. Good numbers of invasive and non-invasive tests are designed to evaluate and predict the sensitive skin. Management includes guidelines for selecting suitable cosmetics and toiletries in sensitive skin individuals.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cosmetics / adverse effects*
  • Dermatitis, Contact / classification*
  • Dermatitis, Contact / etiology
  • Dermatitis, Contact / physiopathology
  • Face
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / classification*
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / etiology
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / physiopathology
  • Patch Tests / methods
  • Skin
  • Skin Irritancy Tests / methods
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena


  • Cosmetics