Sensitive skin

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2016 Feb:30 Suppl 1:2-8. doi: 10.1111/jdv.13532.


Sensitive skin is a clinical condition defined by the self-reported facial presence of different sensory perceptions, including tightness, stinging, burning, tingling, pain and pruritus. Sensitive skin may occur in individuals with normal skin, with skin barrier disturbance, or as a part of the symptoms associated with facial dermatoses such as rosacea, atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. Although experimental studies are still pending, the symptoms of sensitive skin suggest the involvement of cutaneous nerve fibres and neuronal, as well as epidermal, thermochannels. Many individuals with sensitive skin report worsening symptoms due to environmental factors. It is thought that this might be attributed to the thermochannel TRPV1, as it typically responds to exogenous, endogenous, physical and chemical stimuli. Barrier disruptions and immune mechanisms may also be involved. This review summarizes current knowledge on the epidemiology, potential mechanisms, clinics and therapy of sensitive skin.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Facial Dermatoses / diagnosis
  • Facial Dermatoses / drug therapy
  • Facial Dermatoses / epidemiology
  • Facial Dermatoses / etiology*
  • Facial Dermatoses / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Pain / drug therapy
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pruritus / drug therapy
  • Pruritus / etiology
  • Sensation Disorders / diagnosis
  • Sensation Disorders / drug therapy
  • Sensation Disorders / etiology*
  • Sensation Disorders / metabolism
  • Skin / innervation
  • Skin / physiopathology*
  • T-Lymphocytes
  • TRPV Cation Channels / metabolism


  • TRPV Cation Channels
  • TRPV1 protein, human