Sensitive skin in Korean population: An epidemiological approach

Skin Res Technol. 2018 May;24(2):229-234. doi: 10.1111/srt.12418. Epub 2017 Oct 25.


Background/purpose: Sensitive skin is characterized by uncomfortable sensations in response to multiple factors that do not normally have irritant properties. We used an epidemiological approach to evaluate the prevalence and characteristics of sensitive skin in a Korean population, and compared the results with those of populations from other countries.

Methods: A representative nationwide sample of 1000 Koreans aged ≥15 years was selected. The methodology used in this study (questionnaires) was the same as that used in similar studies conducted in other countries.

Results: Sensitive skin was present in 56.8% of the Koreans. The prevalence of sensitive skin was highest among countries such as the USA (44.6%), Europe (38.4%), Russia (39.7%), Brazil (34.2%), and Japan (54.5%). Participants with sensitive skin were more likely to accompany skin disorders than those with non-sensitive skin (72.3% vs 38.0%; P < .001). Sensitive skin group were 2-3 times more reactive to climatic and environmental factors, cosmetics, and food items than non-sensitive skin group.

Conclusion: The prevalence of sensitive skin in Korea is the highest among countries in which such investigation has been conducted. The sensitive skin group appears more likely to experience dermatological reactions to unexpected factors than the non-sensitive skin group.

Keywords: Korea; epidemiology; prevalence; questionnaires; sensitive skin.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Climate
  • Cosmetics / adverse effects
  • Diet / adverse effects
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Republic of Korea / ethnology
  • Self Report
  • Skin Diseases / epidemiology
  • Skin Diseases / ethnology*
  • Young Adult


  • Cosmetics