Background: 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.
Objective: 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.
Conclusion: 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.