Skin sensitivities are very common and appear to be increasing in frequency due to increased allergens and irritants. These conditions can affect many aspects of one’s life due to the frequent exacerbations and can become debilitating at times. It can affect up to 50% of women and 40% of men at some stage in their lives.
Sensitive skin is not a formal medical diagnosis and encompasses a variety of conditions. It is a term used to describe skin that is easily irritated and sensitive to a variety of topically applied products such as personal care products and cosmetics.
Skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis are also prominent among younger children with many ‘growing out’ of the condition as they age. Unfortunately, this is not the case for all and many adults continue to battle with skin sensitivities.
Sensitive skin can present in a variety of ways which can often make diagnosis difficult for the treating doctor.
Many have subjective symptoms such as burning, itching, stinging with no visible changes to the appearance of the skin. Others suffer from visible skin changes such as redness, flaking, dryness, peeling hives or blisters/bumps (dyshidrosis).
Skin sensitivity often affects the face but can also affect the entire body. The most sensitive areas and common areas of irritation are the eyelids. Often products can cause sensitivity and a reaction to the face but leave the rest of the body without symptoms. Other sensitive areas include the armpits, groin and skin flexures.