A patient may complain of the skin being “sensitive” to a variety of topical skin products. The diagnosis and management of a patient with sensitive skin can be challenging.


Synonym: hyperirritable skin



(1) allergy to one or more specific allergens in the implicated topical skin product

(2) caustic chemical exposure


The patient:

(1) may be unable to tolerate all or most cosmetics or skin care products

(2) may or may not show objective clinical findings (see below)

(3) may complain of dry skin

(4) may have a history of atopy


Skin complaints after exposure to a topical skin agent may include:

(1) burning or warmth

(2) stinging

(3) prickling sensation

(4) itching

(5) tautness (feeling of tightness)


Skin changes may include some or none of the following:

(1) erythema

(2) fine scaling

(3) erytho-couperose (persistent erythema with prominent small blood vessels) or rosacea


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