Laurent Misery


Expert Rev Dermatol. 2013;8(6):631-637. 

In This Article


Reactive skin is extremely prevalent. In France, approximately 50% of individuals (59% of women and 41% of men) report having reactive skin.[16] This patient-reported prevalence varies little across European countries,[13] the USA[19] and Japan.[39] Reactive skin is clearly a very frequent cosmetic problem.

This prevalence increases in the summer,[15] suggesting a role for UV radiation exposure, but there is no association with skin phototype.[19] Although the appearance of the skin is normal in the vast majority of cases, reactive skin may occur in individuals who have another skin disorder (e.g., atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis or rosacea).[16]

Sensitive skin is more frequent in women than in men, and the frequency increases with age.[3,4,40,41] It is interesting to associate this increase with the increased expression of TRPV1 in the skin with age.[42] The association with ethnicity is controversial.[3,4,40] Three large epidemiological studies reported no 'racial' differences in reporting sensitivity,[12,19,34] most likely because races or ethnicities do not exist.[43] In contrast, cultural factors[13,19,39] are most likely crucial to the definition of sensitive skin and related symptoms and to lifestyle factors that could favor several triggering factors. A study showed that 'Caucasians' with sensitive skin more often claimed that products produced visual effects, whereas 'African Americans' more often claimed that products produced sensory effects.[44] Japanese women react more intensely than German women, although there is no difference in the neurosensory innervation of the skin.[45] A role for phototype has also been suggested.[46]