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Derm News: 2007.27(1)

Sensitive skin: psychological effects and seasonal changes

Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 21(5):620-628
L Misery, E Myon, N Martin, S Consoli, S Boussetta, T Nocera, C Taieb


Sensitive skin is a frequent disorder, but its effects and its variability are unknown.


To investigate the effects of sensitive skin first on quality of life and the psyche, and secondly, on seasonal changes.


The French Opinion Poll Institute (IPSOS) conducted two opinion polls in March and July 2004. Samples included, respectively, 1006 and 1001 individuals, from a representative national sample of the French population aged 15 years or older. The polling subjects were interviewed by phone and selected by the quota method (gender, age, occupation of household head, type of geographical area and region). Questions about their perception of their sensitive skin and about potential aggravating factors were asked. Quality of life was assessed using the SF-12 questionnaire and depressive symptoms using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression (HAD) rating scale.


The characteristics of the two samples were strictly similar. Persons with sensitive skin and very sensitive skin were more numerous in summer than in winter. In both surveys, the degree of sensitivity was significantly higher in the female population. Quality of life was worse in people with sensitive or very sensitive skin, above all in its psychological component - the more sensitive the skin, the more the quality of life deteriorated. There was no significant relationship between depressive symptoms and skin sensitivity in the 'very sensitive' or 'sensitive' groups.


Our study was the first to show seasonal changes in skin reactivity and to study the psychological impacts of sensitive skin.

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The Derm News service provided by the Editorial Consultants of Skin Therapy Letter© and its founding editor Dr. Stuart Maddin.