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Sensitive skin is a syndrome defined by the occurrence of unpleasant sensations in response to stimuli that should not provoke such sensations. The symptoms can include a combination of stinging, itching, burning and tingling sensations.
These stimuli include environmental conditions (sun exposure, pollution, hot or cold weather, dry air, humidity, wind, air conditioning and water). However, most of the time, a heightened intolerance to substances applied to the skin (i.e. cosmetic or personal care products) is the reason for skin sensitivity.
Our skin acts as a shield holding moisture and keeping out damaging elements. The sensitive skin barrier is weaker and has a tendency to let through things that irritate it.
Studies show an estimated 30-55% of consumers globally, suffer from sensitive skin, and this number is growing every year. This depends on factors (skin type, gender, age, hormonal factors) as well as external factors (climate and exposure to products). While the incidence is higher among women, the gap is closing as skincare and grooming products become more popular for men.
Between 2001 and 2017, sensitive skin in women increased by 50% in the Western world and 56% in countries such as Japan. A 2014 Mintel report showed that 25% of total skincare product claims were on sensitive skin, up from 15% in 2009. There is also an increase in interest in ultra-gentle facial skin products.
Written by Mr. Israel Weisser, Global Technical Expert