What is sensitive skin?


Sensitive skin is generally skin that reacts via an inflammatory response to an external stimulus1. It is defined by the occurrence of unpleasant sensations and reactions in response to stimuli that should not usually provoke such a reaction1.

Skin sensitivity can be caused by a weakened or impaired skin barrier1. This is often associated with changes in the structure of the stratum corneum – which is the outer layer of the epidermis1.

Sensitive skin is different to skin disease, and the reactions that can be seen as a result of sensitive skin cannot be attributed to a skin disease1.


How prominent is sensitive skin?


Almost three-quarters of adults2 say they have sensitive skin. And this number is rising. The number of people who declare they have sensitive skin has increased by as much as 55% in the last two decades alone3!


Sensitive skin symptoms


Different people will experience different perceptions of how sensitive skin affects them and the symptoms they suffer. However, most people with sensitive skin say they face unpleasant sensations and feelings, including skin feeling:



In many cases, the unpleasant sensations suffered by someone with sensitive skin will not lead to visible symptoms or skin disease. This means that the nature of the condition is subjective, which can make it more difficult to diagnose or recognise3.


You may also find that there are certain triggers for sensitive skin. These can include1:


  • Physical triggers – such as UV rays, heat, cold and wind.


  • Chemical triggers – such as cosmetics, soaps, water and pollutants.


  • Psychological triggers – such as stress.


  • Hormonal triggers – such as the menstrual cycle.


Why is it important to support sensitive skin?


Looking after our skin is vitally important. As our body’s largest and most visible organ, the skin does a lot of work in serving to protect everything we have inside from damage that could be caused by external factors. The skin traps the moisture we need effectively while also keeping allergens, irritants and pollutants out.


The healthy functioning of the skin barrier depends on the condition of lipids (also known as the skin’s natural fats), which help the skin maintain its strength.


Keeping your skin well hydrated is critical in helping to restore and replenish it, as well as maintaining a healthy skin barrier.


Sensitive skin can affect anyone. In fact, all skin and all people will experience periods of sensitivity where they are more susceptible to external factors. This is why sensitive skin is seen as a skin state rather than a skin type1. For example, people with sensitive skin may suffer from regular symptoms, while others may only experience them occasionally.



What can help sensitive skin?


Sensitive skin is usually caused by dryness, which reduces the skin’s ability to deal with external factors. For this reason, using moisturisers can be a good way to battle sensitive skin issues.


An effective moisturiser can be used to improve the overall functionality of the skin barrier, giving it more ability to deal with sensitivity1.


Skincare solutions for sensitive skin


Aveeno® is on a mission to destigmatise sensitive skin and to empower people to care for their own skin.


Whether it’s dry, tight or itchy skin: it’s all sensitive. It’s natural, and at Aveeno®, we treat it that way. We use body care products that contain effective ingredients proven to soothe and moisturise dry skin.


That way, people with sensitive skin can find the right skincare products for their body and make it part of an effective skincare routine that works for them.


Aveeno® products for sensitive skin


We’re here to help people with sensitive skin. At Aveeno®, we combine more than 75 years of scientific research with the power of selected ingredients, to provide hydrating and nourishing formulas that support skin health.


Backed by more than 80 scientific publications, Aveeno® unlocks the incredible power of its signature ingredient – colloidal oatmeal. This high-quality ingredient is infused within all Aveeno® products to help moisturise and soothe skin.


Tested by dermatologists*, the Aveeno® body care range is designed for a variety of skin needs and concerns.


*Excluding Daily Moisturising Body Yogurt creams






  1. E. Berardesca, M. Farage and Maibach H. Sensitive skin: an overview. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2013 Feb;35(1):2-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2494.2012.00754.x. Epub 2012 Sep 21. PMID: 22928591. Sensitive skin: an overview - PubMed (nih.gov)
  2. Chen W, Dai R, Li L. The prevalence of self-declared sensitive skin: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2020 Aug;34(8):1779-1788. doi: 10.1111/jdv.16166. Epub 2020 Jan 20. PMID: 31869523. The prevalence ofself-declared sensitive skin: a systematic review and metaanalysis - PubMed (nih.gov)
  3. Farage MA. The prevalence of sensitive skin. Front Med (Lausanne). 2019;6:98 The Prevalence of Sensitive Skin - PMC (nih.gov).




Page Last Updated

Friday, May 17, 2024



Date of preparation: May 2024