1Feminine Clinical Sciences, The Procter and Gamble Company, Cincinnati OH. 2Development Statistics Group, The Procter and Gamble Company, Egham, U.K. 3Dermatology, University of Athens Medical School, Athens, Greece.
Background: Sensitive skin is largely self-diagnosed and linked to reactions on exposed skin. Possible manifestations on genital skin are not well documented. Atopy may be predisposing.
Objective: To investigate the potential relationship between clinically diagnosed atopic dermatitis and either self-diagnosed sensitive skin or self-diagnosed genital sensitivity, and to evaluate the differences between atopics and non-atopics in perceived skin sensitivity to certain environmental conditions and certain common products.
Methods: A survey on self-perceived sensitive skin and genital sensitivity was administered to two groups of female patients attending a dermatology clinic: a group clinically diagnosed with atopic dermatitis (n = 25) and a control group of non-atopic individuals (n = 25).
Results: A significantly higher proportion of patients with atopic dermatitis described their skin as very or moderately sensitive. Factors reported to cause skin irritation included environmental conditions (cold weather, wind, rough fabric, stress), personal products (personal cleansing products, facial cleansers, moisturizers, alpha hydroxy acids, and perfumes) and laundry products.
Conclusions: A statistical association was found between clinically diagnosed atopic dermatitis and both self-diagnosed sensitive skin and self-diagnosed genital skin sensitivity. Atopic patients perceived their skin to be sensitive, longstanding, and moderate to severe, and were more likely to seek products formulated for sensitive skin. Atopy was also associated with genital sensitivity to hygiene pads and rough fabrics.
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