If symptoms are not dealt with, they can lead to skin becoming chapped and cracked anywhere on the body. Even large areas of skin like that found on the arms, legs, décolleté, shoulders, elbows, calves and knees are susceptible and sensitivity can be triggered by hot showers, harsh body products, sun exposure, sweating during sport or air conditioning.
Some areas are more prone to dryness and sensitivity than others. These include the backs of the hands, where a shortage of the secretions needed to maintain skin’s barrier function means they are less protected from external influences. Regular washing with alkaline soap also significantly undermines their natural pH levels. An impaired barrier function can lead to the occurrence of sensitizing reactions that cause contact dermatitis, an inflammation that appears as blisters, dryness and cracking.
The scalp is often prone to dryness and sensitivity, with around 60% of women and 40% of men experiencing symptoms including redness, tightness and itching. There is growing evidence that microinflammations are involved in scalp sensitivity. Find out more about symptoms and causes of a sensitive scalp.
Skin in the intimate area differs from other parts of the body and has numerous barriers in place to protect it. If these are affected, by over-cleansing for example, skin can become susceptible to itchiness, discomfort and even infection.
Changes due to skin stretching – through pregnancy, weight gain or growth spurts – can result in stretch marks, which can also be highly sensitive and easily irritated. These are most likely to appear on the breasts, abdomen and upper thighs. Read more about skin in different body parts.