Self-reported skin sensitivity in a general adult population in France: Data of the SU.VI.MAX cohort

C Guinot, D Malvy, E Mauger, K Ezzedine, J Latreille, L Ambroisine, M. TENENHAUS, P Préziosi, F Morizot, P Galan, S Hercberg, E Tschachler

Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology

April 2006, vol. 20, n°4, pp.380-390

Departments: Economics & Decision Sciences

Keywords: Epidemiological study, Factor analysis method, Self-administered questionnaire, Self-reported skin sensitivity, Sun sensitivity

Objective This study aimed to examine the frequency of self-assessed facial skin sensitivity and its different patterns, and the relationship with gender and sun sensitivity in a general adult population.Methods A standardized 11-item questionnaire investigating reactions experienced during the past year was developed. The questions explored different patterns of skin sensitivity: pattern I (blushing related to vascular reactivity), pattern II (skin reactions to certain environmental conditions), pattern III (skin reactions after substance contact), and for women pattern IV (‘breakout of spots’ related to menstrual cycle). Additional items were addressed for women and men, including sun sensitivity. The questionnaire was administered to a large middle-aged population involved in the ‘Supplément en Vitamines et Minéraux Antioxydants’ (SU.VI.MAX) cohort.Results Sensitive facial skin was reported by 61% of the women (n = 5074) and 32% of the men (n = 3448), and the frequency decreased with age. The frequency of patterns I, II and III was greater for women (78, 72 and 58%, respectively) than for men (56, 48 and 28%) of comparable classes of age. The frequency of pattern IV was reported by 49% of premenopausal women, and skin reactions after shaving by 41% of the men. Sun sensitivity was found to be a major component of skin sensitivity. Factor analysis showed that individuals with fair phototype frequently evoked reactions associated with pattern I, and skin redness and burning sensations were related to certain environmental conditions (pattern II).Conclusion Skin sensitivity is a common concern that declines with age and is relevant for men as well as for women.