European Journal of Dermatology

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 42–48 | Cite as

Sensitive skin and the influence of female hormone fluctuations: results from a cross-sectional digital survey in the Dutch population

  • Denise FalconeEmail author
  • Renée J. H. Richters
  • Natallia E. Uzunbajakava
  • Piet E. J. Van Erp
  • Peter C. M. Van De Kerkhof
Clinical report



Sensitive skin is a widespread condition, which is most frequently reported by women. Changing hormone levels during the menstrual cycle and menopause have been suggested among the stimuli triggering sensitive skin.


To investigate the perceived influence of fluctuating hormone levels on self-assessed sensitive skin, including symptoms and stimuli linked to skin sensitivity, as well as potential changes in facial and body skin and sensitive body parts, depending on hormonal status.

Patients and methods

A digital questionnaire was distributed to a population of women aged 20-65 years old.


A total of 278 women were included in the analysis. About 42% premenopausal women declared a perception of (increased) skin sensitivity just before and during the menstrual cycle, while this was reported by almost 32% of peri- and postmenopausal women following the menopause. The majority of reported symptoms included the presence of bumps/pimples, dryness, itching, and redness, and the majority of reported stimuli were shaving, weather, toiletries, and emotions. No differences emerged regarding characteristics of facial and body skin across different hormonal status. Significant differences in sensitivity of body parts emerged for the face and feet, reported by a larger percentage of premenopausalwomen and peri- and postmenopausalwomen, respectively.


The prevalence of the perceived effects of fluctuating hormone levels on self-assessed sensitive skin in women is high. These effects should be taken into consideration in skin testing and dermatological practice, and support the need for selecting personal care routine or treatment during the menstrual cycle and menopause.

Key words

sensitive skin menstrual cycle menopause oestrogen women 


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Copyright information

© John Libbey Eurotext 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Denise Falcone
    • 1
    Email author
  • Renée J. H. Richters
    • 1
  • Natallia E. Uzunbajakava
    • 2
  • Piet E. J. Van Erp
    • 1
  • Peter C. M. Van De Kerkhof
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of DermatologyRadboud University Medical CenterNijmegenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Philips ResearchPhilips Electronics B.V.EindhovenThe Netherlands

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