Skin Is Sensitive to the Touch: Causes and Treatments

Skin that is sensitive to touch is annoying, uncomfortable, and frequently unbearable. Skin pain or tenderness is medically called allodynia, a condition in which one feels an exaggerated type of pain or sensitivity even to non-painful stimuli, such as a breeze. There are different types of skin tenderness, including:

Abnormally increased sensitivity of the skin to different types of stimuli may be a sign of other health problems, such as nutritional deficiencies, nerve problems, or viral infection.


It is easy to recognize the symptoms of tender skin or skin that is sensitive to touch. The pain may be localized or widespread, with intense pain that is usually triggered by stimuli that would not normally elicit pain. To test this, you may use a gauze or cotton pad and lightly brush it against your skin. You can also use a cold or warm compress or just the tip of your finger to apply it on the affected area. If any of these cause intense pain or tenderness, or a tingling sensation, then you may be experiencing allodynia.

Other symptoms include the feeling that something is crawling on the skin, itchiness, pins and needles, or a burning sensation.


There are many possible causes of skin that is sensitive to touch, and it may range from simple sunburn to a serious disease. Here are the possible causes:


The treatment of allodynia or skin that is sensitive to touch depends on the specific cause. Treating the underlying cause may improve your symptoms; however, some of these conditions such as fibromyalgia and demyelinating disease are not very easily treated. Treatment for a condition like vitamin B deficiency may reduce or eliminate the tingling sensation in the skin. Herpes zoster may also be treated with an anti-viral drug, which will also eliminate the burning pain on the affected skin.

To reduce your symptoms, your doctor may prescribe a variety of medications. These range from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen to anesthetic drugs like ketamine. Narcotic drugs may also be prescribed, such as morphine, tramadol, or alfentanil, as well as topical pain medications like aspercreme creams or capsaicin.

Sensitive or tender skin may be a symptom of a medical condition requiring proper treatment. If you feel unusual skin sensitivity, you may be experiencing allodynia. You should seek medical consult to treat the underlying cause and be relieved of this sensitivity.

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