Itchy. Flaky. Bumpy. Blotchy. Flush. Burning. Scaly.

Think of them as the seven pillars of sensitive skin wisdom. Most people have experienced one or more of these symptoms at one time or another, but some have skin more prone to acting up than others.

"With as many as 45 percent of Americans reporting sensitive skin, it is important to consider how many commonly used products contain allergens or irritants that might cause skin irritation and discomfort," said Elizabeth Mullans, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Uptown Dermatology in Houston.

These products include soaps, moisturizers, cosmetics, cleaning agents and even bodily fluids such as sweat and urine.

According to London dermatologist Daniel Glass, M.D., skin reactions are broken down into two groups: irritant contact dermatitis and contact allergic dermatitis.

"There are several medical conditions that can predispose skin to be more sensitive," Glass explained. "Probably the most common is irritant contact dermatitis. This is inflammation of the skin in response to an