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Chemesthesis is defined as the chemical sensibility of the skin and mucus membranes. Chemesthetic sensations arise when chemical compounds activate receptors associated with other senses that mediate pain, touch, and thermal perception. Because these receptors are present in all types of skin, chemesthetic sensations can be aroused from anywhere on the body's surface as well as from mucosal surfaces in the nose, mouth, eyes, etc. Mucus membranes are generally more sensitive to chemesthetic stimuli because they lack the barrier function of cornified skin. The burn from chili pepper, the coolness and burning from menthol in mouthwashes and topical analgesic creams, and the stinging or tingling of carbonation in the nose and mouth are all examples of chemesthetic sensations.
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- Green BG, Alvarez-Reeves M, George P (2005). Chemesthesis and taste: Evidence of independent processing of sensation intensity. Physiology and Behavior 86 (4): 526–537.
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