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Original Investigation
February 2014

Prevalence of Self-reported Skin Complaints and Avoidance of Common Daily Life Consumer Products in Selected European Regions

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Dermatology, Azienda Ospedaliera Papa Giovanni XXIII, Bergamo, Centro Studi Gruppo Italiano Studi Epidemiologici in Dermatologia–Fondazione per la Ricerca Ospedale Maggiore Presidio Ospedaliero Matteo Rota, Bergamo, Italy
  • 2Centro Studi Gruppo Italiano Studi Epidemiologici in Dermatologia–Fondazione per la Ricerca Ospedale Maggiore Presidio Ospedaliero Matteo Rota, Bergamo, Italy
  • 3Department of Dermatology, Coimbra University Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
  • 4Department of Social Medicine, University Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
  • 5Department of Occupational and Environmental Dermatology, University Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
  • 6Department of Occupational and Environmental Dermatology, University Hospital, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden
  • 7Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Jena, Jena, Germany
  • 8Department of Dermatology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands
  • 9Department of Dermatology, Institute of Clinical Research in Malmö, Skåne University Hospital, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden
  • 10Department of Epidemiology, Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, Scientific Institute for Research, Hospitalization, and Health Care, Milan, Italy
JAMA Dermatol. 2014;150(2):154-163. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.7932
Abstract

Importance  Skin disorders are common in the general population, and they may be associated with significant disability. The use of daily skin products may affect the appearance and severity of skin conditions.

Objectives  To assess the prevalence of reported itchy rash lasting longer than 3 days among the general population and to evaluate lifetime avoidance of different types of consumer products because of skin problems.

Design, Setting, and Participants  The European Dermato-Epidemiology Network (EDEN) Fragrance Study comprised a large descriptive epidemiological survey of the general population conducted in 6 European regions from August 20, 2008, to October 10, 2011. Participants were a random sample of individuals aged 18 to 74 years, based on electoral precincts. The participants were interviewed using a standardized questionnaire.

Exposures  Lifetime exposure to products of common use was considered, including toiletry items that remained on the skin or were rinsed off and household and functional items.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The 1-month, 1-year, and lifetime age-standardized prevalence rates of itchy rash that lasted longer than 3 days.

Results  In total, 12 377 individuals (53.9% female; median age, 43 years) were interviewed. The overall prevalences of itchy rash were 19.3% (95% CI, 18.6%-20.0%) during the month preceding the interview, 31.8% (95% CI, 31.0%-32.6%) during the preceding year, and 51.7% (95% CI, 50.8%-52.6%) over a lifetime. In addition, the percentage of individuals who reported avoidance of any product varied from 37.0% for products intended to be left on the skin to 17.7% for household or functional products.

Conclusions and Relevance  Our findings confirmed the magnitude of skin problems among the general population reported in other surveys. Although itchy rash is a nonspecific manifestation, it may be considered in epidemiological surveys to reflect a constellation of skin conditions and to summarize the burden of these conditions on general health.

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