The impact of skin diseases on health-related quality of life is considerable. It is important to quantify the patient's perspective of the severity of their disease. Health-related quality of life was measured in 366 patients with skin diseases attending the dermatology outpatient clinic in Uppsala, Sweden, from November 1996 to December 1997, with 1 generic (SF-36) and 1 disease-specific (DLQI) health-related quality of life instrument, and a subjective measure of disease activity. The SF-36 mean scores were below those of the age- and gender-matched general population in Sweden. No difference in health-related quality of life was found between men and women or between patients with atopic dermatitis and psoriatic patients. However, patients with psoriatic arthritis had significantly poorer health-related quality of life than both patients with atopic dermatitis and psoriatic patients. The estimated correlations between the instruments were in the expected direction and mostly significant. The results confirm that skin diseases have an adverse impact on patients' health-related quality of life.