Background: Previous studies on prevalence of skin diseases in the population have been based on clinical examination of a sample of the population. A questionnaire on self-reported skin complaints has recently been developed and validated for use in population surveys, but has not been used until now.
Objectives: To quantify the skin morbidity in an adult urban population assessed by a newly developed self-measurement instrument, and to explore the associations between skin morbidity and sociodemographic factors in the community.
Methods: The study was a population-based cross-sectional study carried out in the city of Oslo. Adult participants (n = 18 770) aged 30-76 years answered a questionnaire giving information on self-reported skin complaints, and which included demographic, psychosocial and general health variables.
Results: Itch was the dominating skin complaint in all age groups. Adjusted odds ratios for itch, self-reported hand eczema and self-reported acne showed significant associations with female gender and reporting households of middle income. There was no association with employment categories.
Conclusions: This study shows that skin complaints referring to the most common chronic skin diseases varied with age, gender and marital status, and worsened with middle-income household. It provides evidence that household income is associated with skin morbidity, bringing dermatological aspects to studies on health inequalities.