Prevalence of skin lesions and need for treatment in a cohort of 90 880 workers

Br J Dermatol. 2011 Oct;165(4):865-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2011.10436.x.


Background: Healthcare planning requires robust data on the prevalence and need for care of dermatological diseases. To date, no systematic data in population-based samples are available for Germany.

Objectives: Determination of the prevalence of skin lesions and of the need for care based on dermatological examinations in working adults in Germany.

Methods: From 2004 to 2009, workers aged between 16 and 70years from different branches of industry throughout Germany underwent a single dermatological whole-body examination on the occasion of company screening for skin cancer. The data were recorded electronically and evaluated descriptively. In addition to the clinical findings, case history data on previous skin diseases were documented and the need for further clarification or treatment was determined on the basis of the dermatologist's assessment.

Results: Data from n=90 880 persons from a total of 312 companies were evaluated. Of the pigmented skin lesions, dermal naevi were found in 25·1% of the cohort, and 16·7% displayed more than 40 each. The most frequent inflammatory skin diseases were acne vulgaris (3·9%), psoriasis (2·0%), rosacea (2·3%) and atopic eczema (1·3%). Examination of the case histories showed that the most frequent condition was allergic sensitizations (41·1%); of these, pollen accounted for the biggest group (21·4%), followed by contact allergens (8·0%). In total, 26·8% of the cohort exhibited a dermatological finding in need of treatment or further clarification.

Conclusions: Dermatological lesions and diseases requiring clarification are frequent and indicate a high demand for treatment in the adult population.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Occupational Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Physical Examination
  • Prevalence
  • Skin Diseases / diagnosis
  • Skin Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Skin Diseases / therapy
  • Young Adult