Prevalence, predictors and comorbidity of dry skin in the general population

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2019 Jan;33(1):147-150. doi: 10.1111/jdv.15157. Epub 2018 Jul 24.


Background: Dry skin is a frequent and multifaceted condition which can be associated with skin irritation, itch, patient discomfort and manifest skin disease. In spite of being frequent, little is known about the epidemiology of dry skin in the population.

Objective: To determine the prevalence of dry skin in the German adult population.

Methods: Data of 48 630 employed persons were assessed on a cross-sectional level in whole-body examinations by experienced dermatologists during company-based skin screenings conducted in 343 German companies. Next to the current dermatologic findings, age, gender, allergies, atopic diseases and the skin type were assessed.

Results: In total, n = 14 300 persons (29.4%) were rated as having xerotic skin. Older age but not gender was associated with xerosis. In the regression analyses controlling for age and gender, dry skin was a significant predictor for: axillary dermatitis (OR: 4.51; CI 2.70-7.54), atopic eczema (OR: 3.99; CI 3.42-4.65), exsiccation eczema (OR: 2.96; CI 2.40-3.65), psoriasis (OR: 1.57; CI 1.38-1.78), plantar warts (OR: 1.42; CI 1.26-1.60), seborrhoeic dermatitis (OR: 1.28; CI 1.16-1.42) and atopic disposition (OR: 1.17; CI 1.12-1.22).

Conclusion: Dry skin is a frequent condition in the adult general population and needs special attention. Known risk factors may facilitate identifying patients at risk for deterioration.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / epidemiology
  • Dermatitis, Seborrheic / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Psoriasis / epidemiology
  • Skin Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Warts / epidemiology