Background: Skin diseases are ranked as the fourth most common cause of human illness, resulting in an enormous non-fatal burden. Despite this, many affected people do not consult a physician. Accordingly, the actual skin disease burden might be even higher since reported prevalence rates are typically based on secondary data that exclude individuals who do not seek medical care.
Objective: The aim of the study was to investigate the prevalence of skin diseases in an unreferred population in a real-life setting.
Methods: A cross-sectional study of 9 days duration was performed in 2016 at the 'Bavarian Central Agricultural Festival', which is part of the Munich Oktoberfest. As part of a public health check-up, screening examinations were performed randomly on participating visitors. All participants were 18 years or older and provided written informed consent.
Results: A total of 2701 individuals (53.5% women, 46.2% men; mean age 51.9 ± 15.3 years) participated in the study. At least one skin abnormality was observed in 1662 of the participants (64.5%). The most common diagnoses were actinic keratosis (26.6%), rosacea (25.5%) and eczema (11.7%). Skin diseases increased with age and were more frequent in men (72.3%) than in women (58.0%). Clinical examinations showed that nearly two-thirds of the affected participants were unaware of their abnormal skin findings.
Conclusion: Skin diseases might be more common than previously estimated based on the secondary data of some sub-populations. Further information and awareness campaigns are needed to improve people's knowledge and reduce the global burden associated with skin diseases.
© 2019 European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.