Epidemiology of "fragile skin": results from a survey of different skin types
Marek Haftek,1 Christine Coutanceau,2 Charles Taïeb3
1Université Lyon 1, Laboratoire de Recherche Dermatologique, Faculté de Médecine et de Pharmacie, Lyon, 2Département Médical, Laboratoires Dermatologiques A-Derma, Lavaur, 3Public Health, Pierre Fabre SA, Paris, France
Background: Epidemiologic information regarding the prevalence of "fragile skin" in different adult populations is currently limited. The objective of the current survey was to assess the occurrence of perceived "fragile skin" across different skin types in the general adult population.
Methods: Individuals aged 15–65 years from five representative geographic regions (France, Spain, Sweden, Japan, and the US) were interviewed and grouped into the following skin types: Caucasian North skin (n=1,218), Caucasian South skin (n=1,695), Asian skin (n=1,500), and Black skin (n=500). The main survey question was "In your opinion, do you have fragile skin?" Concepts relating to the nature and appearance of an individual's skin were also evaluated.
Results: A total of 4,913 individuals were interviewed. Subjects in the Caucasian North, Caucasian South, Asian, and Black skin type groups responded positively to the question "In your opinion, do you have fragile skin?" in the following proportions: 24.44%, 29.71%, 52.67%, and 42.20%, respectively. With the exception of individuals in the Black skin group, "fragile skin" was prevalent in significantly more women than men (P<0.0001). Compared with other age categories, the prevalence of "fragile skin" was significantly higher in individuals aged 15–34 years (P<0.0001), regardless of skin type. In general, individuals reporting "fragile skin" were 2–3-fold more likely to respond positively to a series of questions relating to the nature and appearance of their skin. The prevalence of "fragile skin" was also higher in individuals who experienced dermatosis (skin lesions of any type) in the previous 12 months.
Conclusion: Whilst these findings need to be confirmed through objective evaluation, the current survey demonstrated that "fragile skin" is perceived to occur in a substantial proportion of individuals from any given country, particularly in the age range of 15–34 years, regardless of skin type.
Keywords: fragile skin, prevalence, skin barrier, skin type, survey
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