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J Cosmet Dermatol. 2008 Sep;7(3):164-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1473-2165.2008.00384.x.

Prevalence of pigmentary disorders and their impact on quality of life: a prospective cohort study.

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Center for Dermatology Research, Department of Dermatology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1071, USA.



Pigmentary disorders are commonly seen in dermatology practice and can have a negative psychosocial impact on patients.


This study aims to examine the prevalence of pigmentary disorders and their level of psychological and physical impact on patients.


A prospective cohort study involved a sample of 140 patients undergoing skin exams at a private dermatology practice in North Carolina. Patient demographics and pigmentary diagnoses were obtained, and participants were asked to fill out a skin discoloration impact evaluation questionnaire. Descriptive and frequency analyses were performed.


Around 80% of the participants were diagnosed with one or more pigmentary disorders. About 47.3% of patients admitted of feeling self-conscious about their skin to some degree, 21.8% felt others focused on their skin, 32.7% felt unattractive because of their skin, 32.7% put effort into hiding pigment changes, and 23.6% felt their skin affected their activities. A limitation was the lack of diversity in the population studied (gender and skin type).


Pigmentary disorders such as melasma, vitiligo, and lentigo pose significant negative impact on a person's health-related quality of life. Hence, there is a need for effective treatments of pigmentary disorders based on their prevalence and effect on quality of life. Healthcare providers should consider the impact of pigmentary disorders on health-related quality of life and educate patients on possible treatments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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