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5 reasons why we need to support dermatology initiatives across the Asia Pacific region

In 2014 the World Health Organisation (WHO) published its report on the Global Burden of Skin Disease¹. The report highlighted the substantial impact of skin disease on healthcare costs and patient well-being in all regions of the world, including Asia Pacific. The WHO strongly recommends that prevention and treatment of skin disease should be prioritised in global health strategies.


#1 – Fungal infections, acne and other skin and subcutaneous diseases are among the top 10 most prevalent diseases worldwide

Skin disease is a major burden on healthcare resources in both low and high-income countries across the world¹. Dermatological complaints are a leading reason for primary care consultations².


#2 – Common dermatological diseases can have a substantial impact on quality of life 

Chronic skin disease results in impaired quality of life for many patients³. Common conditions in Asia Pacific such as vitiligo and acne have been shown to have a significant effect on patients’ psychosocial well-being. Other conditions including psoriasis and atopic dermatitis, can impact both psychosocial and physical aspects of everyday life.


#3 – Little or no improvement in the management of skin conditions has been observed over the past two decades

A recently published study found that, between 1990 and 2013, there had been little change in the number of years lived with disability (YLDs) relating skin conditions in many APAC countries including China, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand.


#4 – As people live longer, the burden of skin disease weighs more heavily on health care systems

Elderly patients suffer from multiple skin health problems. Conditions that have the highest impact in this age group include non-melanoma skin cancer and ulceration. The coming years will see an increase in the proportion of individuals over 80 years of age so preventative, therapeutic and palliative strategies should be a priority for this group.


#5 – The growing problem of air pollution has negative effects on skin health

Air pollution is a cause for concern in many parts of Asia. Air pollutants can have a detrimental effect on skin health, contributing to the development or exacerbation of allergic skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis and eczema. Cigarette smoke has been implicated in premature aging and an increased incidence of psoriasis, acne and skin cancer⁷ . A recent study found a higher prevalence of inflammatory acne in Asian women compared to their Caucasian counterparts, with a worsening of symptoms during periods of marked air pollution⁸.


For all of the above reasons it is essential that we raise awareness of the burden of skin disease and take action to prevent and treat it more effectively across Asia Pacific.
The 2017 SkinPact Awards are designed to support these objectives.


Voting on-line for a SkinPact Award finalist project can offer the opportunity for an excellent dermatology initiative to be put into practice

To vote:
go to

To join the hashtag campaign:
go to


¹ Hay R, Johns N, Williams H et al. The Global Burden of Skin Disease in 2010: an analysis of the prevalence and impact of skin conditions. J Invest Dermatol 2014 134:1527-34

² Schofield JK, Fleming D, Grindlay D et al. Skin conditions are the commonest new reason people present to general practitioners in England and Wales. Br J Dermatol 165:1044-50

³ Ahmed A, Leon A, Butler DC et al. Quality-of-life effects of common dermatological diseases. Semin Cutan Med Surg 2013 Jun;32(2): 101-9

⁴ Mounessa J et al. Minimal improvements in the global burden of skin disease from 1990 to 2013. J Am Acad Dermatol Jan 2017; 76(1): 148–149

⁵ Hay RJ, Fuller LC. Global burden of skin disease in the elderly : a grand challenge to skin health. G Ital Dermatol Venereol, 2015 Dec; 150(6): 693-8

⁶ Lee SY Chang YS, Cho SH. Allergic diseases and air pollution. Asia Pac Allergy 2013 Jul; 3(3): 145-54

⁷ Puri P, Nandar SK, Kathuria S, Ramesh V. Effects of air pollution on the skin: A review. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2017 Jul-Aug;83(4):415-423

⁸ Krutmann J, Moyal D, Liu W et al. Pollution and acne: is there a link? Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol 2017 May 19;10: 199-204