Ranked as the fourth most common cause of human illness, skin diseases increasing with age are more frequent in elderly men than in women Supplied

Ranked as the fourth most common cause of human illness, skin diseases increasing with age are more frequent in elderly men than in women, say researchers.

The study, published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, showed that skin diseases are more prevalent than thought earlier, but many affected people do not consult a physician. 

Over 70 per cent elderly men were found suffering from skin diseases, which is more than women (58 per cent). 

"Skin diseases might be even more prevalent than previously thought. Considering their significant impact on individual, family and social life, as well as their heavy economic burden caused by inadequate self- or non-physician treatment, the public health importance of skin diseases is underappreciated," said Alexander Zink, of the Technical University of Munich. 

For the study, the team included 2,701 individuals. 

Of these, at least one skin abnormality was observed in 1,662 of the participants (64.5 per cent). 

The most common diagnoses were actinic keratosis (26.6 per cent), rosacea (25.5 per cent), and eczema (11.7 per cent). 

But nearly two-thirds of the affected participants were unaware of their abnormal skin findings.

"Information and awareness campaigns are needed to better address this neglected issue and to reduce the global burden of skin diseases," Zink added.

IANS