People with benign skin condition willing to trade time, money to cure disorder

People with benign hyper-pigmentation (the darkening or increase in the natural color of the skin), are willing to pay (WTP) nearly 14 percent of their monthly income and approximately 90 minutes a day to cure their condition.

The study involved 85 adults with skin hyper-pigmentation who were surveyed on the number of hours per day they would be willing to give up as well as how much money they were willing to spend to potentially be cured of a condition.

“Our findings highlight the substantial effect that benign hyper-pigmentation has on quality of life as measured by the amount of time and money patients are willing to give up to rid themselves of disease,” explained corresponding author Neelam Vashi, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine and director of the Boston University Cosmetic and Laser Center at Boston Medical Center.

Hyper-pigmentation disorders comprise a large group of benign skin conditions and their prevalence may vary with race and ethnicity. Despite often being considered a cosmetic condition, Vashi has shown in her previous research that this common clinical complaint has been shown to negatively impact quality of life and psychosocial well-being of patients, especially when facial skin is involved.

According to the researchers these findings suggest that disease burden was overall severe in patients with hyper-pigmentation disorders, and measuring WTP and TTO may be useful in determining the daily impact of disease and treatment preferences. “We found that the WTP for a curative treatment was greater than that previously observed among patients with other skin diseases such as rosacea and vitiligo. This may suggest that hyper-pigmentation disorders have a greater impact on daily life or that patients expect to pay more out of pocket for conditions that are often considered cosmetic.”

The researchers point out that although the study is limited by sample size and design, the information collected on WTP preferences allow physicians to gauge the impact of hyper-pigmentation disorders on patients’ lives and may be useful to guide therapeutic decisions.

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