Patients would give up nearly one-fifth of their earnings for hyperpigmentation clearance

Even benign hyperpigmentation is viewed so negatively by people with the condition that they say they would pay up to 14% of their income and up to 90 minutes every day to be rid of it, according to researchers.

In a press release from May 21, 2019 outlining the study, corresponding author Dr. Neelam Vashi said: “Our findings highlight the substantial effect that benign hyperpigmentation 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.”

Dr. Vashi is an assistant professor of dermatology and director of the Boston University Cosmetic and Laser Center at Boston Medical Center.

The study, published online in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology (May 1, 2019), involved 85 adults with skin hyperpigmentation 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.

While benign hyperpigmentation conditions are often considered purely cosmetic, Dr. Vashi has conducted previous research that has shown these conditions negatively impact quality of life and psychosocial well-being of patients, especially when facial skin is involved.

The study authors note that their findings suggest that disease burden was, overall, severe in patients with hyperpigmentation disorders, and measuring Willingness to Pay (WTP) and Time Trade-Off (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 hyperpigmentation 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.”

While recognizing the study’s small sample size does limit the findings, Dr. Vashi and colleagues say that the WTP preference information will aid physicians in gauging the impact of hyperpigmentation disorders on patients’ lives and may be useful to guide therapeutic decisions.

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