What is the global prevalence of pitted keratolysis?

Updated: Jul 30, 2018
  • Author: Linda J Fromm, MD, MA, FAAD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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International incidence rates of pitted keratolysis vary significantly based on the environment and occupation. Prevalence rates of pitted keratolysis have ranged from 1.5% of 4325 Korean industrial workers [17] to 2.25% (11 of 490 subjects randomly evaluated) in New Zealand. [5] In addition, 2.6% of 378 Turkish male adolescent and postadolescent boarding school students had pitted keratolysis, [18] and, in a 2-year study from Belgium, only 4.8 cases of pitted keratolysis occurred per 1000 dermatology visits. [19] In a study of 1012 patients with atopic dermatitis from Nigeria, only 19 (1.8%) had pitted keratolysis. [20] However, 66 (23.3%) of 283 Korean coal miners [17] and 341 (42.5%) paddy field workers in costal South India had pitted keratolysis due to persistent exposure to moist environments. [21]

In the tropical military setting, where heat, humidity, and boots combine to produce a microenvironment that predisposes to pitted keratolysis, prevalence rates are much higher. Of the 387 volunteer United States soldiers evaluated in South Vietnam, 53% had pitted keratolysis. [22] However, the incidence of pitted keratolysis in all military soldiers may not be so high because only 108 (12.8%) of 842 Korean soldiers were diagnosed with pitted keratolysis. [23] In 184 German athletes examined, 25 (13.5%) had pitted keratolysis. [24]

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