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Dermatology Online Journal

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Patient perceptions about nutrition and skin health: a survey study characterizing patient opinions and information resources


Background: Numerous studies in the clinical literature have explored the link between nutrition and skin physiology. However, it is unclear whether patients visit their dermatologists with knowledge of these studies, and unknown where they obtain their skin health information. We characterized patient perceptions surrounding nutrition and skin, including what patients identified as aggravating and alleviating foods and their information sources. Methods: We administered a questionnaire to 409 participants attending University of California (UC) Davis Dermatology and Pacific Skin Institute in Sacramento. This survey assessed their perception on the influence of nutrition. We stratified responses by diseases. Results: Of the 409 respondents, 83% believed that nutrition affects skin health. Respondents with healthy skin were not more likely to agree than those with skin conditions in general (P=0.34). Those with skin conditions also more likely received their information from reputable sources, defined as physicians and scientific journals (P=0.02). Additionally, respondents who disagreed were more likely informed by reputable sources (P=0.002), but when online blogs were included as reputable, this relationship was less significant (P=0.046). Conclusions: As online resources become more accessible, it is important for providers to know about changing patient perspectives. Our findings may help improve how dermatologists counsel patients about nutrition.

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