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Dermatology Online Journal

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Global skin diseases on Instagram hashtags


Recently named one of the most influential phoneapplications, Instagram continues to grow inpopularity [1]. Instagram consists of images andvideo posts, making it ideal for education andcommunication within the visual field of dermatology.In this study, we seek to determine the presenceof dermatology-related content with regard to themost common cutaneous diseases of the world. Wesearched the account types and hashtags associatedwith the eight most common skin diseases globallyas identified by the Global Burden of Disease (GBD)study by Hollenstein et al.: eczema, psoriasis, acne,pruritus, alopecia, decubitus ulcer, urticaria, andscabies [9]. The majority of Instagram accountsincluded patient experiences (n=73), private accounts(n=52), and disease advocacy and awareness groups(n=20), (total n=221). We further investigated over 2million skin disease hashtags. The greatest numbersof hashtags were the following: #acne (n = 1,622,626),#alopecia (n = 317,566), and #eczema (n = 196,115).Our results demonstrate that patients interact withone another through Instagram. As social networkingplatforms become more frequently used as a sourceof information for patients and patient support,medical professionals must gain awareness ofcontent available through Instagram and consider itas a means to educate the public.

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