In the last decade, the importance of the measurement of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) has grown significantly. Today, HRQoL measurement is generally considered to be important in clinical trials, in the assessment of disease severity, in patient management and in the field of health economics. Therefore, a good understanding of the concept of HRQoL and its measurement instruments is a prerequisite for both researchers and clinicians. The European Academy for Dermatology and Venereology (EADV) Taskforce on Quality of Life encourages the application of HRQoL instruments in research and clinical practice, and with this manuscript, the Taskforce aims to contribute to the quality of this application. In dermatology, a large number of HRQoL instruments exist and herewith, we summarize the most commonly used generic and dermatology-specific HRQoL instruments. Information is given on the most important psychometric characteristics of these instruments, including: scale structure, reliability, validity and responsiveness. Furthermore, a flow chart is provided to support researchers and clinicians in selecting an existing instrument or, in case an appropriate instrument does not exist, in finding alternative solutions. The present manuscript is the first of a series of manuscripts to be written on behalf of the EADV Taskforce on Quality of Life, aiming to contribute to the scientific knowledge and measurement of patient reported outcomes in dermatological research and practice.