A third of people with a skin condition say it affects their mental health

More than a third of people who have a skin condition say it negativly impacts their mental health, and over half feel judged by others because of it, according to a new survey from the British Skin Foundation.  

Among the 201 people surveyed in June, 83% believe that their appearance is important to their general wellbeing and 20% feel unhappy with their skin. 92% would welcome more research into all types of skin disease, including skin cancer.

Of those who have a skin condition now, or previously had one, 35% said their skin condition affects their mental health and 53% feel judged by others because of it. 

Meanwhile a quarter 25% said that having a skin disease affects their everyday life and a similar number (26%) feel embarrassed by their skin condition.

Dr Anjali Mahto, Consultant Dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson said, “Sadly, I don't find these statistics a shock or surprise as this data mirrors very much what many of us see in clinic. 

“We can no longer ignore the growing links between the skin and mind; skin conditions are not simply cosmetic or beauty issues and those who are suffering need to be taken seriously."

Professor Andrew Thompson, consultant clinical psychologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson said, “We know from a multitude of studies conducted by myself and other researchers working in this area, that skin disease is associated with higher risk of experiencing psychological distress.

"Whilst there may be both complicated physiological and psychosocial reasons why skin conditions are linked to feelings of anxiety and depression, the good news is that psychological treatment can help and consequently it’s important to seek help as soon as symptoms of depression or anxiety are noticed.”

Matthew Patey, chief executive of the British Skin Foundation added, “Whilst the skin is the body’s largest organ, most people underestimate its importance, dismissing skin issues as simply cosmetic. 

“They wouldn’t downplay disease concerning other organs in the body so easily. At the British Skin Foundation, we are working to find cures and treatments for all types of skin disease, including skin cancer.” 

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