Survey results: Is summer skin affecting your mental health?

As part of our ‘A Hand to Hold campaign’, we recently asked the British public to take part in our short Summer Skin Survey so we could help determine how skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis, affect mental health.

We received a vast response, with over 1200 people participating, which was perhaps unsurprising as one in five children and one in ten adults are living with a sensitive skin condition in the UK.[1] But how many of those are struggling to cope with their condition emotionally?

Our survey revealed that 48% of people feel sad because of their skin condition, 68% feel frustrated and 66% feel embarrassed, with one participant stating; “I am highly aware of my problematic skin. It does affect my confidence and unfortunately, I do tend to hide myself away.”

Sadly this was the case for many of our participants, with another commenting: “I feel really self-conscious of my skin and it does affect my confidence.”

As we delved deeper, this became unsurprising as more than a third of those surveyed said they had experienced cruel comments or looks of disgust from strangers. One participant, in particular, commented on behalf of her child and said; “My daughter and I were on the bus going into town and a lady said ‘why can’t you sit at the back of the bus so nobody will catch it?’” Comments like these can have a detrimental effect on a person’s mental health, with 43% of people saying they feel very alone due to not having the right support. Many even said they turn to alcohol and hide away from the world as a coping mechanism.

We further discovered the following statistics:

  • 35% said summertime makes skin worse
  • 24% won’t wear swimwear
  • 39% can’t wear make-up
  • 51% avoid going out
  • 10% feel very isolated

Fortunately, a variety of positive coping mechanisms were shared by those surveyed, as one participant stated: “I tell myself how good I am, how no one is actually looking at my skin. I try to focus on my achievements and try to find at least one positive thing about myself a day. I keep a record of my achievements.” Further coping mechanisms included meditation, reading, listening to music, talking and walking.

If you feel like you need someone to talk to, consider speaking to your GP or a counsellor. Mental health charity MIND can also help you find the support you need. Visit www.mind.org.uk, call the Mind Infoline on 0300 123 3393 or send a text to 86463. Keep an eye out for our confidence tips blog which you will be able to read soon: http://www.qvskincare.co.uk/news-vlogs/

[1] Lewis-Jones S and Mugglestone MA. Management of atopic eczema in children aged up to 12 years: summary of NICE guidance. BMJ 2007; 335(7632): 1263-1264.Lewis-Jones S and Mugglestone MA. Management of atopic eczema in children aged up to 12 years: summary of NICE guidance. BMJ 2007; 335(7632): 1263-1264.