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Not just skin deep - the mental health impact of dry skin conditions

Pruritis/dry skin
Every year one in four people consult a healthcare professional for a skin-related problem

My eczema has caused me to develop anxiety and depression… has ruined my life1

Every year one in four people consult a healthcare professional for a skin-related problem and there are 13 million primary care consultations for skin diseases annually in the UK2. Various topical treatments may be prescribed, but patients are rarely asked ‘How are you feeling?’ yet the mental health impact of skin conditions can be severe. It is known that atopic dermatitis is strongly associated with depressive and anxiety symptoms3.

Also, up to 20% of patients with psoriasis have clinically significant depression and a greater risk of suicide3.

The severity of the skin problem does not necessarily correlate to the level of mental health problem experienced. A skin condition with physical symptoms classified as ‘mild’ can result in severe mental health issues4. These issues have an impact on treatment adherence and outcome as well as exacerbating the course of skin disease5.

A 2020 report from the APPG found that 98% of people with skin problems believe their condition has a negative impact on their psychological well-being1. 5% reported thoughts of hopelessness and suicidal ideation. Experiences of isolation, embarrassment, shame, depression, and anxiety were found to be common. Stigmatisation, discrimination and a lack of social acceptance and understanding is experienced daily for some people with skin disorders1.

The report outlined the urgent clinical need for healthcare professionals to be equipped with the necessary skills and resources to provide the holistic care that patients need. This should include patient assessments and care that treats the mind and skin together. Otherwise, skin problems will continue to create psychological problems that in turn exacerbate the skin condition, and this vicious circle will not be broken.

Dry skin conditions and mental health CPD accredited webinar

Dr Roger Henderson, GP with a special interest in dermatology, is presenting a new CPD accredited webinar where the links between dermatology and mental health are discussed; and a more holistic approach to management is considered.

‘The impact of dry skin conditions on mental health’ CPD accredited webinar is designed for all healthcare professionals with responsibility for dermatology conditions. It is free to attend and will last for an hour with an opportunity for live Q&As at the end.

Everyone registering for the webinar will receive a link to practical resources to help manage mental health associated with dry skin conditions.

This webinar is sponsored by Thornton & Ross. It may contain promotional content. The views are those of the speaker

When: Wednesday 17th November 2021

Time:19.30 – 20.30 (including Q&A)

To register your interest, visit:


  • 1. All Party Parliamentary Group on Skin, 2020, Mental Health and Skin Disease Report
  • 2. Levell NJ,Dermatology, 2013, Royal College of Physicians
  • 3. Lada G, Talbot PS, Bewley A, Kleyn CE. Mental health and dermatology practice in the COVID-19 pandemic. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2020;45(7):816-817
  • 4. Augustin M (2013) Cumulative life course impairment: identifying patients at risk. In Dermatological Diseases and Cumulative Life Course Impairment. Karger Publishers. 44, pp.74-81.
  • 5. Fortune DG, Richards HL, Kirby B, McElhone K, Markham T, Rogers S, Main CJ, Griffiths CEM (2003) Psychological distress impairs clearance of psoriasis in patients treated with photochemotherapy. Arch Dermatol 139(6): 752-756