Recession is bad for the skin as stress triggers rise in itchy conditions
Psychological stresses that can trigger skin conditions or fuel flare-ups need to be taken more seriously, say experts



02:44 GMT, 31 July 2012

The recession could be bad for your skin.

Nine in ten dermatologists have noted a marked a rise in eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions triggered by stress since the credit crunch hit, a survey found.

With the distress of skin conditions leading some sufferers self-harming and even contemplating suicide, The British Skin Foundation said it is important to address any underlying emotional problems that are triggering the physical symptoms.

Bad skin Stress caused by the recession has been blamed

Bad skin Stress caused by the recession has been blamed

The snapshot survey of 105 doctors and nurses who specialise in skin conditions found that 41 per cent had seen a noticeable increase in stress-related skin conditions.

Five per cent cited a ‘huge’ increase and almost half had seen a slight increase.

The poll, which was carried out at the British Association of Dermatologists’ annual conference earlier this month, showed the recession to be taking its greatest toll in eczema sufferers.

However, there were also rises in acne, psoriasis, characterised by dry red patches of skin covered with silvery scales, and vitiligo, in which pale patches appear on the skin.

Almost half of the dermatology doctors and nurses questioned said that the psychological stresses that can trigger skin conditions or fuel flare-ups need to be taken more seriously.

Many said that counselling should more readily available on the NHS.

The call follows previous research by the BSF which found that many sufferers of skins disease have been verbally abused in public.

One in six of the 729 men and women surveyed said their skin condition had led to them self-harming and seven admitted to having thought about suicide.

BSF spokesperson Dr Anthony Bewley, a consultant dermatologist, said: ‘Patients with skin disease feel enormously upset about their skin condition, as it affects their self-confidence and self-esteem in so many ways.

‘All too often, the impact of skin disease is under-estimated. Many patients consider their skin conditions to be more psychologically damaging than diabetes or heart disease.’

Bevis Man, also of the BSF, said: ‘The recession brings with it a set of problems that add further stress and misery to the millions that already live with a skin disease in the UK.’

However, previous research has suggested that when times are hard, our health improves because we are forced to cut back on indulgences like rich food, drinking and smoking.

For instance, despite unemployment in the US rising to almost 25 per cent during the Great Depression of 1929 to 1933, life expectancy rose and deaths from heart disease, flu, cancer and car crashes fell.