Survey results for

July/September: Skin Conditions Survey August 2015

Skin conditions are extremely common and can have a huge impact on day to day life. Each year, approximately 24% of the population will visit their GP with a skin complaint, making skin conditions the most frequent reason for people to consult their doctor with a new problem.1

So, ahead of our Online Clinic on Skin Conditions (now open for questions) we ran a survey to find out more about the skin conditions you are living with, the treatments you are using and how these affect your day to day lives. Nearly 900 people completed the survey with everyone either living with a skin condition or caring for someone with a skin condition.

What conditions are our members living with?

We wanted to find out which skin conditions are having the most impact on people’s lives so we asked you to focus on the skin condition that affects you the most, as well as looking at the severity.

Eczema or Dry Skin: 42% living with eczema or dry skin experience ‘severe’ symptoms. The most common symptoms include skin sensitivity, itching, inflamed skin or a recurring rash. Less common symptoms include dark patches or skin lesions. The most popular treatment used for treating eczema are emollients with over 75% using them to control their symptoms. Topical steroids are also popular and used by 40% of those who took part. Less common treatments include coal tar (7%) or oral steroids (8%).

Rosacea: Interestingly, 40% of those living with rosacea also experience ‘severe’ symptoms. The most common symptoms include red, inflamed skin (89%), intense itching (47%), dry skin (51%) and a recurring rash (53%). Less common symptoms experienced include scaly skin (13%), areas of swelling (21%) and skin lesions (9%). We found emollients to be the most popular treatment with 43% using emollients to treat their symptoms. Other common treatments included oral antibiotics and / or a change in diet. Less popular treatments were coal tar and calcineurin inhibitors, a type of immunosuppressive drug that inhibits or prevents activity of the immune system.

Acne:  37% of those living with acne experience ‘severe’ symptoms. The most common symptoms include blackheads (87%), whiteheads (80%) or redness (63%) with a less common symptom being visible blood vessels (20%). The majority of those who took part told us they are using creams or washes to control their symptoms. Other commonly used treatments include metronidazole, a type of antibiotic, or azelaic acid antibacterial type of cream of gel.

Psoriasis: 47% of those living with psoriasis experience ‘severe’ symptoms. The most common symptoms include scaly areas (92%), red inflamed skin (79%), intense itching (70%) and dry skin (65%). Other less common symptoms include areas of swelling (14%) and skin lesions (13%). 79% use emollients to treat their symptoms making it the most popular form of treatment, followed by topical steroids (53%). Other less commonly used treatments include coal tar (21%), medicated talcum powder (6%) and 1% are using calcineurin inhibitors.

Emotional Support

Living with a skin condition such as eczema, psoriasis or acne, for example, can have a big impact on people’s lives and often causes an intense emotional strain on confidence and mental health. It was little surprise that 62% of those who completed our survey feel anxious or depressed about their symptoms. Interestingly, of those who had been diagnosed with their particular skin condition by a medical professional, a massive 96% were not offered any emotional support or counselling. The survey indicates that there seems to be an unmet need in terms of the emotional side of living with a skin problem.

How We Can Support You

So how can we support you?  The results from our survey suggest that those needing support know where to look for help, with most either visiting their GP or looking on the Internet.

Online Clinic on Skin Conditions - If you or a loved one need support and advice on anything skin related then why not take part in our Online Clinic on Skin Conditions from 14-18 September, but open now so you can start posting questions. Clinical experts will be available to answer those questions about issues surrounding eczema, sensitive & dry skin, psoriasis, acne, rosacea, skin cancer and many other skin conditions from 14 September. Our clinic is also supported by leading skin care charities including; Acne PSP, BAD, The British Skin Foundation, Skin Deep and The Psoriasis Association, who will all be involved in the clinic to give support and advice.

Twitter Chat - We are also teaming up with Molnlycke, the company behind Epaderm Cream to run a Twitter chat on 16 September from 12pm-1pm. We will be discussing all things skin related including application of emollients, avoiding flare ups and much more. To join in simply use the following hashtag from midday on 16 September - #talkskin. Follow us on Twitter too using @talkhealth.

We look forward to talking with you either in our clinic and/or during our Twitter Chat.

[1] Independent King’s Fund report finds major failings in NHS services for people with skin diseases

Congratulations to our winner this month Gill K

If you're interested in a detailed analysis of the results for these surveys please contact us.