July 2021

A new British Skin Foundation survey finds over half of those with a skin condition feel judged because of it

More than half of those with a skin disease feel judged by others because of it, according to a new British Skin Foundation survey.  On top of that, a significant number of people with skin conditions say that it affects their mental health, everyday life and often leaves them feeling embarrassed.

We believe that skin and hair are intrinsic to people’s identity with four in five agreeing that their appearance is important to their general well-being. Sadly, one in five are unhappy with their skin and appearance in general, with almost all the people surveyed saying they would welcome more research into skin disease. 

Our survey results

Appearance and skin problems in British people

  • 83% of people believe that their appearance is important to their general wellbeing.
  • 53% of those with a skin disease feel judged by others due to their skin condition.
  • 20% are unhappy with their skin.
  • 18% are unhappy with their appearance in general.
  • 92% of people surveyed would welcome more research into all types of skin disease, including skin cancer.

    Of those with skin conditions now or previously:

  • 35% say that their skin condition affects their mental health.
  • 26% agree that they are often embarrassed by their skin condition.
  • 25% said that having a skin disease affects their everyday life.

Matthew Patey, Chief Executive Officer at the British Skin Foundation

It’s clear from the results of our latest survey that skin and appearance play a huge part in our mental health and happiness. 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. Our survey proves that the public are keen for more research into skin problems, which means we need your support today.

British Skin Foundation experts comment on the survey results

A link between the mind and skin has long been recognised Professor Andrew Thompson, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson says,

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.

Dr Anjali Mahto, Consultant Dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson agrees,

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. No one should have to feel alone or suffer in silence. Please consider seeking help from your GP or dermatologist if your skin is impacting your ability to live your life on a daily basis.

The British Skin Foundation has been funding skin research since 1996 to help find cures and treatments for a wide range of conditions. Increasingly, the psychological aspects of skin disease are rightly recognised for being just as important as the physical manifestations. We need your help to continue to fund this vital work.


The British Skin Foundation is currently in its 25th year and is keen to highlight the continuing need for skin disease and skin cancer research. We are holding our first ever Skin Research Day on Wednesday 14th July 2021 to share these statistics and highlight why more research into skin conditions are needed.

Help us fund more research    Watch our programme More than Skin Deep

By donating to skin disease research you are helping us to find treatments and cures for common conditions like eczema, acne and psoriasis through to potential killers like melanoma skin cancer. Thank you.