Stress from the recession is causing an increase in skin problems

The United Kingdom has now been stuck firmly into the grip of a recession since 2008, causing millions of people to be made redundant in the last few years. With so many families now struggling to afford even the most basic things in life, nationwide stress levels are at an all-time high and most worryingly, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.

However this stress and tension could be bad for your skin and scalp, according to a survey conducted by the British Association of Dermatologists at their annual conference. This adds to hormone imbalances and poor lifestyle choices as the ever-growing number of causes for acne, dandruff, seborrhoeic dermatitis and other related problems.

Researchers involved in the snapshot survey of 105 dermatologists, found that 41% had noticed a rise in skin conditions triggered by stress, such as eczema and psoriasis, since the start of the credit crunch four years ago.

Half of the skin experts commented that they had witnessed a ‘slight’ increase of skin problems, whilst 5% claimed they had actually seen a ‘huge’ increase. Medical Specialists Pharmacy can concur with these survey results as since we expanded our range of products, we have witnessed a surge in sales for chemist shop items like T/Gel and Nizoral shampoo, both of which are used to treat dandruff and seborrhoeic dermatitis. Not only this, but we are inundated with high numbers of female patients who are seeking help for their acne through medications such as Dianette or Spironolactone.

British Skin Foundation spokesperson Dr Anthony Bewley, a consultant dermatologist, spoke out on how the underestimated emotional impacts that skin problems can cause major stress for their sufferers, saying, “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.”

Dr Bewley made his comments after learning that the results of the survey had found that roughly a sixth of the 729 men and women involved in the survey had admitted they had self-harmed because of their skin condition, with seven people further saying that they had even contemplated taking their own life.

Another member of the British Skin Foundation, Bevis Man, added to Dr Bewley’s comments and he 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.”

Although it seems acne, dandruff, etc. are on the increase. Perhaps other areas of health may strangely see a benefit. It has long been thought that in times of financial difficulty, we tend to skimp and reduce expenditure on indulgences like takeaway meals, alcohol and smoking. These three reductions usually lead to much better health. In fact, during the US Great Depression of 1929 to 1933, life expectancy increased and deaths related to heart disease, cancer, flu and vehicle accidents decreased. Amazingly, this was all occurring despite an unemployment increase of nearly 25%.

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