1 in 3 French people suffers from serious skin illness

Over 2,4 million people in France are said to suffer from psoriasis, the report says

One in three people in France has a serious skin complaint, with a new study highlighting how this can cause severe psychological problems as well as physical issues.

The French Society of Dermatology (Société française de dermatologie) has this week released a study named “Objectifs Peau” (Skin Objectives), showing that over 16 million people in France suffer from a skin illness of some kind, such as acne, psoriasis, eczema, alopecia or mycosis.

It is warning not just of the physical effect of the illnesses, but also of the potentially-significant psychological impact - for example, using the story of a grandmother suffering from psoriasis who has never been able to hold her own grandson, or a teenager who is severely bullied at school because of bad acne -  as reported by French news source 20 Minutes.

It highlights that over 3 million people in France aged 15 and over suffer from acne; 2,5 million from eczema or dermatitis; 2,4 million from psoriasis; 2,3 million from problems with the scalp and hair; and 2,2 million from mycosis, with over 80% of people who suffer from one skin condition also reporting problems with another, according to the study.

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Over half (54%) of people suffering from skin complaints said they had suffered from anxiety or depression as a result of their condition - a figure that the society is hoping to highlight.

It is hoped that by releasing the data in the report - which includes testimony from 40 000 people living with skin conditions -, more people will be better informed about the impact of skin conditions.

The society also says that these skin conditions are under-researched, and deserve to have a spotlight shone on them for the serious impact they can have on patients’ lives.

“Dermatology is not just aesthetic, but can actually point to serious and chronic illnesses,” explained Khaled Ezzedine, dermatologist at the Henri-Mondor hospital in Créteil, speaking to 20 Minutes.

“When you have diabetes or hypertension, no-one can see it, but if you have vitiligo, you cannot hide it. Acne is seen as nothing, but it is a real skin illness that happens to adolescents, and can provoke suicidal thoughts and real anxiety,” he said.

The head of the report, Charles Taieb, added: “Most of the time, with skin illnesses, we are able to help the physical side of things. But psychological health still suffers.”

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