As coronavirus infections continue to decline, many regions are finally reopening their outdoor pools. But for people with a visible skin disease, it can be troublesome if swimwear or summer clothing makes their skin problems even more visible.
Many people with skin diseases suffer not only from the direct symptoms of the disease, but also from discrimination and stigmatisation. This was revealed by scientific surveys of people with atopic dermatitis and psoriasis.
People experience different problems depending on their age: While toddlers with a skin disorder are mainly affected by the stress of their parents, children of kindergarten and primary school age are often teased or, in extreme cases, even shunned by their peers. In adolescents, self-confidence often suffers because of these experiences. This was revealed in a study by Pavel Chernyshov from 2016. As a result, this can lead to social isolation, mood swings and even depression.
Findings on the development of these skin diseases have led to major changes in terms of treatment options. Whereas previously the skin could only be treated externally, atopic dermatitis patients can now also benefit from therapy with biologics. Antibodies are available to counteract the inflammatory process. These are substances that not only improve and alleviate clinical symptoms, but also increase quality of life, says Michael Hertl, professor at the University Hospital of Marburg, at the recent annual conference of the DDG (German Dermatological Society).
Even children aged six years and older with severe atopic dermatitis now have a new treatment option: The European Commission approved Dupliumab as the first biologic for this age group at the end of 2020.
But “medicines alone, however good they may be, are not enough to have a lasting positive impact on the quality of life of the patients”, says Peter Elsner, Director of the Department of Dermatology at the University Hospital Jena, who is in charge of public relations at the DDG. “Together with patient initiatives, we need to develop concepts that help people in their professional lives and leisure time.”
Press release of the DDG (German Dermatological Society) for the 51st DDG conference on 8 April 2021 (in German)
Pavel V Chernyshov: Stigmatization and self-perception in children with atopic dermatitis. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol 2016;21(9):159-66