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World’s first study on happiness and skin conditions shows psoriasis causes mental health issues

Half of people with psoriasis say they have low self-esteem and 41% say they rarely feel confident.

A new digital study of its kind has proved what most people with skin conditions have known for a long time – living with a debilitating disease has an impact on their mental health.

The research designed in Denmark (ranked ‘the happiest nation on earth’ three times out of the last four years by the UN World Happiness Report) is the world’s first large-scale, cross-national digital study of the happiness levels of people living with a disease and found direct links between how happy a person feels and the condition of their skin.

The digital study of 1,400 people ahead of World Psoriasis Day shows those living with psoriasis are 24% less happy than the average Brit.

Half of people with psoriasis say they have low self-esteem and 41% say they rarely feel confident.

It also showed that people with psoriasis are more likely to be unhappy if they have a lower income or if their skin condition is on exposed parts of the body such as the face, hands or feet.

There are 1.8 million people in the UK living with psoriasis and nearly half say it has a very large effect on their lives and 35% often feel unable to control the important things in their lives.

Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian West, Cara Delevingne and Alan Carr having spoken publicly about their experiences of living with psoriasis seems to have had little impact on the way other people feel about the disease.

The research was conducted by the independent think tank Happiness Research Institute and LEO Innovation Lab an independent innovation unit established by LEO Pharma.

John Zibert, Chief Medical Officer at LEO Innovation Lab, said: “Previous focus has primarily been on quality of life which can be perceived differently by individuals, however, happiness is something we all can relate to.

“This important research is the first of its kind in the world and we now have documentary evidence of the impact that living with a chronic skin disease has on people’s lives.

“It shows that those living with psoriasis are not only physically affected by the disease, but also the psychological effect can be important.

“People with psoriasis see a decrease in their quality of life relating to decreased happiness, and are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, and may have suicidal thoughts.”

Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, said: “The UN’s World Happiness Report argues that happiness provides a better indicator of human welfare than income, poverty, education, health and good government measured separately.

“It says that people are happier living in societies where there is less inequality of happiness. Therefore our research is important to everyone regardless of whether or not they have a skin condition.

“To design effective social and economic policies, policymakers need a measure of individuals’ well-being and need to use the results to unearth different and more powerful ways to help people.”

Psoriasis campaigner, Holly Dillon, said: “It is so important to highlight and address that living with psoriasis is not just a skin condition. It is a condition that also has a huge effect on your mental and psychical health, and this is often overlooked. By gathering and monitoring individuals with psoriasis through the Pso Happy App we can finally address and have proof of how psoriasis affects individuals beyond the visible impact on the skin.

“This data will allow those living with psoriasis to feel in control and be aware of how the condition affects them, ensuring that they get the correct help in order to live well with psoriasis. Living with psoriasis should not mean that we should settle at being 24% less happy than others. We need to recognise these stats and put psoriasis on the health agenda to ensure everyone is having the best quality of life.

Do you live with psoriasis or know someone who does? The PsoHappy research is ongoing in its exploration of the wellbeing, happiness and quality of life of people living with psoriasis. Participate in the digital study here:


For more information:
Katy Pollard, 07808555705

Notes to Editors

WHO Global Report on Psoriasis

Dr Oleg Chestnov, Assistant Director-General, Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health, World Health Organization:

‘Much of the suffering caused by this common and complex disease can be

‘Many people in the world suffer needlessly from psoriasis due to incorrect or delayed diagnosis, inadequate treatment options and insufficient access to care, and because of social stigmatization.’

‘Governments and other partners have a key role to play in addressing the unnecessary social consequences of psoriasis by the challenging the myths and behaviours that lead to the exclusion of patients from health-care settings and daily life.’

Psoriasis – the facts

● Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales
● It is caused by increased production of skin cells
● It is not contagious
● Patches normally appear on the scalp, elbows, knees and back, but can appear anywhere on the body
● Psoriasis affects around 2-3% of people in the UK
● Symptoms can start at any age but mostly affect younger adults and those over 50 years old
● The severity of the condition varies greatly from person to person
● It’s a chronic disease that usually involves periods when you have no symptoms or mild symptoms, followed by periods when symptoms are more severe
● There’s no cure but symptoms can be managed

Happiness Research Institute is an independent think tank focusing on life satisfaction, happiness and quality of life.

Its mission is to inform decision makers of the causes and effects of human happiness, make subjective well-being part of the public policy debate, and improve the quality of life for citizens across the world.

LEO Innovation Lab is an independent unit, established by LEO Pharma as part of a long-term strategic decision to focus on patient needs. We don’t develop medical treatments – instead, we look at all the aspects of everyday life that can affect a person who has a skin condition. The solutions are focused primarily on e-Health and add-on devices.

LEO Innovation Lab is a small and agile unit, where innovation thrives and solutions are tested and brought to market at a fast pace. LEO Innovation Lab has satellites in Copenhagen, London, Paris, San Francisco and Toronto.

As LEO Pharma is owned entirely by the LEO Foundation and has no external shareholders, its profits are reinvested in the company to support the overall mission: To help people achieve healthy skin.