15th March 2017 - Copenhagen

Half of people with psoriasis feel self-conscious about their appearance over the holiday period

But these concerns get better with age. Is this something we could learn from?

PsoHappy conducted in January 2017 a survey looking at how psoriasis can affect individuals over the holiday period. We analysed 645 responses submitted throughout the month. We learned that holidays can he hard on people with psoriasis, with half of them reporting they have been self-conscious about how they looked and approximately a third claiming they felt ashamed about their appearance during the winter holidays.

There is, however, a silver lining to this news: regardless of the psoriasis severity, our findings show that age brings resilience and perspective. Respondents over 40 years old reported significant lower scores when asked if they were worried about their appearance. This suggests that we could have something to learn from their wisdom - could altering people’s perception of their condition have a significant impact on happiness?

Methodology Details

The survey was conducted between 6th January and 24th January, with 645 people with psoriasis responding to 10 questions. In analysing the data, the option ‘Some of the time’ was excluded, being considered the neutral option.

This approach enables us to analyse how psoriasis impacts well-being and identify correlations between different factors.

This is a breakdown of where the responses came from:

  • UK: 214
  • United States: 103
  • Australia: 79
  • Ireland: 79
  • Canada: 62
  • Other: 108

PsoHappy aims to document the psoriasis happiness gap – exploring and addressing the well-being inequalities that people living with psoriasis experience across the world. We look to raise awareness of these issues and encourage change through knowledge sharing across nations and healthcare institutions.

Key Findings

Unsurprisingly, holidays can be hard for those living with psoriasis. On average, half of the respondents have felt conscious about their appearance and almost a third reported they felt ashamed about their looks during the festive season. Brits seem to be the most affected, with 67% saying they felt ashamed of their looks ‘most of the time’. In contrast, only 40% in the US reported the same level of distress in relation to their looks.

The good news is that people with psoriasis still enjoyed the social events of winter, with only an average of 12% of people across the seven countries saying they missed work related events during the winter holidays. Australians probably throw the best office parties, as only 6% of people with psoriasis missed work related events. On the other hand, 1 in 5 people with psoriasis in the UK missed at least one work related event because of their psoriasis.

Overall, respondents in the UK seem to have a more negative perception of themselves and their psoriasis. UK, Australia & Ireland are more self-conscious and more prone to feeling ashamed of how they look, whereas US & Canada appear more confident.

But for everybody the best day of this period was the day they spent with their family or their friends.

Age and Perspective

Across all the countries psoriasis severity influences considerably quality of life. However, the perception of it changes as people get older, suggesting that with age and perspective comes a better way of dealing with psoriasis and simply not allowing it to affect their mood.

So if you could change perspective yourself without waiting for age to do it then you could build more resilience on how you let psoriasis influence you.

Danes are happy about the future

88% of people in Denmark living with psoriasis say they feel optimistic about the future while countries like South Africa and the Philippines are less happy when they think about the future.

The respondents express their optimism in relations to holidays and self-acceptance when sharing their wishes of the future:

“To get lots of holidays and sun”
“To find a way of loving myself, even though I’m physically flawed”
“To find someone who will accept me for me”
“Wear short-sleeves T-shirt and shorts”

Gender matters - women get more affected during the holidays

491 of our respondents were women and 148 men (with 6 undeclared). While the distribution of psoriasis severity was similar between and men and women, women tend to be more negatively affected in almost all of the questions - and especially when it comes to how self-conscious they have been, and ashamed on how they look.

All equal in dreams and hopes.

When it comes to future and our hope for this year, people’s responses were focused on what everybody else dreams: better jobs, holidays, hopes for their families, their kids. But people with psoriasis also dream for things that others take from granted: to wear shorts and a t-shirt, to be pain-free, to be able to work again.

This reminds us how important our work is and use PsoHappy to continue to talk about how psoriasis influences happiness and well-being.

About PsoHappy

PsoHappy is developed by LEO Innovation Lab, an independent unit established by LEO Pharma focused on non-pharmaceutical solutions for skin conditions, in partnership with independent think tank The Happiness Research Institute.

This content is provided as a source of information only, and it is not to be relied on for any other purpose. Information is based on the following sources. All rights reserved.