29th October 2016 - Copenhagen

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

Introduction to PsoHappy

PsoHappy, a first of its kind study, aims to explore and understand the relationship between living with psoriasis and happiness.

Happiness is increasingly becoming a way of measuring the progress of nations and regions. Using methodologies and learnings from the UN World Happiness Report, we aim to explore the impact psoriasis has on the level of well-being and well-being distribution. Our goal is to contribute to the effort to improve quality of life for people living with psoriasis by documenting their levels of happiness and exploring what works when it comes to living well.

This report is the summary of the insights we’ve gathered from 1,400 users who completed more than 4,000 surveys between 24th May and 20th October 2016.

We plan to release new data and insights as our user base continues to grow.

PsoHappy methodology

PsoHappy explores different indicators of quality of life such as: subjective well-being, self-esteem, loneliness, stress, physical discomfort. The study uses well-established methodologies like the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) and Cantril Ladder, as well as original methodologies in well-being and living with skin conditions.

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

The PsoHappy app is available for free on AppStore and GooglePlay. People living with psoriasis who want to be part of the study simply download the app, register anonymously and answer short weekly surveys.

Key Insights

The results of the surveys completed between 24th May and 20th October 2016 show those living with psoriasis are between 12% and 24% less happy than the average person.

In Denmark, “the happiest nation on earth” three times out of the last four years by the UN World Happiness Report, people with psoriasis have 12% lower levels of happiness, while de difference raises to 20% for the US and 24% for the UK.

Insights into happiness and living with psoriasis

Half of people who are part of the PsoHappy study say they have low self-esteem and 41% say they rarely feel confident.

The study has 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.

When answering the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI), almost half (49.2%) report that living with psoriasis has had a large impact on their quality of life and 35% often feel unable to control the important things in their lives.

The data specialists at The Happiness Research Institute have also discovered that answers around feeling in control, feeling confident  and optimistic  have correlations twice as strong with happiness than does feeling loved.

In less specialised terms, this means that people with psoriasis need more to feel in control, to feel confident and have an optimistic outlook to be happy.

It is hard to feel good about things when all I have experienced since this disease onset has been feeling worse.
I don´t feel useful. I feel I am a burden. I don´t want to do anything because I don´t think I physically can. I am highly frustrated.
Anonymous User, 52, USA

Reactions and comments

Meik Wiking, CEO of The Happiness Research Institute:

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.

Watch Meik Wiking explaining the key insights in this report

Psoriasis campaigner Holly Dillon:


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 PsoHappy 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 effects 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.

John Zibert, Chief Medical Officer at LEO Innovation Lab, Ph.D., M.Sc., B.Sc.:

The PsoHappy study has shown what most people with skin conditions have known for a long time – that living with a debilitating skin disease has an impact on mental health.

Previous research has focused primarily on quality of life, which can be perceived differently by individuals. However, happiness is something we all can relate to.

Do you suffer from 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.

About Psoriasis

According to the Global Report on Psoriasis by World Health Organisation, psoriasis is a serious global problem with at least 100 million individuals affected worldwide.

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.

Key facts:

  • Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales
  • An increased production of skin cells contribute to lesions
  • It is not contagious
  • Patches primarily appear on the scalp, elbows, knees and back, but can appear anywhere on the body
  • 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 for most individuals

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.
  • World Happiness Report 2016 Update (Vol. I) by Helliwell, J., Layard, R., & Sachs, J. New York: Sustainable Development Solutions Network
  • PsoHappy Survey 2016 (1) by analysis of data gather between 24th May and 20th October 2016; sample size: 1,384 users of PsoHappy app
  • WHO Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data Global report on psoriasis. 1.Psoriasis – epidemiology. World Health Organization. ISBN 978 92 4 156518 9 (NLM classification: WR 205)