The National Eczema Society uses the terms eczema and dermatitis interchangeably1. Similarly, the British Association of Dermatologists describes dermatitis as “a type of inflammation of the skin,” and takes the view that “dermatitis and eczema mean the same thing”2. However, the NHS uses eczema as an umbrella term for “a group of skin conditions that cause dry, irritated skin,” which includes contact dermatitis3 and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology defines dermatitis as “an inflammation of the skin resulting from a variety of different causes, including eczema”4.

Since these two terms are understood to be different by members of the public / consumers, the real world data includes both – eczema and dermatitis. The report also looks at the impact and prevalence of psoriasis in the UK.

The new Skin Life Sciences Foundation real world data highlights the extent of the nation’s skin problems, with 41% of the adults questioned reporting eczema symptoms and another 14% impacted by psoriasis. Worryingly, in the same real world research data 3% said they suffered from all three conditions.

Increased hand hygiene is taking its toll with:

1 %

of respondents saying it has led to problems, with the most commonly reported issue being dryness (59%)

1 %

experienced cracked skin, a similar number (30%) suffered soreness and 16% have been so badly affected their skin has bled

1 %

reported challenges, with dry hands as the most common problem (52%), followed by soreness (30%) and cracked skin (28%) caused by increased use of cleaners and sanitisers

1 %

said cleaners and sanitisers caused their skin to bleed

Overall, almost three quarters (72%) of those questioned complained that hand washing because of the coronavirus had led to a flare-up or deterioration in their eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis.

“These levels of skin damage should not be inevitable, and the more quickly sufferers seek help, the better,” advises Dr Nisa Aslam.

Yet, the Skin Life Sciences Foundation data reveals that only a third of people experiencing eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis have consulted a doctor and only 15% have seen a dermatologist. One in seven (15%) have not sought any advice from a healthcare professional.

The Skin Life Sciences Foundation research also reveals some curious differences in the demographics of dermatology

Overall, women are more likely to report problems, with 64% confirming they have suffered eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis compared to 55% of men.

The women surveyed were also more likely to have eczema or psoriasis — 46% and 15% respectively compared to rates of 35% and 13% in men.

Men were slightly more likely to report problems with dermatitis: 16% versus 14%, yet generally dermatitis is more common in women, with some European countries showing a significant variation in rates of diagnosis.

It’s possible that men are more likely to use the more generic term ‘dermatitis’ when describing their skin issues, but recent epidemiological data does suggest that in the UK at least, men and women are affected equally5.

The Skin Life Sciences Foundation real world life data found much lower levels of dermatitis in older adults, with 9% of over-60s reporting issues, compared to 11% to 19% across the younger age groups6. Again this aligns with recent epidemiological data7.