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Skin Health Q2 2022

Changing public awareness of skin health over the years

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Matthew Patey OBE

CEO, British Skin Foundation 

Skin health was not a common topic a few decades ago, but through advancements in technology, scientific research and cultural shifts, we are now understanding the importance of taking care of our skin.

Head back 25 years and you would find a world where the Spice Girls are still together, Titanic is in the cinema and the sound of dial-up internet is ringing in our ears. A lot has changed in the last two and half decades and amongst all the cultural shifts, the world of dermatology has seen a seismic change.

Rise in skin health interest

When the British Skin Foundation was launched in 1996, dermatology was reserved primarily for those within the medical profession. If you asked people on the street about their skincare routine, you would have been met with many blank faces, 25 years has changed that. With the invention of the internet and the democratisation of information, the perception of dermatology changed. The public slowly realised the importance of looking after their skin and began to take an interest, both medically and cosmetically. With this surge in interest, there was a clear demand for scientifically backed research presented in an easy-to-understand way.

Research shows that our skin is intrinsically linked with our self-confidence.

The culture around our skin has shifted. We are now constantly photographed, curating an image of ourselves to share over social media. We have an unprecedented desire to look after our skin cosmetically and research shows that our skin is intrinsically linked with our self-confidence.

Awareness of skin conditions

We are also increasingly aware of the signs of skin disease, the treatments available to us and methods of prevention. Whilst 25 years ago sun cream might have been hastily applied on a summer’s day, the importance of daily SPF is now common knowledge. We are more aware than ever before of how important science and research is and being able to access that information gives us power over our skin health. Being able to carry out your own research, accessing information about your condition and contacting your doctor from a place of knowledge is not only beneficial to you but is often encouraged by medical professionals themselves.

Accessing reliable information

The British Skin Foundation began solely as a research body, funding projects that investigated all types of skin conditions. Whilst that is still a fundamental pillar of the charity, education and information has now become equally important. In a world of far-reaching misinformation, providing a reliable source that allows everyone to learn about their own skin conditions has never been so important.

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