The gloomy economic climate has led to a rise in stress-related skin conditions.
Problems such as psoriasis and eczema can often be caused or exacerbated by the kind of stress that comes with working hard and worrying about your job and finances.
Of course, this means that they can also be eased with stress-coping techniques.
But, more importantly, they can be treated by a dermatologist.
Sam Hunt, consultant dermatologist at St Mary’s Hospital in Portsmouth says: ‘With psoriasis and eczema, stress is a very real factor in driving the disease and most people who suffer from these conditions will have had a stressful event that may have caused them.
‘These people need specialist help and advice.’
She adds: ‘It’s very hard at the moment in the health economy.
‘GPs are being persuaded not to refer patients, but treatment is available for most skin conditions.
‘My advice for anyone with a skin complaint is to ask their GP for a referral to the hospital.
‘There are some revolutionary treatments that can transform peoples’ lives.’
That’s why she and her team are holding a free open day called Know The Skin You’re In.
It’s the second year that the event has been held.
Sam says: ‘It was such a success last year we decided to make it an annual event.’
The event takes place from 12.30pm until 5pm on Thursday, September 20 and offers a rare opportunity to go behind-the-scenes of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust’s dermatology department in Milton Road.
It gives people the chance to meet a variety of doctors nurses and other skin experts, including members of The Psoriasis Association, The Eczema Society, The Vitiligo Society and Changing Faces (cosmetic camouflage).
The day is designed to appeal to a wide variety of people, from those with serious concerns like cancer to those just interested in learning more about skincare.
There will be talks on common skin conditions every hal- hour.
Plus there’ll be the chance to talk to doctors and nurses about skin care in general, your own specific skin condition, sun protection and skin cancer avoidance (including mole checks).
‘The south coast is one of the most prevalent areas for skin cancer,’ explains Sam. ‘So it’s vital that people seek early intervention and take protective measures.’
Know The Skin You’re In will offer people an insight into what services the department offers as well as the chance to take advantage of skin cancer screening facilities and receive advice on sun protection.
Sam concludes: ‘Skin care is extremely important, so we are hoping many people take the opportunity to come and find out more and speak to one of our team.’