In June 2021 our friends at the Vitiligo Research Foundation launched their Quality of Life study. This study was designed to help researchers understand the impact of the disease. The idea was to compare the results to a similar study the Foundation ran in 2018. Run on a global scale the Vitiligo Society partnered with the Foundation to deliver the study in the UK.
The study in more detail
Vitiligo affects all ages, sexes and social groups and approximately 1-2% of the world population. It is typically characterised by smooth white patches in the midst or normally pigmented skin, which gradually expand over time. Besides skin manifestation, symptoms such as depression, anxiety and sleep disorders are very common in people affected by such conditions. Although primarily viewed as a benign skin condition, vitiligo has severe socioeconomic effects, which have a substantial impact on many aspects of physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
This was an online survey designed to compare Quality of Life measure of patients with vitiligo in different countries within the same timeframe that could potentially relate to region-specific burden of the disease. Of the Vitiligo Society the study has been useful in understanding the change in impact of vitiligo for UK participants over the last 3 years.
The study ran from the 30th May 2021 – 30th June 2021.
What were some of the key findings?
- 79% of participants reported feeling self conscious or embarrassed about their skin in the past week
- 64% of participants reported that their skin influenced the clothes they choose to wear
- 30% of participants reported that their skin has been a problem at work or whilst studying
- 29% of participants felt treatment caused problems by making their home messy or taking up time
- 20% of participants felt their skin created problems with their loved ones or friends
- Generally participants in 2021 displayed an improved quality of life compared to participants in 2018, however it’s clear vitiligo still impacted the lives of the majority of participants.
How do studies like this help our Society?
The Vitiligo Society can use these results to demonstrate the need for greater awareness of the condition and more effective treatments. Results like this influence our strategy and how we allocate our resources, they also help strengthen our conversations with partners and demonstrate how important the work we do is.