Whole handfuls of hair that remain in the shower, acne pimples that decorate the chin … Since the health crisis, it is not only the morale of the youth who took a hit, their
skin too. In any case, this is the conclusion of an investigation * for the
French Society of Dermatology that reveals in exclusivity 20 Minutes. Almost one in two young people have noticed the appearance or worsening of a dermatosis since the health crisis, that is to say between March 2020 and summer 2021.
“There are between 3,000 and 4,000 dermatoses,” explains Nicolas Dupin, president of the French Society of Dermatology. But not surprisingly, acne, hair loss and eczema are the top 3 that affect young people. The fault, for the first two, to the outburst of hormones. “Among young people, 28% see an onset and 20% a worsening of their skin problems. A particularly high result, which also surprised the specialist. “As it is declarative, they have not all been seen by a dermatologist, this result must be taken with a grain of salt, nuance the doctor. In the liberal world, activity declined, especially during the first wave. I did not notice a huge influx of these young patients in the consultations. But it is interesting to take this feeling into account. “
Stress, masks and lack of sun
How to explain this impressive proportion? Stress is obviously a lead. It plays a lot in hair loss, called theeffluvium télogène when it is excessive, temporary and affects the entire scalp. Stress also has an impact on acne, psoriasis and eczema. “When asked about the cause, these young people highlight stress, anxiety, isolation,” continues the dermatologist. The skin is not immune to what is going on in the head! In addition, a lot of inflammatory skin diseases, especially eczema, are improved by reasonable exposure to the sun. Containment, even less UV exposure may have participated. Finally, in the long term, the mask, yet practical as a hide-and-seek, risks aggravating skin problems. “It has an occlusive role which can accentuate acne”, continues the dermatologist at Cochin hospital (AP-HP). Basically,
the skin breathes less.
On the other hand, a possible change in diet does not seem to be part of the explanations, since these young people with skin problems have not gained or lost more weight than the others. The other information to note is that, contrary to what one might think, these aggravated skin diseases do not seem to be linked to stopping treatment or difficult access to care.
“In those who had skin diseases, we see two phenomena: some were more adherent to care, others were unable to have an appointment with their doctor”, continues Nicolas Dupin. Especially since more young people have taken care of their skin: 14% say they have delayed or interrupted their treatment, and 26% have followed it better. Knowing that many dermatologists offered teleconsultations during the first wave and since.
An impact on the quality of life
What attracts the attention of the president of the French Dermatology Society is also “the impact of skin disease on the perception of quality of life. What is unknown and probably true for the general population. In fact, according to the study, the quality of life score is lower in young people who report worsening or onset of a skin disease than in others. Another signal that confirms the discomfort: young people suffering from skin problems are more likely to feel the need for psychological support (49%) than the general population (34%). And the prescription of a psychotropic (antidepressant or anxiolytic) during the health crisis was more frequent among these young people affected by acne, pelade or eczema.
“Skin diseases are visible, showing, they have an impact on morale. And on self-esteem. One would have thought that spending two months without setting foot in college and coming back masked could help conceal complexing acne… “Self-image is also damaged”, nuances the dermatologist. Who ensures that this survey should invite doctors and society not to forget skin health. Especially if further restrictions were considered because of the fifth wave of
Covid-19… “If we still have to be confined, we should continue to provide assistance, why not from a distance, and not leave these young people isolated with their skin and psychological problems. “
* Study carried out by the Emma company from March 2020 to summer 2021 among 4,010 young people aged 18 to 25.