A UK survey commissioned by the Vitiligo Society has revealed that almost two-thirds (63%) of patients diagnosed with the skin condition struggle with their mental health, causing the charity to call for greater awareness among healthcare professionals and the public.

The independent survey of over 700 people with vitiligo, the largest to be conducted in this patient population in the UK, found that eight in ten of those diagnosed with the condition felt that it negatively impacts their appearance and almost half (46%) reported feeling isolated and depressed.

The study also found that only 15% of patients felt informed about vitiligo, with a third feeling dismissed and confused when first speaking to a GP or healthcare professional. Two-thirds said they wanted better access to GPs and dermatologists and seven in ten wanted more information on how the condition can be treated.

Abbie Hurrell, director of the Vitiligo Society, said: “A vitiligo diagnosis should be the start of a journey filled with information and answers to help people come to terms with the mental and physical impact of this condition, yet sadly that is often not the case.”

The results also highlighted the social stigma associated with vitiligo. Almost four in ten patients said they struggle with being stared at or judged by others and more than a third (37%) reported using skin camouflage therapies to cover up their vitiligo, half of those doing so to feel more confident.

In order to “urgently address” the lack of awareness and understanding surrounding the condition, the Vitiligo Society has launched the #LetsTalkVitiligo campaign.

The campaign aims to publicise the results of the survey with national and regional media, with the findings brought to life by a video featuring the real stories of people living with vitiligo.