About us

Dermatitus and Allied Diseases Research Trust

Dermatrust carries out research, lab work on skin cancers and diseases. In addition, it supports the development of new therapies and the education of future researchers.

Visit our section on our work to find out about our research and more.

How common are skin diseases?

Skin diseases are incredibly common. One in four people in the UK has a skin problem that needs medical care. In fact skin problems are the commonest reason for people consult their general practitioner for a new problem and are one of the commonest reasons to be referred to hospital.

How can I support Dermatrust’s work?

With over 2000 skin diseases described, it is not surprising that skin problems are so common and so complicated. With your help, Dermatrust is helping to improve our understanding of these difficult and distressing conditions.
Find out more about where our money goes here or:

Donate Fundraise.

More about skin

Skin is wonderful

The skin is an amazing structure, that is larger than any other organ in the human body. The skin is not just an envelope, but a living tissue that is constantly working to protect the body.

Skin controls your temperature, chemical and water balance and protects you from bacteria, viruses, ultraviolet light and other dangerous external threats. The skin also plays a major role in the way we communicate and interact with each other every day.

What impact do skin diseases have on people?

Skin diseases are among the most distressing medical conditions. They cause a huge impact on the quality of people’s lives. For example, people with skin diseases are much more likely to have problems in obtaining employment. Common skin conditions such as psoriasis has been shown to have as much a psychological impact as life-threatening diseases such as heart disease or cancer. Skin diseases can be fatal: one in seventy people’s deaths in the UK is caused by skin diseases, double the number of deaths occurring because of cervical cancer.

What about skin cancer?

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the world and is becoming more common every year. Whilst most skin cancers are not life threatening and can usually be dealt with by a simple surgical procedure, melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer now causes more deaths in the UK than in Australia. Skin cancer cases are rising faster than any other type of cancer and there is an urgent need for more research and better treatment.

How else does the skin goes wrong?

The skin can go wrong in many different ways:

Conditions such as eczema and psoriasis are inflammatory skin diseases. In these conditions the skin becomes inflamed, weepy or in the case of psoriasis scaly and thick. Inflammatory skin diseases are often extremely uncomfortable and unsightly making people very self-conscious in social situations, at work and undertaking leisure activities such as swimming. Although these conditions are not infectious and pose no risk to others, people with inflammatory skin diseases often face prejudice and in the case of children, bullying.

Sometimes the body’s immune system can attack its own skin cells. These conditions are described as autoimmune skin diseases: In pemphigus and pemphigoid the body produces antibodies against its own skin, causing the skin to shear off and produce multiple blisters. Other autoimmune conditions can cause the sudden and disfiguring loss of pigment cells (in vitiligo) or hair (in alopecia areata), which can be very distressing.

Skin infections can occur due to bacteria, viruses or fungi. The herpes zoster virus for example, which is the cause of chicken pox, can suddenly become reactivated in later life to produce a painful blistering skin disease known as shingles. Shingles more commonly affects elderly patients and can leave an extremely painful discomfort that lasts for months. Dermatrust is actively researching the changes that occur in the skin as we age, to improve our understanding of the skin problems that affect older people.