Disfigurement: Psychosocial Impact and Coping

Sreedhar Krishna
Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, UK

© 2009 Sreedhar Krishna

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London, SW7 2AZ, UK; Tel: +44 208 908 3723; Fax: +44 208 968 1947; E-mail:


Using the prism of skin disease, this short letter examines the overall impact that disfigurement can have on sufferers’ lives. Often trivialised by health professionals and laypeople alike, the common misconception that skin disease is not ‘serious’ is challenged. Looking in turn at the overall psychosocial impact and psychiatric co-morbidities, the effects of stigmatisation are examined as well as the coping strategies to which patients turn. By providing a brief overview of the factors that must be considered in clinic, the worthiness of adopting a holistic approach to one’s patients is emphasised.