Description & History

I had never imagined nor understood how debilitating a skin disease could be. Not merely superficial, skin diseases can cause serious pain and have long-term consequences such as years of hospitalization, forced job losses, and ramifications on relationships, as well as inviting the prejudice that can come with looking different, ill, or disabled in modern society. On the face of it, a skin charity might seem an unlikely choice in which to get involved with bearing in mind the serious nature of charities involved in cancer, aids, and other illnesses. However, it is that very fact that compelled me to set up Skin Deep Behind the Mask because, unlike some illnesses, so little is known and discussed when it comes to skin diseases that sufferers are often isolated and open to stigma. If there was more information and publicity surrounding skin disease perhaps more people would realize, as I have, that skin disease is absolutely not a superficial ailment, but rather one that can cause serious physical pain, distress and incapacity.

Unlike some illnesses, skin disease is very overt in nature and cannot be easily hidden. The emotional and psychological effects can be as debilitating as the physical complications. It can take its toll not only on the sufferers but on those who support and care for them

In order to achieve it’s objective of raising awareness and providing support to sufferers of skin disorders, the functions of the Organisation include: 

• To publicize and gain public support for the Organisation 
• To raise funds and receive contributions, where appropriate, for financing the organisation and its work. 
• To provide information and support to patients and their families in an open and confidential manner. 
• To raise awareness of skin diseases and the consequences for sufferers through education and media representation. 
• To take all necessary lawful action to attain the objectives of the Organisation Organise meetings, training courses and events. 

Patient Support
• To create opportunities for skin disease sufferers to address social isolation and to re-build their confidence and self-esteem through workshops, support groups and activities. 
• To facilitate patients and their families in getting the specialised care they require by acting as a resource of specialised doctors, counsellors and facilities. 
• To assist patients in coping with their disease by providing information, and organising support groups, lectures and activities aimed at rehabilitation and counselling. 
• To encourage sufferers to live as full a life as possible by providing a positive and safe environment to discover talents, learn new skills, enjoy hobbies or return to work after a medical absence. 

Collaborative Working
• To raise awareness of skin diseases in the medical community and to advocate increased support for sufferers by highlighting the ramifications on patients’ lives. 
• To promote equal opportunity in the workplace by providing information and support to patients and their employers. 
• To promote and raise funds for the research, prevention and treatment of dermatological conditions. 
• To promote international standards with respect to food, biological, pharmaceutical and similar products. 
• Co-operate and support statutory and voluntary agencies engaged in the furtherance of the above objectives in the UK and abroad

About the organisation

SKIN DEEP Behind the Mask (SDBM)

Shabana Islam
Organisation’s website: