Task 1B: Exploratory Research 2

I have decided to focus on the stigma against skin conditions for this design project. A stigma is currently defined as a discrediting mark, biological or social, that sets a person off from others and disrupts interactions with them. Dermatological patients are prone to stigmatisation as the condition affects the outer appearance of the patient drastically, and is obvious to the eyes of the public.

2 surveys were made to gain further insights as to how skin conditions can affect the diagnosed person’s quality of life and why a stigma against people with skin conditions exists.

Survey 1: For people diagnosed with skin conditions

This questionnaire served to understand how skin conditions affect the person diagnosed, and the challenges faced in their daily lives.

Below are the questions and some responses from the questionnaire:

What skin condition are/ were you diagnosed with?

What part of the skin condition affected you the most?

Have you ever been shunned upon/ excluded due to the skin condition?

Did the skin condition affect your self esteem? If so, please specify how.

Why do you think the public tends to respond to skin conditions negatively?

Have you ever come across campaigns/ projects about skin conditions? What are your views on the campaigns and its effectiveness?

Survey 2: For people without any skin conditions

This questionnaire served to understand how much of a stigma exists amongst the public, and their reasons and misconceptions behind the stigma.

Below are the questions and some responses from the questionnaire:

Do you feel uncomfortable when you are around people with skin conditions?

Do you feel uncomfortable interacting (eg. touching) a person with skin conditions?

If your answer to the previous question is yes, please specify why.

If you had a better understanding of various skin conditions, would your reaction to people with these conditions be different?

Further Research

According to research at the American Academy of Dermatology, 68 percent of 56 healthy volunteers would find someone with skin conditions unattractive as well as be ashamed to have it themselves. 41 percent would feel uncomfortable with someone who has skin conditions, and 14 percent would avoid hiring them. Feeling stigmatised for skin conditions has also shown to cause quality of life to be poorer amongst sufferers.

The researcher has lamented that these are astonishing results as skin conditions such as acne can be common, yet there is a lack of empathy and understanding of the conditions.


The stigmatisation of skin conditions is certainly caused by misconceptions and a lack of understanding from the public, affecting the patients quality of life. With these research results, tackling stigmatisation can be approached from the patients’ point of view and the public point of view. It is important for patients to understand that having skin conditions is nothing to be ashamed of and their self esteem does not need to be affected by the public. On the other hand, the public needs enhanced knowledge of skin conditions and understand that a person with skin condition will not spread their condition to others.

Task 1A Exploratory Reserch

Isolation of the Elderly 

Old age comes with the challenge of isolation, loneliness and depression. Singapore is one of the most rapidly aging countries and Asia and has to place more importance on the predicament of the elderly. The number of elderly households in Singapore is increasing because of the pervasiveness of smaller families and the growing trend of more people to stay single.

Isolation, which could lead to depression, is often related to other health issues, such as senile dementia and limited mobilities. There is also a high predominance of suicide mortality among Singapore’s elderly. Therefore it is important for the elderly to have interaction and emotional support to tackle isolation which leads to other health and emotional issues.

Singapore’s elderly and their desperate battle with isolation, loneliness and depression

Stigma against Skin Conditions

Skin conditions such as Acne, Eczema and Psoriasis have become more prominent in Singapore, especially due to the tropical climate in this country. Lack of awareness from the public lead to misunderstandings that these skin conditions are contagious, and people with skin conditions can be shunned upon when in public. This leads to reduced self-esteem, sleep disturbance and loss of concentration at school or work, social withdrawal, and depression. Research has shown that skin diseases can impact a person’s quality of life more significantly than other medical conditions, as it is visible to other people, according to Dr Lynn Chiam, a dermatologist at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital.

It is thus important to have continuous public education as misconceptions still exists.

Examples of projects highlighting skin conditions

Christine from from Dove DermaSeries campaign

Dove launched its DermaSeries collection – a range of hypoallergenic and fragrance free products for those with dry skin. The ad features women who live with the dry skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis.

The ad is successful in showing the skin conditions as they are without beautifying it, and the people in the ads are unashamed, which encourages confidence amongst people with skin conditions.


Loss of Cultural Heritage

Societies have long sought to protect and preserve their cultural heritage, for reasons ranging from education to historical research to the desire to reinforce a sense of identity. Countries in conflict such as Syria face intentional destruction of major and well-known UNESCO heritage sites. Loss of sites of cultural identity, such as religious buildings, schools, libraries fractures places of identity and familiarity, leading to a loss in community. As for Singapore, the constant advancement of the country has left behind some traditions and historical buildings, though there seem to be increasing efforts to preserve them currently.

“What we do lose is a certain consideration for what the human hand can impart (and the idea that) we don’t always need to iron out all the kinks we see in the city. If we accept we have a city that has a bit of a collage feel to it, we can comfortably trace the age. Otherwise, it always feels like you’re creating a clean slate every time there’s redevelopment.”



Extinction of Animals

According to the World Wildlife Fund, species are disappearing at a rate of 1000 to 10000 times more than the Earth’s natural extinction rate. This could amount to losing hundreds or even thousands of species each year. Earth’s 6th mass extinction is underway, and unlike the previous 5 which were caused by natural climate changes, this mass extinction is caused by human activities such as deforestation, overpopulation, pollution, poaching and extreme weather events tied to man-caused global warning. Mammals of Southeast and South Asia are particularly hard hit, with mammals losing more than 80% of their geographic ranges. The resulting biological annihilation obviously will have serious ecological, economic and social consequences, and requires attention and preservation efforts.

“The massive loss of populations and species reflects our lack of empathy to all the wild species that have been our companions since our origins”