We recently commissioned a YouGov poll to investigate the state of people’s skin across the UK. The results revealed a shocking statistic – that as many as one in four Brits are now living with a chronic, long-term skin condition.
23 per cent of people we asked in England, Scotland and Wales admitted that they suffer from eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis – this works out nationally to as many as 11 million of us with skin-related health conditions.
The survey is part of our ongoing research looking into how water hardness affects skin health – what we found was that geography and gender both appeared to impact significantly on the rates of skin conditions.
While just one in five people in Yorkshire and Humber or the South East reported skin problems, in Wales the figure rises to nearly one third, with almost double the number of eczema sufferers there too.
Across the Midlands, the East of England and the North East, the survey consistently showed a quarter of the population having at least one skin irritation. However across the country as a whole, women were 20 per cent more likely than men to be a sufferer.
When we compared the survey’s findings to levels of water hardness across the UK – a factor reported by sufferers to make a difference to many skin conditions – the results here showed some correlation, with lower rates being reported in soft water areas such as Yorkshire and Humber and the North East. However, more research is needed to determine any definitive link.
“The UK-wide association between the prevalence of skin conditions and hard water reaffirms the findings of several observational studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. There is evidence of a relationship between domestic water hardness and the prevalence of eczema, however this relationship is complex and probably involves the interaction of other factors such as the wash products and laundry detergents we use to cleanse our skin and clothes. Clearly more research is required to better understand just how our wash water affects our skin so that we can maintain its health.”
Dr Simon Danby, research fellow in Dermatology at the University of Sheffield
Tap water varies in hardness across the UK according to the concentration of minerals found within it. The levels of calcium and magnesium, which cause limescale, vary between areas of the UK according to their geographical makeup. The result is tap water that can vary in hardness dramatically from place to place, with the vast majority of the UK has a water supply rated between hard and aggressively hard.
“This report was carried out to help our research team build up a fuller picture of the health of our skin in Britain. Skin conditions are often long-term afflictions which many people keep hidden, so the true extent of the problem is rarely revealed in as much detail as this.
“It’s our hope that the findings can help identify the causes of chronic skin conditions once and for all, taking reported causal factors such as hard water from the realm of the anecdote to the lab. Most importantly, with better knowledge should come better, more effective treatment for sufferers.”
Casey Bowden, managing director of Harvey Water Softeners
For further details contact Rob Tomkinson – email email@example.com or call 07723 602254/ 0115 824 2212.
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 4,382 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 3rd – 4th December 2014. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).