It's no wonder, then, that searches for eczema treatments total an estimated 6,600 every month (according to Google data). The UK skincare industry is growing under the pressure of so many people seeking skin relief - and that's not even including those of us suffering not specifically with eczema, but with other dry skin conditions such as rosacea or simple dryness.
Harveys partnered with TalkHealth to ask ezcema sufferers more about what the condition means to them and how it affects their daily lives. The survey was responded to by 842 eczema sufferers in the UK. The results can be seen below:
1 in 3 sufferers spends up to £24,000 over a lifetime on eczema products
We asked eczema sufferers how much money they spent on eczema care products on an average month.
35% of respondents were spending between £11 and £25 per month. That's £132 to £300 every year on eczema care - or £24,000 over an average lifetime (80 years)!
10% of respondents were spending up to £50 per month, which is £600 per year or £48,000 over a lifetime. 2% spent more than £50 per month taking care of their skin.
3 out of 4 eczema sufferers say their condition has affected their body confidence
When asked about the impact of eczema on their lives, a shocking 76% told us that having eczema affected their overall confidence in their own bodies. A further 64% of respondents said that their general health and wellbeing had been affected by eczema.
One in three respondents told us that their eczema had affected their working life, either by causing them to take time off or in their confidence around colleagues. One in three respondents also said that eczema had affected their family and other personal relationships.
We asked eczema sufferers to tell us more about their condition, and the following comments have been provided:
Will Hobson, 25 from London has anxiety from his skin condition:
"Having eczema since the age of 15, I've had to get used to the itching and constant search for some kind of 'cure'. While the physical effects of eczema are widely documented (red, sore, itchy), the mental effects are also challenging. It's hard to feel confident about taking your top off in the hot weather when you're having a flare up underneath. It's definitely affected how confident I feel in my own looks."
Laura Chesmer of popular lifestyle and parenting blog Autumn’s Mummy, has suffered from dry skin on her hands all her life, causing her significant anxiety and body confidence issues:
“I do worry that my hands will look older prematurely as they're always so dry. Every winter since childhood, I've had dry hands every winter that have cracked and bled. I got married in the summer, so fortunately they weren't cracked. However, in wedding photos where you can see my hands, they look slightly red up to my wrists."
The ageing effects of dry skin: 9 years older on average
In another study by Harvey Water Softeners, we explored the potential ageing effects of dry skin on hands by asking people to guess the age of people based solely on photos of their hands, half of which were dry and half of which were healthy. The results showed that dry hands were estimated, on average, to be 9 years older than they were, while healthy hands were estimated at 2 years younger. In one case of very dry hands, the owner was estimated to be a huge 47 years older than their actual age!
Healthy hands were perceived to be younger 56% of the time, according to the survey. When looking at healthy hands, respondents were correct in their guess 15% of the time and over estimated 30% of the time. Showing it's easier to correctly guess the age of a healthy hand. A 33 year old's healthy hand was guessed to be 27 years younger, at six years old by two respondents. The results of the survey show that having dry hands can prematurely age you, whilst healthy hands can have the opposite effect.
Scientific study shows link between hard water and eczema
A scientific experiment conducted by The University of Sheffield with support from Harvey Water Softeners has shown that there is a link between hard water and eczema.
A total of 80 people were studied at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield and asked to wash in different types of water.
The 80 people were split into four groups;
20 people with healthy skin
20 people with the FLG protein and no eczema issues
20 with eczema or FLG protein
20 with eczema and the FLG protein.
It was a wide variety of people in gender and age ranging from 18-56 year-olds.
They took hard water from Essex homes and then softened water from the same homes with a Harvey Water Softener installed. They then washed the participants on 8 sections of their body with 2 parts left alone to act as a reference point. To stop any issues of bias no one knew what type of water they were being washed with at any point.
They found that washing with different kinds of water affected the skin in different ways.
1. They found that hard water ultimately made eczema worse.
2. They discovered it created an irritable skin barrier that could cause eczema in healthy skin.
3. The patients studied with the FLG protein were more prone to developing eczema, regardless of their existing eczema condition.
If you suffer with eczema and want to know what kind of water you have in your home, you can use the Harvey Water Softeners water hardness checker found part way down this page. You can also take advantage of a three month obligation free trial of a water softener to see how softened water benefits your skin.