15 million British people have a long-term health condition, making it easy to forget about the day-to-day health issues that seem ‘unimportant’ or ‘embarrassing’ in comparison, such as acne, bad breath and bladder weakness, to name a few.
But these wide-ranging conditions still affect people on a daily basis, so we wanted to uncover some of the statistics surrounding these ‘everyday’ health conditions that people often shy away from discussing.
Statistics on acne in the UK
How widespread is acne?
Acne is a very common problem in young people. Around 95% of people aged 11 to 30 are affected by acne to some extent. Acne is most common in girls from the ages of 14 to 17, and in boys from the ages of 16 to 19. Most people have acne on and off for several years before their symptoms start to improve as they get older. In some cases, acne can continue into adult life. About 3% of adults over the age of 35 have acne. 10 million people in the UK say that a skin condition has, at some point, affected their mental health. A quarter of those who visit their doctor have skin problems - from acne to psoriasis or eczema - and women are five times more likely than men to be affected by late-life acne, due to fluctuating hormones during pregnancy, the menstrual cycle and changing methods of contraception (the pill, coil or patches).
The data: Is acne on the rise?
In 2020, 52,500 people Googled ‘dermatologist’ or ‘dermology’ (Keywords Everywhere) every single month, with a peak occurring after the end of the COVID-19 lockdown.
Which areas of the UK suffer most from acne?
When it comes to areas of the UK that suffer most from acne, Google data indicates some interesting results. The table below shows that people in Ilford are most likely to search for a dermatologist, followed by Cambridge, London, Cardiff, then Birmingham. When assessing the possible reasons for high searches in these areas, we have analysed population density and air pollution levels (by number of times over the legal limit). In recent years, an increasing number of studies indicate a link between skin problems and exposure to airborne pollutants. Based on these findings, it suggests that people with acne should protect the natural barrier function of their skin with emollients and ultraviolet (UV)A/UVB protection.
Acne trends over time
- In the last five years, the acne problem seems to have worsened, with double the volume of people searching for ‘acne’ in 2020 when compared to 2015
- However, during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (March 2020), people halved their searches of ‘acne’, indicating that environmental factors such as workplaces and public transport could play a large role in the cause of acne
- In the month of April 2020, when the public commenced wearing face masks to protect themselves against Covid-19, searches jumped by 100%, which aligns with the rising trend of ‘mask acne’
Money spent on medicated vs non-medicated skincare
In 2019, British women spent more than £805,965,000 (£86billion) on non-medicated facial skincare products, whilst £97,613,000 (£97million) was spent on medicated face care. In comparison, just £77,175,000 (£77million) was spent on men’s face care products.
Leading brands to treat acne in 2019:
- Boots No 7
- Garnier Pure Active
- Johnson’s Clean and Clear
- T Zone
- Witch Stick
- Supermarket brands
Top foods that can cause acne
- Refined carbohydrates including white bread and noodles
- Fizzy drinks
- Dairy products
- Fast food
Bad Breath Statistics
Bad breath affects one in four people on a regular basis, and it is the third most common reason that people seek dental care.
In fact, 35%-45% of people in the world have some level of halitosis or bad breath; meaning that approximately 23-29million people in the UK suffer.
In 2019, the mouthwash market was worth £190,180,000 (£190m) – although that figure had steadily declined since 2016, when it was worth £205,238,000 (£205m). This equates to approximately £3.60 spent on mouthwash per every adult in the UK per year.
Google data shows that searches related to ‘halitosis’ have risen by 50% since 2004.
Most common causes of bad breath
- Tobacco products: Smoking causes its own unpleasant mouth odour. Smokers and oral tobacco users are also more likely to have gum disease, another source of bad breath. Approximately 7.2million British people smoked cigarettes in 2018.
- Poor dental hygiene: If you don't brush and floss daily, food particles remain in your mouth, causing bad breath. Visiting the dentist regularly also helps to maintain good dental hygiene. Only 50% of British adults visit the dentist regularly enough.
- Dry mouth. Saliva helps cleanse your mouth, removing particles that cause bad odours. Dry mouth naturally occurs during sleep, leading to "morning breath," and it worsens if you sleep with your mouth open. At Chemist4U, sales for products related to dry mouths have increased by 200% in two years.
- Infections in your mouth: Bad breath can be caused by surgical wounds after oral surgery, such as tooth removal, or as a result of tooth decay, gum disease or mouth sores.
- Tonsil stones: Bad breath can occasionally stem from small stones that form in the tonsils and are covered with bacteria that produce odour. 90,500 people search for ‘tonsil stones’ per month – an increase of 100% since 2004.
Men have halitosis more often (67%) than women (32%). As bad breath is caused by factors outside the mouth in only 15% of the cases, most likely, general illness cannot change this parameter.
According to research, people over the age of 51 are more likely to have halitosis.
How likely are people to draw attention to someone’s bad breath?
There was a Dutch study undertaken which showed the likelihood someone would draw attention to bad breath, depending on their relationship to the person. 96.8% of people would draw attention to it if it was their spouse or partner but only 30.3% would if it was their boss or supervisor.
In case of a colleague, men are more likely than women to raise the problem personally (44.5% vs 29.6%), whereas the likelihood that women would not raise the problem with a colleague at all was significantly higher than men (51.7% vs 39.8%).
A similar gender difference was found with regard to raising the problem personally with the boss or supervisor (men 30.9% vs women 16.6%), whereas women were more likely than men to not raise the problem with their boss or supervisor at all (67.7% vs 53.1%).
Would you stop dating someone if they had bad breath?
A recent survey into attraction revealed that bad breath would be a put-off for 85% of British adults looking for a new partner. Single Brits have deemed it a bigger faux pas than bad jokes, terrible dress sense, lateness and even poor manners.
The findings also showed that 80% would not go on a second date with someone if they had bad breath on the first.
Nearly 60% of the participants reported that the strongest 'downer' when meeting a person for the first time was sweat malodour (59.2%). For 37.2% this appeared to be breath malodour, for 2.8% dishevelled appearance due to facial, ear or nasal hair, and for 0.8% dirty ears.
Survey results: Would you kiss your partner if they had morning breath?
At Chemist4U, we wanted to find out what percentage of the nation would happily pucker up to their partner in a morning before they had brushed their teeth, and the survey revealed some interesting – if not slightly cruel – results.
Just over half (52%) of those who had a partner said that they would kiss their other half if they had morning breath, meaning that almost one in two of us wouldn’t.
Interestingly, it seems we’re more likely to give our partner a morning breath kiss when we’re younger – perhaps in newer relationships. Just 38% of those aged 18-24 would turn their other half down for a morning kiss, while 56% of those in the 65+ category would say ‘no thanks’.
So, the figures show that we get a little less tolerant of morning breath as we get older.
How many people have a bladder weakness?
The NHS estimates that 7 million adults in the UK (approximately 10% of the population) have some degree of urinary incontinence, while 900,000 children (one in 12) in the UK have continence difficulties. 200,000 girls suffer from bedwetting, whilst 300,000 boys suffer.
What are the leading causes of bladder weakness?
There are many factors that can lead to urinary incontinence:
- Structural problems with the bladder – for instance, following correction of congenital (present at birth) conditions, such as bladder exstrophy or if the ureters connect to the bladder in the wrong place.
- As a feature of other conditions – such as spina bifida, there is a problem with the nerve supply to the bladder (and bowel) which may cause problems in recognising the need to wee.
- Overactive bladder – This is when the bladder signals the need to wee even when it is only partially full.
- Urinary tract infections – These can also increase the need to wee and could also make weeing more uncomfortable.
- Constipation – This can also affect urinary incontinence as the bowel expands with poo it can press on the bladder leading to incontinence.
- Some drinks can irritate the bladder – such as caffeine-containing drinks such as colas or acidic drinks such as fruit juice. These can make urine more acidic so uncomfortable to pass.
- Reluctance to use the toilet – Many children are uncomfortable using public toilets, such as toilets at school. If parents suspect their child is having accidents because they are not using the toilet at school, find out what is concerning them and if necessary, talk to the school.
- Problems with the muscles supporting the bladder – for instance, the pelvic floor muscles form a sling around the bladder so if these are weakened, either through lack of exercise or in adults, following childbirth, they can lead to leakage.
Men vs women: who suffers from incontinence?
As you may expect, incontinence does affect more females than males. Incontinence affects roughly twice as many women as men. Combined faecal incontinence and urinary incontinence affects 10% of women and 5-6% of men in the community, increasing to almost 50% in nursing home residents.
This increase in prevalence is due to common changes in a woman’s health and body, such as pregnancy, hormonal changes, menopause and ageing. In pregnancy, the expanding uterus puts pressure on the bladder. The muscles in the bladder sphincter and the pelvic floor muscles can be overwhelmed by this and become weakened. Increased uterine weight is another huge important factor affecting the frequency of leakages during pregnancy. During childbirth, these muscles are further stretched and weakened, leaving many women suffering from stress incontinence.
How many people buy incontinence pads?
There are 14,800 searches a month on Google in the UK for ‘incontinence pads’, which has increased by approximately 50% by 2004.