The Hidden Crisis of Hygiene Poverty

 

 Poverty. What runs through your mind? I can bet it is not toiletries. Surprisingly toiletries do not come to our mind. I suppose many of us take them for granted.  We use them every day. So, when we think of poverty, we do not associate it with something as basic as hygiene. We wrongly assume that hygiene poverty cannot happen in a country like the United Kingdom – but it does. Through our charity partner, Anika Food Charity, at Doctor A Cosmetic we are helping to make a difference and so can you.

 

What are toiletries?

 Toiletries includes anything you use to clean or groom yourself, such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, soap, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, hairbrush, styling tools, facial cleanser, face lotion, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, and so on.

 

Whenever we go out, one item we never want to miss is our toiletries. They are so much of who we are. From the brands we choose, to the scents. Everything is extremely personal. It’s an important part of our self-care. If we look good, we feel good.

 

Toiletries and the cosmetic industry

 Without a doubt, toiletries have become an essential part of our everyday lives. The Cosmetics and Toiletries Retailers industry in the United Kingdom accounts for around 40% of the entire cosmetics market at the retail level. The main reason is people spending more time at home.

 

Respondents with a household reference person aged 65 to 74 spent an average of £2.30 per week on toiletries and soap in 2020. Households with a reference person between 50 and 64 had the highest average weekly expenses, spending £3.10 British pounds. The Cosmetics & Toiletries Retailers industry in the United Kingdom is the 41st biggest Wholesale and Retail Trade industry and the 169th largest globally. Because women spend most of their money on cosmetics and toiletries, demand from men has been rising over the past five years.

 

Hygiene poverty

 “Hygiene poverty' forces poor families to choose between eating and keeping clean”

 Hygiene poverty affects 1/5 of the UK population. Basic hygiene items should be accessible to everyone, but unfortunately, many individuals in the United Kingdom lack basic needs such as tampons and soap.

 

What does hygiene poverty mean?

 Hygiene poverty means the inability to afford essentials such as deodorant, shampoo, soap and other personal care products. The charity In Kind direct estimated that thousands of people across the United Kingdom are suffering in silence. Nearly four in 10 (37%) of 1,000 people surveyed by the charity in 2017 – and 56% of 18-24-year-olds – said they'd gone without hygiene or grooming products, or been forced to cut down on them, for financial reasons.

 

Survey findings about hygiene poverty

  • We know that long before people go to a food bank, they stop buying toiletries.
  • Over one third of people living in the UK and over half of 18 to 24 year olds have had to go without hygiene or grooming essentials or cut down on them due to lack of funds.
  • 8 in 10 primary school teachers say that they’ve seen a rise in the numbers of children coming to school unwashed or not looking presentable in the last five years and have found themselves intervening at an increasing rate. Nearly half of all teachers said they had seen bullying because of hygiene issues.
  • 3 out of 10 teachers regularly buy their pupils toiletry essentials.

 

Homelessness and hygiene poverty

Homeless people in the United Kingdom face effective self-care and personal hygiene challenges, such as restricted access to clean showers, laundry, and handwashing facilities. While the barriers to personal cleanliness associated with homelessness may raise the risk of infectious illness, little research has been conducted on hygiene-related behaviours among persons experiencing homelessness.

By providing bathing and laundry facilities, housed friends and family play an essential role in helping homeless individuals to maintain cleanliness. The most popular products are deodorant and soap, shower gel and toothbrushes, with smaller travel-size or disposable items suitable for homeless shelters.

 As a result of the coronavirus, more product shortages, higher food bank reliance, and even worse hygiene poverty, now is the moment to act.

 

Doctor A’s mission

 At Doctor A Cosmetics, we work in partnership with Toiletries Amnesty through our founder’s charity, Anika Food Charity. They provide hygiene essentials such as shower gels, shampoos etc and Anika Food Charity regularly distributes dental hygiene kits along with other self- care kits.

 

Do you need help with accessing hygiene products?

Charities like The Hygiene Bank and The Beauty Bank,  are here to help.


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