Acne Statistics UK 2022 – How Many People Have Acne?

Acne Statistics UK 2022

Acne is a very common skin condition that affects most people in the UK at some point in their lives, whether it’s a relatively mild form of acne that passes quickly or a more severe condition. Either way, acne can contribute to a wide range of both mental and physical health problems, from pain and skin sensitivities to low self-esteem and anxiety.

In this article, we discover just how big an issue acne is in the UK and how many people it affects, taking a look at all the latest acne statistics in the UK in 2022.

Acne Statistics – The Key Facts & Figures

Our research found that:

  • Over a third (34%) of UK adults have suffered from acne at some point in their life.
  • 11.5% of UK adults are currently suffering from acne.
  • Almost 1 in every 4 young adults in the UK (24%) currently have some form of acne.
  • More people in Northern Ireland suffer from acne than any other part of the UK (over 1 in 5).
  • More women than men suffer from acne, however the problem tends to be more severe in men, as 6.1% of men are currently suffering from acne when compared to 2.5% of women.
  • From February 2021 to January 2022, NHS England spent £22.7 million on topical treatments for acne.

How many people have Acne in the UK?

It’s widely reported that acne is a condition that affects the majority of UK adults at some point in their life, particularly at a young age when our hormones are still developing . However, not much data is available on the number of adults currently suffering from acne,

So, to find out how many people have acne in the UK in 2022, we surveyed 2,000 UK adults using Censuswide asking them the following question:

Which of the following best apply to you?

  • I have never had acne
  • I have previously had mild to moderate acne which has since resolved
  • I have previously had severe acne which has since resolved
  • I currently suffer from mild to moderate acne
  • I currently suffer from severe acne
  • Prefer not to say

 The results of our survey show that:

  • More than a third of UK adults (34%) have suffered from acne at some point in their life.
  • 11.5% of UK adults are currently suffering from acne.
  • 13% of UK adults are suffering or have suffered from a severe form of acne.

Do men or women suffer from acne the most?

Who’s more likely to have acne? Men or women? 

Women tend to go through significant hormonal changes throughout the course of their lives, such as menstruation, pregnancy and the menopause, and as we know – hormonal imbalances are one of the main causes of acne. However, men also experience a variety of hormonal changes at different points in their lives, and excess testosterone can also lead to frequent breakouts.

But which gender experiences acne the most in 2022? To find out, we took a closer look at the data from our survey, which found that:

  • 8.6% of women say they currently suffer from mild to moderate acne
  • Whereas 5.8% of men say the same.
  • However, it appears that acne tends to be more severe in men, as 6.1% of men surveyed state that they struggle with severe acne.
  • Whilst just 2.5% of women would categorise their acne as severe

Which age groups suffer from Acne the most?

It may be easy to assume that acne is an issue which primarily affects those in their teenage years. However, 72% of acne sufferers are actually over the age of 24. To find out how UK adults are affected by acne at different points of their lives, we asked all of the participants of our survey to disclose their age. Our findings revealed that: 

  • Young people suffer from acne the most, with 24% of respondents aged 16-24 saying they are currently suffering from acne to some degree.
  • 25 to 34 year-olds are the second most affected age group, with just over 20% of individuals in this age category stating that they are currently struggling with acne. 
  • Amongst 35-44 year olds, almost 1 in every 6 (14.6%) currently have acne.
  • 45-55 year-olds also struggle with acne quite significantly as 1 in every 12 respondents in this age group admit to having acne.
  • However, just 3.5% of UK adults 55 and over say they are currently suffering from acne.

Has the Covid-19 Pandemic affected the prevalence of Acne in the UK?

It’s difficult to draw a direct link between Covid and the effect it has had on the prevalence of acne in the UK. However, we’ve taken a look at the trend in online searches for acne related queries over the course of the pandemic in order to discover any potential correlations between the two..

Using the online search tool Keyword Finder, we analysed the monthly search volumes for the search term ‘acne treatments’ in the UK and found a fairly significant increase in searches since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

As you can see from the chart above, searches for the term ‘acne treatments’  increased dramatically in April 2020, coinciding with the first Covid lockdown in the UK. Searches increased again in October and November 2020 when England entered a second lockdown and spiked a third time when the Prime Minister announced a third lockdown in England in January 2021.

Since then, searches appear to have returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Which parts of the UK struggle most with Acne?

Are those living in busy, polluted city centres more likely to suffer from acne? Or is it actually those living in rural areas and seaside towns who struggle most with the condition? To find out, we grouped the responses of our survey by region, which revealed that:

RegionPercentage of people currently suffering from  Acne
Northern Ireland21.31%
North East14.63%
Greater London14.29%
Wales13.40%
North West12.67%
East of England11.58%
West Midlands11.48%
South West11.43%
East Midlands11.03%
South East9.57%
Yorkshire and the Humber7.78%
Scotland7.02%
  • According to our survey results, Northern Ireland is the region most affected by Acne with just over 1 in every 5 people (21%) saying they are currently suffering from some form of acne.
  • In England, the North West appears to be the most affected region with over 14% of respondents saying they currently suffer from acne to some extent.
  • At the other end of the scale, Scotland appears to suffer from acne the least, with just 7% of respondents saying they are suffering from the skin condition, which is less than a third when compared to Northern Ireland.

On a city level…

  • Belfast has the highest percentage (21.3%) of people currently struggling with acne, which coincides with the regional level data.
  • Cardiff is the city with the second highest percentage (16%) of acne sufferers.
  • Manchester is the city with the largest percentage (14.5%) of people struggling from acne in England.
CityPercentage of adults currently struggling with Acne
Belfast21.31%
Cardiff16.44%
Manchester14.47%
Norwich13.75%
London12.77%

Acne Prescription Medication Statistics for England in 2022

As well as analysing survey data and online search volumes for terms relating to acne, we conducted an analysis of NHS prescription data for acne medication across England and found the following:

  • From February 2021 to January 2022, a total of 1.52 million topical preparations for acne were prescribed by CCGs in England, adding up to a total value of £22.67 million

Which parts of England prescribe Acne medication the most?

The table below shows the top 20 CCGs in England prescribing the highest rates of topical acne medication weighted by population:

CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group)RegionPrescribed Acne items per 1,000 people
ManchesterNorth West3.00
Birmingham and SolihullMidlands2.87
SheffieldNorth East and Yorkshire2.81
Blackburn with DarwenNorth West2.72
North East LondonLondon2.67
LeedsNorth East and Yorkshire2.65
OldhamNorth West2.61
North West LondonLondon2.60
Bradford District and CravenNorth East and Yorkshire2.59
LiverpoolNorth West2.58
RotherhamNorth East and Yorkshire2.56
North Central LondonLondon2.55
StockportNorth West2.55
WirralNorth West2.55
TraffordNorth West2.54
East and North HertfordshireEast of England2.54
Tees ValleyNorth East and Yorkshire2.52
KnowsleyNorth West2.50
Basildon and BrentwoodEast of England2.48
DoncasterNorth East and Yorkshire2.48
  • As you can see from the table above, the CCG with the highest rate of acne medication prescriptions is the NHS Manchester CCG, which prescribes just over 3 items per 1,000 people. That is significantly above the national average of 2.18 prescription items per 1,000 people.
  • At a regional level, 8 of the top 20 CCGs with the highest prescription rates are located in the North West.

The map below shows the highest prescribing CCGs (Clinical Commissioning Groups) in England when it comes to topical acne medication. The darker blue areas show the CCGs that prescribe a higher than average amount of medication, while the lighter blue areas show CCGs with lower prescription rates per 1,000 people.

Methodology

Survey data was obtained by surveying 2,012 UK adults using Censuswide on 23rd March 2022.

Search volume data was acquired using KWFinder on 16th March 2022.

All NHS prescription data was obtained from openprescribing.net.

The full methodology and process for determining these conclusions can be found here.

We hope our data and analysis has helped you get a better idea of how much acne affects adults in the UK. Suffering from acne can be very stressful and it can have a significant impact on mental health and self-confidence. If you suffer from acne yourself, be sure to check out our wide range of prescription acne medications and read our recent blog post on the best ways to treat acne.

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