With the spiralling cost of living, many people are making drastic cutbacks. In the UK, millions of people can no longer afford essential hygiene products. This has been termed "hygiene poverty". A report from the charity Hygiene Bank states that up to 3.2 million adults are affected by this. Britons are foregoing basic goods such as soap, deodorant, toothpaste, shaving products, toilet paper and sanitary products. They are facing the harrowing decision of eating and heating their homes and not buying hygiene products. Hygiene Bank described the problem as a "hidden crisis". It said the situation is "much more widespread than we feared. It's increasing, and it's disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable".
Hygiene poverty is having a devastating impact on people's daily lives. Many people feel too ashamed to leave their house because they are worried about looking dirty or smelling bad. Hygiene Bank's chief executive Ruth Brock warned of the terrible repercussions of being unable to maintain basic hygiene standards. She said many people cannot "access their life chances". She said: "We have mums telling us…that they want to be last on the nursery drop-off because they're too embarrassed and ashamed to see other parents." Many people with acne are worsening their condition because they cannot afford soap. Others are avoiding all social contact by not answering their phone.