The Relationship Between Hard Water and Eczema

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Eczema is a common skin condition that leads to itchy, inflamed, dry skin. This skin condition affects millions of individuals worldwide. Nearly 1 out of every 10 people will develop eczema at some point in their lifetime.

There are a variety of factors that contribute to developing eczema, including the type of water we use daily. Hard water has been found to have detrimental effects on the skin’s protective barrier, possibly exacerbating eczema symptoms.

In this blog article, we will take a deeper dive into the relationship between hard water and eczema, review the impact hard water has on skin and provide practical solutions for managing eczema in places with hard water.

📌 Key Takeaways

  • Hard water contains a higher concentration of dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium, which can negatively affect the skin’s protective barrier.
  • Hard water can exacerbate symptoms of chronic skin conditions like eczema
  • There are many ways to manage eczema, one way to potentially improve symptoms would be to transition to a water softening system.

🚱 What is hard water?

When we think of the definition of hard water it basically means that the water has a higher concentration of dissolved minerals. These dissolved minerals are mostly calcium and magnesium as well as some other beneficial minerals like iron.

While these minerals can be beneficial to many aspects of our health, when it comes to our skin, it can have negative effects including dryness and skin irritation. As a result, individuals with eczema, whose skin already has a compromised skin barrier function, may experience worsening symptoms when exposed to hard water.

In comparison, soft water has a lower mineral concentration. Where you live will largely determine water hardness. If you are looking for softened water, you can certainly achieve this by installing a water softening system, which we will discuss more in further paragraphs.

Hard water buildup on faucet

🔎 Effects of Water Hardness on Skin

There are many effects of hard water on your skin, some of the most common include increased risk for atopic dermatitis, skin dryness, breakouts, dandruff and itchiness. In this section, we will primarily discuss hard water eczema.

Hard Water and Eczema Research

As mentioned in the article above, one of the most common effects is atopic dermatitis also known as eczema. Even though the connection between hard water and eczema is not widely recognized, many scientific studies have demonstrated this relationship.

Some research suggests that hard water can contribute to the development and exacerbation of eczema symptoms according to a 2020 review of 16 prior studies. Additionally, the review above also suggests that hard water may increase the risk of eczema in young children.

Why Does Hard Water Cause Skin Irritation?

It is thought that the excess minerals present in hard water can disrupt the delicate balance of the skin’s pH levels and impair its natural moisture barrier. This can further compromise the skin’s barrier, leading to dry, red, itchy skin known as atopic eczema.

This is because washing your body with hard water damages your natural skin barrier leading to skin irritation. Typically, those with eczema are more sensitive to hard water because their skin barrier is already disrupted, compared to those with healthy skin.

Hard water increases risk of atopic dermatitis

🩹 Managing Eczema in Hard Water Areas

This chronic skin condition characterized by an intensely itchy red rash can be managed in a variety of ways. This could include medications, modifying hygiene practices, diet, and more.

However, one of the ways you could see relief with symptoms is transitioning to a water softener. Water softeners remove all minerals, creating “soft water”.

Water softeners could potentially be beneficial because they remove all of the hard minerals that can exacerbate chronic skin conditions like eczema.

📑 Conclusion

In conclusion, understanding the impact of hard water on eczema is crucial for individuals seeking relief from this common skin condition. The high concentration of minerals in hard water can disrupt the skin’s pH balance and compromise its natural moisture barrier, leading to dry, irritated skin and worsening eczema symptoms.

Scientific studies have highlighted the relationship between hard water and eczema, emphasizing the need for effective solutions. Installing a water softening system can help mitigate the negative effects of hard water by removing the minerals responsible for skin irritation.

By managing eczema in hard water areas through the use of water softeners and adopting other appropriate measures, individuals can potentially find relief and improve their skin health. It is essential to explore these practical solutions to alleviate the discomfort caused by eczema and enhance overall well-being.

Installing water softener home prevents hard water

❔ Frequently Asked Questions

Can Eczema Be Caused By Hard Water?

There are many research studies out there to suggest that hard water exacerbates symptoms of eczema and also increases your risk for developing eczema. This does not mean that hard water causes eczema, it’s more of an association.

Can a Water Softener Help Eczema?

A water softener could potentially help improve your symptoms of eczema, however is not guaranteed to completely solve your chronic skin condition.

What Water is Good for Eczema?

Hard water has been shown to increase risk for developing eczema or worsening symptoms of eczema that already exists. One way to improve your overall skin’s health is using soft water for bathing.

  • Roxanne Trotter
    MS, RDN

    Registered Dietitian Roxy, fueled by her love for food and wellness, tackles misinformation head-on. Her Master's in Human Nutrition and diverse experience (weight management, hospitals) equip her to translate complex health topics, especially those related to water quality. Through her own practice (Nutremedies LLC) and writing for Water Filter Guru, Roxy empowers readers with accurate, evidence-based information, helping them make informed choices for a healthier life, one sip at a time.

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