If you or anyone in your family suffers with eczema or has skin conditions you will be aware how uncomfortable and difficult to treat it can be. Scientific research has proven the link between hard water and skin health, so investing in a water softener is one way to protect your skin barrier and maintain good skin health.
Could switching to softened water help?
More than 60% of households are located in hard water areas in England and Wales. Research carried out at the University of Nottingham** by dermatologists, medical geographers and statisticians in 1998 indicated that hard water could play a part in causing eczema flare-ups in some children.The study, involving more than 7,500 school age children, found that eczema is around 50% more common in primary schoolchildren living in hard water areas than those who live in soft water areas. This could not be attributed to differences in age or social class.*Source: National Eczema Society 2001.
**Source: Professor Hywel Williams, University of Nottingham, August 1998
Hard water doesn’t lather or clean as well as soft water and so we use far more detergent to compensate. This leaves a residue that can impair the normal function of your epidermis, the outer layer of your skin. It can irritate and damage the skin barrier, especially if you are already sensitive or you suffer from eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis.
Softened water can improve these conditions, as it is doesn’t contain as many of the minerals that clog pores and cause dryness and irritation. You will use less product to produce a lather and it will rinse off more easily leaving less residue
How a water softener can help:
There is already overwhelming anecdotal evidence to suggest that skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis are aggravated by hard water. Many sufferers have experienced immediate relief on installing a water softener and feel that this is more than just coincidence.So why can a water softener help reduce the symptoms of eczema? Due to the complexity of eczema, it is impossible to quantify why exactly softened water helps the condition. However, British Water advises that there are enough successful reports to suggest the following:
- Water softeners eliminate scummy soap curd and result in a clean lather which is kind to skin, reducing dryness and itching.
- With softened water, the amount of soap used when washing clothes can be greatly reduced. Also pure soap products can be used with softened water in preference to detergent. Another reason is that households in hard water areas tend to use more soap and detergent when washing clothes and bathing.
- Products we know inflame the skin of eczema sufferers. Water softeners have an ‘ion exchange’ system which removes the calcium and magnesium salts from the water, thus completely eliminating the hardness.
- Save money on cleaning products and toiletries.
- Spend less time cleaning.
- Softer skin and silkier hair.
- Increase life expectancy of domestic water-using appliances.
- Brighter looking clothes.
- More environmentally friendly.
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