Can Hard Water Cause Hair Loss?

August 20, 2020 | Written by Christine Lee

Due to a myriad of factors, water hardness can lead to scalp itchiness and overall irritation, which can play a role in hair thinning. Your hair and scalp are sensitive, so aggressive itching and scratching can contribute to the thinning and brittleness of your hair.

Irritation and itchiness can also be signs of other issues caused by hard water. For example, hard water is full of minerals that can block your pores on your scalp. Not only will this make your head itch like crazy, but it can make it difficult for your hair to thrive.

When your pores and follicles are blocked, it renders them ineffective and vulnerable. The blockages can trap bacteria, which can lead to infections. These infections on the scalp are referred to as folliculitis.

Folliculitis can happen anywhere that there are hair follicles on your body, but it’s pervasive on the scalp because of the high number of hair follicles present there. Though the condition is very treatable and not typically considered serious, widespread infections can cause scarring and even peThe hardness of your home’s water supply can have an impact on many things, such as your skin, your clothes, your dishes, and even your hair. By learning more about hard water, not only can you minimize the frequency of your plumbing needs, but you can also combat hair thinning and promote healthier hair.

What is Hard Water?

Water hardness measures in range from hard to soft. The “hardness” is actually referring to the total amount of calcium and magnesium that is dissolved in your water. The higher the concentration of these and other minerals in your water, the harder it is considered.

On the flip side, soft water will have a higher concentration of salt as opposed to the above minerals. As a rule of thumb, it’s generally better for you, your home, and your family to have soft water over hard water.

These are some of the possible negative impacts of hard water:

  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Cancer
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Dry Skin
  • Hair Loss
  • Stained Sinks and Tubs
  • Faded Clothing
  • Frequent Plumbing Repairs

The effects of hard water range from as serious as cancer to as trivial as water spots on your glasses in the dishwater. Nevertheless, the above list is reason enough to address the issue.

So how do you know if you have hard water?

While you can’t tell simply by looking at it, you should be able to notice the difference in how the water feels. After washing your hands in hard water, you will feel a film on them. This happens because the soap reacts with the minerals in the water, which results in soap scum. That’s a telltale sign of water hardness.

Additionally, hard water will usually leave calcium deposits on your glasses and dishes when they cycle through the dishwasher. These deposits leave very noticeable spots.

Thirdly, the more minerals there are in your water supply, the more deposits get left in your pipes. Not only can this have a negative impact on your water pressure, but it can also lead to eventual pipe damage.

Finally, high levels of minerals in your water supply can leave you with mineral stains on your clothing, in your sinks, and in your bathtubs. If you notice this kind of staining, then you probably have hard water.

Shampoo Reaction

We mentioned earlier that when you wash your hands with soap in hard water, you may notice a film left on your hands. The chemical reaction that causes this soap scum happens the same way when you wash your hair in hard water.

Not only does this not sound pleasant, but it can have adverse effects on your hair’s overall health.

The minerals in your water cause both soap and shampoos to be ineffective, so you’re never really genuinely washing your hair thoroughly. While you may be using a moisturizing shampoo, your hair can become drier and drier due to the water rendering your shampoo useless.

Eventually, you could end up with a bad case of dandruff, which isn’t good for healthy hair growth. The build-up of various products can also lead to infections, irritation, and clogged pores—all of which are contributing factors to some hair-thinning issues.

Calcium Build-Up

Hard water can lead to the build-up of both products and minerals. For starters, the calcium in your water is likely to build up and crystalize on your scalp. Ultimately, this can lead to scalp calcification.

Scalp calcification occurs when calcium accumulates on the scalp and gets into the blood vessels underneath, causing them to become very stiff. When this happens, the blood can’t flow properly.

Without proper blood flow, your hair follicles can’t receive the nutrients that they need to survive and thrive. The end result is decreased hair growth, and eventually, hair-thinning.

It’s essential to have healthy blood vessels anywhere in your body to function the right way, so it makes sense that a lack of blood flow in the scalp would lead to hair loss and androgenetic alopecia.

Scalp calcification is probably one of the more serious ways that hard water can have damaging effects on your overall hair health and growth, so it’s essential to see the signs before it reaches this level.

Irritation and Itchiness

Due to a myriad of factors, water hardness can lead to scalp itchiness and overall irritation, which can play a role in hair thinning. Your hair and scalp are sensitive, so aggressive itching and scratching can contribute to the thinning and brittleness of your hair.

Irritation and itchiness can also be signs of other issues caused by hard water. For example, hard water is full of minerals that can block your pores on your scalp. Not only will this make your head itch like crazy, but it can make it difficult for your hair to thrive.

When your pores and follicles are blocked, it renders them ineffective and vulnerable. The blockages can trap bacteria, which can lead to infections. These infections on the scalp are referred to as folliculitis.

Folliculitis can happen anywhere that there are hair follicles on your body, but it’s pervasive on the scalp because of the high number of hair follicles present there. Though the condition is very treatable and not typically considered serious, widespread infections can cause scarring and even permanent hair loss.

The infection usually starts along the hairline and is characterized by clusters of small red bumps that look similar to whitehead pimples. You may also see sores that contain pus and experience itching, burning, or tenderness along the infected area.

Final Thoughts

Except for a few benefits you might gain from drinking hard water, a higher hardness typically only has negative impacts on things like your home, your skin, and your hair. Hair-thinning comes in many different forms—the biggest culprit being genetically passed down—so there’s no reason we should put up with any other outside factors that want to pull the trigger on losing our locks.

Be sure to test the hardness of your home’s water if you’re experiencing any of the impacts we talked about above, and look into solutions for hard water.

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Previous Article

The Regimen: A Complete Guide to a Healthy Scalp

LEARN MORE

Next Article

The 5 Best Ways to Use Castor Oil to Stimulate Hair Growth

LEARN MORE
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