Can hard water cause eczema

Scientific studies show that children living in parts of the country with hard water are more prone to eczema. While several manufacturers claim that water softeners can help alleviate eczema, there is considerable debate leading to further research. It can be heartbreaking to watch our children deal with itchy and dry skin without a clear solution to relieve their pain.

In several cases, children will outgrow the condition, but many continue to have symptoms well into adulthood. They have to deal with flaky skin and acute discomfort throughout their life.

Typically, families try and figure out the reasons for eczema, eliminating certain foods, adding a few supplements, changing detergents, soaps, and shampoos, and using medicated lotions and ointments to fix the problem.

You have probably not considered the connection between hard water and skin conditions, such as eczema. This article will explore that aspect and help you understand the relationship between hard water and skin conditions.

What is hard water?

What is hard water?

Water is considered hard when it contains an excess of hard minerals like calcium and magnesium. Some regions also carry traces of iron in the water. These minerals may be good for general health, but not necessarily in excess when it comes to healthy skin.

Around 90% of American homes have hard water, according to the EPA. It is not sure if hard water causes eczema, but it has the potential to aggravate the condition.

Does hard water cause eczema?

Does hard water cause eczema?

Using hard water to shower or bathe can clog pores and reduce the much-needed moisture for our skin, making it too dry. Moreover, since water hardness doesn’t produce much lather, we tend to use more soap and dry our skin even more. Even after repeated rinses, we are left with a thin soapy film on our skin, leading to itchiness and irritation. Unfortunately, this further aggravates any existing skin condition.

Studies have confirmed that long-term exposure to water hardness can harm the skin’s protective outer layer, increasing skin sensitivity. One of the factors is the pH level of water. Hard water has a pH level of more than seven, which means that it is highly alkaline in nature. Our skin has a much lower acidic pH level. Dermatologists say that hard water contributes to eczema – a chronic condition with symptoms such as itchiness or even intensely itchy red rash.

Hard water dermatitis: What is it, and how do you treat it?

Hard water dermatitis is a chronic skin condition that causes irritated, inflamed, and itchy skin. Hard water can also make the symptoms of eczema worse. As the outermost layer of our skin, it protects our skin from bacteria, allergies, viruses, etc. This outer layer also helps our skin retain essential moisture. If you don’t prevent skin barrier breakdown, subsequent skin irritation is the result.

When the outer skin layer becomes damaged, the skin’s natural function breaks down, and the pores are open and more susceptible to bacteria. Losing the inherent moisture also causes our skin to become dry and irritated.

While some of the causes of damaged skin may be a compromised immune system, certain products like soaps and body washes can damage the protective skin layer and increase the risk of eczema. 

Hard water dermatitis: What is it, and how do you treat it?

Dermatologists recommend several natural ways to treat dermatitis:

Avoid using hot water: While we enjoy showering in hot water, it tends to dry our skin by removing the natural oils. The better option is to use lukewarm water and pat our skin dry instead of rubbing it with a towel.

Natural soaps are better: Most soaps contain certain ingredients to bring additional fragrance, and while they may be tempting, it is best to use a natural soap that is gentle on the skin. It is also good to use hypoallergenic soaps or body washes. 

Have an oatmeal bath: Oatmeal baths are highly recommended because they have a wholesome effect. They also help against skin sensitivity and can be soothing.

Use moisturizer: Keeping our skin moisturized will prevent itchiness. Using a natural lotion or cream after a shower is best. Again, it is best to pick products that don’t have chemicals or other ingredients that don’t suit our skin.

Eczema rash: what are the treatments?

Eczema rash can be highly uncomfortable and even painful. The proper treatment will depend on age, medical history, and symptoms. The treatment of eczema is to control the itching, prevent infections and inflammations, and heal the skin.

Eczema rash: what are the treatments?

There is no one-treatment-for-everyone. You must follow professional medical advice to have healthy skin. People suffering from eczema are typically prescribed corticosteroid creams, gels, ointments, and solutions. Their main ingredient is the hydrocortisone steroids that help relieve itching and reduce skin inflammations. These products come in varying strengths, and the doctor will decide based on whether you have mild or severe eczema.

What can be done to soften hard laundry water for those suffering from eczema? 

Laundry washed in hard water may carry some of the hard minerals and cause skin irritation. Clothes play a role in our comfort, and when washed in hard water may be stiff and scratchy. Hard water is tough on clothes and our bodies.

What can be done to soften hard laundry water for those suffering from eczema? 

But there are ways to soften laundry water – add washing soda or sodium carbonate as it will react with the calcium and magnesium to soften the water. Make sure to add an extra rinse cycle to remove all traces of hard minerals.

Is there anything you should not do if you have eczema?

Is there anything you should not do if you have eczema?

If you have eczema, you should not use scented soaps or lotions. Use lukewarm or cool water for handwashing or showers. Avoid rubbing a towel after a shower but use it only to pat yourself dry. Avoid sunburn and protect yourself with sunscreen.

Avoid wearing synthetic clothes and use cotton and breathable fabrics instead. Avoid dust inside and outside your homes. Watch what you eat, as some foods may worsen eczema. These are a few things to avoid if you have eczema. 

Hard water eczema prevention tips

Hard water eczema prevention tips
  • The Scalp: You can keep your scalp moisturized with certain doctor-prescribed creams or coconut oil. Keep your scalp clean. Avoid styling products, and ensure that you follow your dermatologist’s instructions.
  • Face: Use gentle soaps that are without chemicals and other ingredients. Avoid using perfumes and other fragrances. Pat your skin dry after washing. 
  • Body: Use lukewarm water for your shower or bath. Don’t rub your body with a towel. Use mild and gentle detergents when doing laundry. Use only prescribed creams or lotions. 
  • Every day, take a few supplements: Vitamin D, E, Zinc, Fish oil, and Melatonin are all recommended for hard water eczema.
  • When you wash your clothes: Add washing soda or sodium carbonate when doing your laundry and add an extra rinse to remove all hard water properties from your clothes. 
  • If you have bad rashes: Avoid stressful situations and learn to manage stress levels. Avoid exposure to allergens and other pollutants. Do not rub or scratch your skin. Keep your skin consistently moist, and use only a gentle cleanser, especially if you have severe eczema. 

A shower filter that is best suited to those with eczema

AquaBliss High Output Revitalizing Shower Filter For Healthy Skin

Aquabliss shower head

The AquaBliss High Output Revitalizing Shower Filter is the best filter for people with eczema. It reduces dry and itchy skin, prevents dandruff, and rejuvenates skin, hair, and nails. The multi-stage filters, redox media, activated carbon, and ceramic beads offer maximum filtration of impurities and balance the pH levels in your water. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Is eczema contagious?

No. Eczema is not contagious. It is a chronic skin condition that is made worse if you have allergies or asthma. 

2. Do shower Filters help eczema?

Studies show that showering with filtered water can reduce eczema symptoms. Filtered and softened water can be soothing to the skin because the hard minerals are removed in the softening process. 

3. Is saltwater good for eczema?

Saltwater is considered good for skin conditions like eczema. Dermatologists say that salt can be a remedy for eczema, especially sea salt, as it contains essential minerals like calcium and magnesium that have anti-inflammatory properties. 


Hard water can cause dryness, whereas softened water can help you retain the natural oils. Soft water can also be gentler on the skin, which is one of the reasons water softeners are popular. If you are your family member suffers from skin conditions like eczema, you may want to consider investing in a water softener to prevent aggravation.

About The Author

Our Web Producer

Judith— a passionate water treatment specialist — is a waste water management enthusiast, clean drinking water advocate, and someone with deep personal experience and knowledge about various water equipments. Her work was mentioned in countless notable water associations. Previously she was an editor at Water Alliance.