You may have heard online or among friends that hard water can hurt your body, even your hair. Perhaps you’ve blown off their comments as parroting fad statements peddled by the newest “clarifying shampoo.”
However, the science behind these statements could prove the assertion true. Does hard water cause hair loss? As the top company for water softener installation in St. George, Utah, Iron Mountain Plumbing technicians have answers.
What Is Hard Water?
Hard water contains high amounts of calcium, magnesium, and other minerals through absorption. While having some minerals in your water is normal and necessary, the amount of said minerals determines its effects.
The EPA measures water softness or hardness by grains per gallon (gpg). By this measurement, one grain is 0.002 ounces of calcium or magnesium carbonate in a gallon of water.
Soft water typically tops at only 3 gpg, while moderate water has 3.5 to 7 gpg. Water with over 7.5 gpg is hard water. Exceedingly high calcium and magnesium content may appear in well, mineral, or high-pH water.
Over 70% of U.S. wells have consistently hard water, and companies typically only offer preliminary softening treatment. While hard water reportedly doesn’t harm people’s health, it can negatively affect your property.
The Effects of Hard Water
The high mineral content in hard water can leave mineral deposits in pipes, making them more difficult to use. If you have hard water in your area, it affects every tool using water in your household.
For example, mineral buildup makes coffeemakers less efficient at filtering. Your water heater can cause more mineral development due to the high volumes of liquid and the heating process. Moreover, while harmless, water spots and stains on your dishes from the dishwasher look displeasing.
As the minerals build up, they can clog and degrade the quality of pipes, faucets, and appliances. Hard water can reduce their usable lifespans by weeks, if not months, based on how hard it is. The limescale buildup and reduced water pressure and flow could lead to clogs requiring professional help.
How Hard Water Can Affect Your Hair
Minding these factors, we find it’s fair to ask, “Does hard water cause hair loss?” Indeed, local water conditions can become a primary factor in non-genetic hair loss. Why is that when we can drink hard water?
Drinking hard water may not hurt your body because we naturally absorb and use calcium and magnesium. However, the same can’t be said for using it on our bodies.
Lack of Lather = Lack of Effectiveness
We use soap to remove debris, residue, and dead skin from our bodies. The lather removes dirt and grease by increasing the water’s surface tension. Increased surface tension means more friction, allowing users to clean their skin.
However, high mineral counts in water can affect the efficiency of soap, which some argue is directly related to our health. Magnesium and calcium carbonate hinder lathering, meaning the soap doesn’t pick up as much grime. Your body ends up less clean overall.
Making Layers on Your Skin
Have you ever felt a sort of scummy feeling after taking a shower? While certain soaps can produce that sensation, hard water could also be the culprit.
When the lather doesn’t work effectively, the minerals building up in pipes and faucets stay on your skin. This is why hard water is fine to drink but a systemic nightmare for bathing. Moreover, hard water can taste disgusting.
No current studies have shown that the layers prevent us from absorbing vitamin D from the sun. However, the calcium and magnesium buildups affect us by:
- Clogging pores
- Making hair strands tackier or more brittle
- Sometimes leading to bacterial growth and infections
- Preventing nourishing effects from shampoos and conditioners
Hard Water and Hair Loss
While the minerals don’t hurt your body, excess amounts can prevent it from functioning normally. It may lose volume and dry out without the ability to clean or nourish your hair. The damaged hair may then break off after a time.
Does hard water cause hair loss? In this case, the water is a contributing factor. Contrary to some reports, this may influence your mental, physical, or emotional health.
What You Can Do About Hard Water
The technicians at Iron Mountain Plumbing don’t like presenting problems without solutions. We have a few things you can try to help save your hair — and maybe your sanity, too.
Use a Clarifying Shampoo
Some clarifying shampoo gimmick statements may not be completely off the mark.
Calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate have high pH levels between 9 to 11. Many shampoos have a high pH range of 3.5 to 5. With the addition of salt-removing ingredients, lower-pH clarifying shampoos can remove residue from your scalp.
However, we recommend consulting a dermatologist or cosmetologist before washing your hair with a product that may react negatively with your skin.
Use Leave-In Conditioners
Instead of combatting the mineral residue by stripping it away, leave-in conditioners give your scalp more time to absorb nutrients. This process helps bypass the layer of salts on your scalp and nourish your hair. However, like clarifying shampoos, these solutions are only temporary if you have hard water.
Install a Shower Filter
You can find a shower filter at a local hardware store to put on and reduce the minerals in your water. Many of these filters work on calcium, chlorine, magnesium, and other larger substances.
Call Us To Install Your Water Softener
Does hard water cause hair loss? In simple terms, it can. Thankfully, we have the best solution.
Water softeners work more efficiently than shower filters, leave-in conditioners, and clarifying shampoos to reduce exposure to hard water. You can rely on our expert team for an easy installation. Iron Mountain Plumbing offers top-quality customer support and 24/7 emergency care in and around St. George, UT.
Owner / Managing Member. Iron Mountain Plumbing is located in Cedar City, Utah. This organization primarily operates in the Plumbing Contractors business / industry within the Construction – Special Trade Contractors sector.