Hardness of water is the soap destroying power of water which means that harder the water, more soap would be required to form the lather. Mineral carbonates and bicarbonates present in the water beyond a certain quantity, make the water hard. Hard water has a high mineral content and while large amounts of calcium are often to blame for the development of hard water, high stores of copper, sulphate and magnesium also contribute to poor water quality.
It should be noted that frequent laboratory experiments that note the effects of hard water on hair have come down to a conclusion that there is very little change in the tensile strength and elasticity of hairs after being treated with both hard and soft water.
However, it was noted that water with a high mineral content caused the scalp to become dry and made the hair frizzier. So using hard water to wash your hair can make your hair feel drier and more brittle. This dryness can contribute to hair loss.
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How is hard water contributing to hair loss?
Hard water is notorious in many ways. Here is how hard water is adversely affecting your hair –
- Hard water tends to react with surfactants in cleansing products. This form a film that clings to the hair and scalp causing dryness and hair loss.
- Hard water can worsen dermatological scalp conditions. This happens because minerals can seep into the skin causing aggravation in conditions like eczema, psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis.
- Hard water irritates the skin. This causes exacerbation of skin conditions which could potentially lead to permanent hair loss.
- Shampooing hair with hard water can lead to more brittle hair. When hair gets brittle it’s prone to tangles and breakage.
- Hard water makes it more difficult to remove products used in hair. This causes buildup of these hair products over the course of time which eventually leads to dry, frizzy hair and an irritated scalp.
- Hard water makes it hard for the soap to create lather and foam. This can lead to overuse of harsh, drying shampoos which can damage the scalp as well as hair.
- Hard water can irritate your scalp and cause flaking of skin. This can cause a vicious cycle of itching, scratching, and abrasions to the skin. Frequent itching causes mechanical damage to hair and results in hair fall.
What can you do?
- Soften your water by boiling it.
- Lower the mineral content of the water by using water softener machines which are specifically designed to solve this problem.
- Use water softeners as they work to reduce calcium and magnesium.
- Get a shower filter, which is a filter installed in your shower head.
- Shower filters work more or less in the same way as a regular water filter. They neutralize the pH level of water.
- Just replace the filter inside the shower head once a year and you’re good to go.
- Add alum to the water. You can find alum in your grocery stores.
- Before you rinse your hair, soften the water by adding a spoonful of alum to the bucket of water. Alum will make the minerals in the water to settle at the bottom. Scoop up water from the surface to rinse your hair.
A very common but silent cause of excessive hair fall can be the use of hard water while rinsing hair.
Problem is that many people are unaware of the effects of using hard water in the long term. The excessive amount of sulphates, phosphates, calcium and magnesium present in hard water lead to dandruff, dryness and hair loss. Hard water can even destroy the hair follicles making regrowth of hair harder. Hard water is slowly making hair dry, frizzy, and brittle leading to breakage and hair loss therefore softening the water is important to keep the hair healthy and flawless.
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