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Does Hard Water Cause Hair Loss? The Reason & Solution

Seeing that white dirt on your faucets makes you think hard water spoils your scalp and maybe even clogs up your hair follicles and leads to hair loss. Does hard water lead to hair loss?

Hard water contains high amounts of minerals such as magnesium and calcium, and you might be using it during your daily life. 

Hard water typically causes hair breakage rather than hair loss. So, it might not be the underlying cause just by itself.

To make it easier for you to figure out if hard water is causing hair loss, we’ve gathered some important information you might need. Before we delve into the details.

Here are some key takeaways from the article to get you started:

  • HARD WATER CAN CAUSE HAIR LOSS BUT NOT DIRECTLY.
  • SHOWERING WITH HARD WATER CAN TRIGGER ECZEMA AND PSORIASIS.
  • DRINKING HARD WATER HAS NO HARMFUL EFFECTS ON OVERALL HEALTH.
  • DRY/FRIZZY HAIR THAT BREAKS IS A SIGN OF HAIR LOSS FROM HARD WATER.

Can Hard Water Cause Hair Loss?

Although indirectly, hard water can be causing the hair loss you might be experiencing. What is referred to as hard water is basically water containing higher amounts of minerals such as calcium and magnesium. 

Excessive amounts of these minerals can block the hair follicles. Especially for those whose sebum production is already higher than normal, using hard water can make things worse. That’s because if you already have too much oil clogging your pores, the calcium from hard water will just cause more buildup. 

So eventually, hair follicles can’t get the moisture and nutrients they should be getting, leading to hair loss issues.

Can Hard Water Cause Permanent Hair Loss?

Well, technically hard water won’t be causing permanent hair loss, it’s the worst-case scenario. Your hair can feel thinner, but it’s mostly because it’s breaking here and there due to the dryness. 

Other than that, hard water can make eczema or psoriasis worse than it already is. If these conditions get triggered and cause infection-level problems, it can lead to permanent hair loss. 

⚠️ This is a rare occurrence, an extreme scenario. If you still want to make sure, there are water test kits available.

Can Hard Water Cause Hair Loss from Drinking?

No, drinking hard water won’t cause hair loss. Contrary to what many people think, there are hardly any negative effects on your health from it.

In fact, WHO stated at the Geneva Conference that drinking hard water can be beneficial because it contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium, which are known to contribute to overall well-being. However, for the best drinking water, aim for a balanced touch – keep the calcium carbonate level between 60 and 120 parts per million per liter.

Does Hard Water Affect Dyed Hair More?

Yes, hard water can damage dyed hair more. This is because hard water has a tendency to further dehydrate your hair, which is already in a fragile state after dyeing it.

When you dye your hair, the dye breaks the outer protective shell and forces the pigment into the cortex. As a result, sebum that usually moisturizes the tips of your hair can’t easily reach them, making your hair more vulnerable to dryness and damage when exposed to hard water.

Can Well Water Cause Hair Loss?

Showering with well water might not be a good idea since it can cause not only skin issues but also clog up the follicles, leading to hair loss.

This type of water can seem like a more natural and purified option for hard city water, but in reality, it can be contaminated with bacteria or sediment along with its higher levels of minerals.

Can Showering With Hard Water Cause Hair Loss?

If you’re wondering, “Why does my hair get hard after I shower?” it’s likely due to overexposure to minerals in hard water.  This exposure will end up drying out the scalp skin, along with dry hair.

With not enough moisture and changes in pH balance levels, damage to the hair cuticle and scalp is more likely to happen.

Even if your hair doesn’t soak up things easily (low porosity), it can stay hydrated with the proper conditioners. But since hard water can cause build up, it could be making your hair feel dry after washing.

Besides, if you already have skin-related issues such as eczema and psoriasis, hard water can trigger them to the point of hair loss.

In addition to this, the hair growth cycle might get disturbed due to the blocked hair follicles, making hair loss a possible outcome.

Can a Dirty Showerhead Cause Hair Loss?

Shower heads can indeed cause hair loss. Because they’re in contact with hard water almost every other day.

Dirt, mold, mineral build-ups, and even fungi can get stuck inside your shower head and you might not even realize until you look at the inside of it.

All these can irritate the scalp skin, clog up the hair follicles, and cause poor follicle health resulting in hair loss in time.

Can Water Softener Cause Hair Loss?

Since water softeners are designed to remove harsh excessive minerals from hard water, they won’t cause hair loss.

They’re supposed to soften the hard water that might be making your hair fall out by causing calcium buildup on the scalp. It can also dry your hair out, leading to dandruff.

Does Showering Too Much Cause Hair Loss?

Showering or washing your hair too often won’t cause hair loss typically.

People usually assume that washing and shampooing hair every day is bad because doing so dries the hair and the scalp out, but this is a myth.

By washing your hair daily with a gentle shampoo that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals, you can get rid of excessive oil on your scalp and prevent hair follicles from clogging up. However,  showering with hard water too often can cause hair loss because calcium deposits can build up on the scalp and block the follicles. 

Can Chlorine in Water Cause Hair Loss?

Exposure to chlorine water can strip the natural oils from your hair, but it doesn’t directly cause hair loss. While it can be harsh on your hair and contribute to breakage, this doesn’t necessarily result in complete hair loss. 

One potential pathway for it to lead to hair loss is through the development of dandruff, as excessive levels of chlorine in water are known to disrupt your hair’s natural balance and contribute to dandruff. Consequently, hair loss can be an outcome of persistent dandruff.

How to Understand Your Hair Is Affected by Hard Water

It can be hard to understand if hard water is the cause of your dry and damaged hair or hair loss. However, you can check whether the signs indicate an impact on your hair

  • FRIZZY/DRY HAIR
  • HAIR BREAKAGE AND DAMAGE 
  • SPLIT ENDS
  • GREASY HAIR
  • HAIR THINNING
  • HAIR LOSS
  • DISCOLOURATION OF HAIRS
  • SCALP IRRITATION
  • DRY SCALP

What To Do For Hard Water Hair Loss

Protecting hair from hard water and dealing with its other challenges is easier than you might think.

By making some adjustments in your home, it’s possible to minimize hard water’s impacts on your hair, skin, and houseware. 

  • INSTALLING AN ION EXCHANGE WATER SOFTENER/WATER FILTRATION SYSTEM
  • PUTTING ON A SHOWER FILTER
  • USING RINSE AID
  • CONSIDER A REVERSE OSMOSIS SYSTEM
  • USING PROPER PRODUCTS FOR HARD WATER DAMAGED HAIR

What Kind of a Hair Routine Should You Follow for Hard Water Hair Loss?

Feel free to get started with these steps, or customize them to fit your preferences.

  1. CHANGE TO A GENTLE CLARIFYING, CHELATING SHAMPOO
  2. MASSAGE THE SHAMPOO TO REMOVE BUILDUP AND RINSE THOROUGHLY
  3. USE A NOURISHING NORMAL OR A LEAVE-IN CONDITIONER OR A HAIR MASK TO PROVIDE MOISTURE
  4. GENTLY PAT YOUR HAIR WITH A SOFT MICROFIBER TOWEL
  5. CONSIDER APPLYING HEAT PROTECTANTS AND MOISTURIZING CARRIER OIL PRODUCTS (ARGAN, COCONUT, OLIVE, ETC.) TO DAMP HAIR
  6. DON’T BLOW DRY YOUR HAIR TOO CLOSELY

Which Shampoo Is the Best for Hard Water Hair Loss?

Chelating shampoos which can control the buildup on your scalp are the best shampoos you can use to relieve the effects of hard water on your hair.

Check out the products that are sulfate and silicone-free, with a balanced pH.

Shampoos containing vitamins A, C, and E as well as biotin and panthenol can also be ideal for repairing damaged hair.

Is Spring Water Good For Hair?

Even if your hair can feel dried out a bit after exposure to spring water because of mineral content, it can be good for treating hard water effects on hair.

Unlike hard water, spring water contains sulfur, a key element that promotes scalp health and reduces dandruff, ultimately preventing long-term hair loss.

Can I Use Hot Water to Soften My Water for Hair Wash?

You shouldn’t be using hot water to soften your hair. Quite the contrary, it’ll strip out the oil from your hair and scalp, leaving it more dry and brittle than it was before.

Instead, try using lukewarm water to minimize the potential damage.

How to Regrow Hair Loss Due to Hard Water

Finding the underlying reason is a key factor when it comes to finding solutions for hard water hair problems.

After ruling out possible reasons other than hard water, you can try hair health routines.

  • TAKING MULTIVITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS (IRON, ZINC, OMEGA-6, ETC.)
  • USING ESSENTIAL OILS (E.G. ROSEMARY OIL)
  • USING MINOXIDIL 2%
  • HAIR PRODUCTS WITH RED GINSENG
  • ORAL/TOPICAL NIACIN (VITAMIN B3)

How to Treat Dandruff from Hard Water

To get dandruff due to hard water under control, you can try using special shampoos such as clarifying, chelating, and/or anti-dandruff that contain zinc pyrithione or ketoconazole. This will help remove the potential mineral build-up from hard water. 

Since hard water is the cause of this build-up in the first place, try using soft water that has lower mineral levels to rinse, such as distilled or filtered water. 

Can Water Quality Cause Hair Loss?

Shortly, yes, if the water quality is not that good in your area, you can experience excessive hair shedding. If you didn’t know, the quality of water changes depending on where you live. It might just be the reason why your hair is getting damaged while your friend in another city/country is not experiencing the same issue. 

In the 2022 Environmental Performance Index’s findings on Sanitation and Drinking Water, Finland tops the list for the best water quality, while Chad ranks last among 179 countries, having the poorest water quality. 

Here’s the Sanitation and Drinking Water table from 2022 showing various countries ranks with their EPI scores.

COUNTRY

RANK

EPI SCORE

Finland

1

100.00

Netherlands

1

100.00

Japan

17

95.10

U.S.A

26

86.10

Russia

65

55.50

Turkey

75

52.70

Niger

178

1.50

Chad

179

NA

How Can I Understand the Quality of Water?

To tell the difference between hard and soft water, one thing that might help is knowing the qualities of hard water.

You can check for some telltale signs.

  • CLOUDY LOOK ON DISHES
  • MINERAL DEPOSITS ON CLOTHES AND FAUCETS 
  • MINERAL BUILD-UP ON FAUCETS
  • CLOGGED FAUCETS
  • SOAP AND SHAMPOO NOT FOAMING
  • DRY SKIN 
  • DULL HAIR AFTER SHOWER
  • STIFF LAUNDRY AFTER WASHING

Which Thermal Spring Water Is Best for Hair?

Yes, the natural, harsh chemical-free nature of thermal spring water can restore shine to your hair, but where do you find one? Among the ones we can recommend are Pamukkale Natural Park, Kerosene Creek, Kraus Hot Springs, Chena Hot Springs, and last but not least Takaragawa Onsen. 

Not only do they offer incredible benefits for your hair and health but they’re also some of the most otherworldly beautiful thermal spring waters you can visit.

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