Hard Water And Hair Loss: What You Need To Know
Hard water may look like regular water, yet it impacts your hair and scalp differently from soft water. It’s not considered dangerous to your health, yet it can cause problems for your scalp and hair.
After many showers or baths, hard water minerals in your hard water form a film on your hair, preventing moisture from entering. It can also cause scalp buildup and create challenges for your follicles, leading to dullness, dryness and if left unchecked, hair loss.
What Is Hard Water?
Compared to soft water, hard water has higher levels of dissolved minerals, especially magnesium and calcium. Water hardness happens when your groundwater percolates through chalk, gypsum or limestone deposits.
The concentration of these and other minerals in your water determine its level of hardness. People often utilize water softening systems to reduce mineral concentrations.
Does Hard Water Cause Hair Loss?
Over time, hard water buildup can slow hair growth and may cause your hair to fall out because of blocked hair follicles. In addition, too much calcium in the system can cause blood vessels to constrict, lowering blood flow and depriving follicles of essential nutrients.
The issue can get worse as styling products and leave-in conditioners are added to the mix. When these solutions mix with hard water, they can create a gummy layer on your hair and scalp. As hard water minerals and product buildup attach to your hair, moisture can't get in, and eventually, you may experience breakage.
Breakage is a condition where your hair strands look shorter than the rest of your hair and can make your tresses look patchy and thinner.
The Impact of Hard Water on Your Hair
It’s hard to create a lather with hard water so it often causes you to wash your hair for longer as you try and wash away calcium buildup, which can cause a dry scalp and skin.
It can also prevent moisture from penetrating cuticles on your hair fibers. This can lead to strands feeling and looking brittle and dry—a precursor to hair loss.
In a 2016 study, researchers took hair strands from 15 healthy females, cut them in half, and washed one half in distilled water and the other in hard water. They did this for 30 days and then examined the hair under a scanning electron microscope.
They found that the surface of hair treated with hard water appeared ruffled and had mineral deposits on them. Additionally, the thickness of the hair was decreased when compared to the hair treated with distilled water.
Other hair issues you may encounter with hard water include:
- Dry scalp
How Can I Tell if I Have Hard Water?
Many of us struggle with hard water buildup on our plumbing fixtures, laundry and our skin. Hard water reacting with dissolved calcium causes a soap scum which can take longer to rinse off.
Other ways you can tell if you have hard water include:
- Chalky residue on our dishes and glasses: If your dish and glassware have spots or streaks after you pull them from the dishwasher, you likely have a high concentration of minerals in your water.
- Lower water pressure: Limestone and other mineral deposits can build up in your pipes, leaving your showers with low water pressure.
- Laundry stains: You may find streaks and mineral stains on your clothes, and washing in hard water over time can wear out your clothes faster.
- A strange taste: Because of the high levels of mineral salts, it can cause our soup, tea and coffee to taste odd.
What Can Help My Hair if I Have Hard Water?
If you have hard water, you may want to consider a water softening system or shower filter. A shower filter can offer a fast fix that can change your water condition by reducing minerals and chlorine. This can make it a lot easier on your scalp and hair.
Additional steps you can take to protect your hair from hard water and prevent hair loss include:
- Avoiding hot water showers: Hotter water can pull healthy sebum oils from your scalp and hair. Instead, wash and rinse with cool or lukewarm water to minimize hard water damage.
- Use gentle conditioners: Better Not Younger’s Second Chance Repairing Conditioner for Dry or Damaged Hair can restore hair washed in hard water. Second Chance contains argan oil which has natural phenols that fortify follicle health and keeps your hair and scalp from drying out.
- Rinse your hair with apple cider vinegar and water: Mix a solution of apple cider vinegar and water in a bowl or bucket and use it to rinse the hard water and conditioner from your hair. Vinegar removes mineral deposits and can help balance your pH.
- Use a scalp serum to hydrate and soothe your skin: Every night before bed, apply a dropper filled with Superpower Fortifying Hair & Scalp Serum along your part line and around your head. Our serum contains ceramides that protect your hair's outer layers, attract water, and help retain moisture.
- Do a weekly mask: A weekly scalp mask will help you rehydrate your hair and skin while soothing your stressed skin and hair. Hair Redemption Restorative Butter Masque has five plant-based butters to renew, restore and soothe tired hair.
- Scalp detox: Detox your scalp using New Dawn Activated Charcoal Scalp Cleanser. It uses a blend of alpha-hydroxy and activated charcoal to pull out impurities, including product buildup, dead skin cells and mineral deposits.
Restore Your Hair and Scalp with Better Not Younger
Soft water is typically considered gentler on your hair and scalp than hard water. However, if you have hard water, Better Not Younger has a full lineup of age-related skin and hair products that can help. Our lineup lets you maintain the health of your tresses and impede hair loss, no matter if your water is hard or soft.