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What Is the Connection Between Hard Water and Hair Loss?

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  • Written By: Kathleen Howard
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2014
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Hard water is water that contains a large amount of dissolved minerals, primarily magnesium and calcium. Many people believe that hard water can cause hair loss when it is used to bathe with on a regular basis. While clinical research has not found a connection between hard water and hair loss, many people are still convinced. This connection is believed to be due to the minerals in hard water causing dryness, breakage and eventually thinning. Others argue that while hard water might weigh the hair down and make it appear thinner, there is not a solid connection between hard water and actual hair loss.

Of the disadvantages of hard water, hair loss is one that worries many individuals. Due its mineral content, hard water might make the hair feel dry and cause strands to break. If the hair breaks close to the scalp, it can seem as if a person’s hair is falling out at an increased rate. This additional breakage could lead some individuals to believe that there is a link between hard water and hair loss. Severe or sudden hair loss, however, is not normal and cannot be attributed to washing with hard water.

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While many people do think there is a connection between hard water and hair loss, medical experts are not as sure. Many medical professionals are not convinced that hard water has any ability to increase hair loss. Instead, experts believe that hard water leaves a mineral residue on the hair. This residue can make the hair appear thin, dull and lifeless. After washing with hard water, some people might mistake the hair’s thinner appearance with hair loss.

People who are convinced their water is causing hair loss can have the water in their home tested. If the water is found to have a high mineral content, an individual can decide whether it would be beneficial to have the water treated. This will make the water softer and reduce the film of minerals left on the hair after washing. To minimize exposure to hard water, people who believe there is a link between hard water and hair loss can also choose to wash their hair with bottled or filtered water.

People who are concerned over their hair loss should consult a physician. While hard water might not improve the health of the hair, most experts do not believe it is one of the major causes of hair loss. By consulting a physician, a person should be able to determine the cause of his or her hair loss and receive advice on preventing hair loss in the future.

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anon976733
Post 5

I took a temporary work assignment in Washington DC and within days of settling into my new apartment, noticed more hair appearing in my hair brush, to the point I was cleaning the hair from the brush daily. This went on for five months.

I thought it might be my hair products so I changed them with no improvement. I'd always had thick hair and thought my hair loss had to be connected with the move. One day, I was searching the internet and thought I'd try washing my hair with bottled water. The first time I used the bottled water, my hair stopped falling out immediately. Now after 11 months in DC, I have to say my hair is back to normal. It's a little bit of a hassle heating and using bottled water, but considering the alternative, I'll be a little inconvenienced.

burcinc
Post 3

@alisha-- Your scalp irritation and hair loss could also be due to the mineral buildup from the water. You should use a clarifying shampoo once a week to clean your hair and scalp.

discographer
Post 2

@ddljohn-- I disagree, I think that hard water can cause hair loss.

I have hard water too and it makes my scalp very dry and flaky. I literally develop scalp dermatitis from hard water and the irritation on my scalp causes me to lose more hair than usual.

I had a special shower head installed in my bathroom that softens water. My scalp is doing a little bit better now and my hair loss is not as bad. But it still could be better.

ddljohn
Post 1

We have hard water where I live. I don't think hard water causes hair loss, but it definitely causes hair damage. My hair is so dry and brittle because of it. I have split ends everywhere and my hair easily breaks off while brushing.

I visit my grandparents in the summer and they have soft water. Whenever I go to their house, my hair becomes soft and healthy. So the hardness of water definitely affects hair.

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