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Hard water & eczema
Hard water contains a considerable amount of dissolved minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. These minerals are responsible for the white deposits seen in kettles, hot water pipes and shower heads, and cause the residue seen around bath tubs and shower panels.
Unfortunately, those minerals and deposits are also left on your skin after you wash, and can absorb the moisture and natural oils from your skin and aggravate skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
People living in hard water areas need to use more soap, shampoo and washing powder to see the same results as those living in soft water areas, so have a greater exposure to harsh chemicals and irritants. NHS choices says that water hardness can be a trigger for eczema as the excess minerals prevent foaming products from working properly, leading to increased usage which strips skin of natural oils.
Whilst the link between water hardness and eczema is open to debate, a study by Professor Williams of Nottingham University in 1998, found eczema is up to 44% more common in primary school children living in hard water areas, than in those who live in areas where the water is soft.
Eczema Hotspots in the UK
Recent findings from natural Skincare experts Salcura reveals an association between hard water and the incidence of eczema. An analysis of nearly 24,000 orders over the last 18 months of eczema products for adults and children reveals a direct correlation between hard water and demand for eczema treatment. Analysis shows that the most eczema products were delivered to London, followed by the West Midlands, Essex, Surrey, and Kent.
Salcura also noted that these are all areas of very hard water, something which NHS Choices states is a common trigger for exacerbating eczema. The lowest orders were in Perthshire, Falkirk, Orkney Islands and Clackmannanshire, which are known to be areas of soft water.
Although the top three areas where the highest orders of eczema products are delivered have big populations, the sales aren’t directly related to population. Somerset, which is in the top ten, has roughly the same population as Warwickshire, which comes in the bottom fifty.
Highest incidence of eczema in the UK:
- West Midlands
- West Yorkshire
Lowest incidence of eczema in the UK:
- Orkney Islands
- Shetland Islands