Is Your Water Supply Bad For Your Eczema? 3 Top Tips 2022


As if we needed ANOTHER thing that might trigger a flare up, right? Some days it seems that most things on earth can be an allergen or irritant. 

And now we’re telling you that yes, that lovely warm bath you like to soak in on a Sunday, might well be worsening your skin condition without you even realising. 

We’re sorry, truly we are, but luckily we’re here to provide some useful advice on what to do if you live in a hard water area, and tips on how to manage your symptoms should they arise. 

So in this article, you’ll learn: 

1) The link between hard water and skin health

2) How this might impact your eczema

3) Is a water softener the answer?

4) Top home treatment tips to prevent and soothe a flare up

The link between hard water and skin health 

Research conducted by the University of Sheffield and King’s College London has suggested that exposure to hard water damages the skin barrier. 

We know that people who suffer from eczema already experience this same issue, so coupling the two together creates a situation where your skin will find it increasingly difficult to keep moisture in, and irritants out. 

Furthermore hard water is said to contain increased levels of calcium and magnesium, which are known to clog pores and cause dry skin. They also don’t react well with soaps or shower gels, meaning often soap residue will be left on the skin after bathing, maybe causing dry skin and irritation - bad news for eczema sufferers. 

The result? Dry, itchy, inflamed patches you just can’t budge. 

How might this impact your eczema? 

It’s not likely that hard water will be the root cause of your eczema, even in children. However with its predisposition to break down the skin barrier and leave irritants like soap on the skin, it will certainly exacerbate symptoms. 

Essentially, if you suffer from eczema, you’re more likely to be sensitive to the impact of hard water on the skin. 

Is a water softener the answer? 

In short - it can certainly help, but might not be that magical silver bullet that suddenly relieves all your symptoms. 

Water softeners that remove magnesium and calcium are certainly of benefit, as they will mitigate the harsh impact of hard water.

Other research has suggested that actually it’s because of the ions in hard water that means soap won’t break down as easily on the skin, meaning you spend longer in the shower. This in turn inevitably means you need to use more soap - which can lead to dryness. 

The answer? Hypoallergenic - always! 

Top home treatment tips to prevent and soothe a flare up

As we know, sometimes it just isn’t possible to avoid a flare up. You could stay away from dust, dairy and your dog for a year, yet still get itchy, red patches all over your body. 

And sticking a water softener on your shower? Sure, it can certainly help. But won’t be enough to solve all your eczema woes. 

So if you’re currently experiencing symptoms, hopefully the advice below might be of some use. 

1) Stop the itch 

We know, but how? Luckily our plant-based calming spray might just be the answer! 

Enriched with a blend of 3 traditional Chinese herbs used for 1000’s of years in Asian medicine, our natural ingredients work hard to hydrate and repair the skin barrier whilst fighting inflammation. 

Oh and it’s also steroid, paraben and sulphate free - wonderful :)

2) Moisturise daily

As we said, if you suffer from eczema (and live in a hard water area) you most likely have a broken skin barrier. 

One way to help? Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise. Seriously, get a thick emollient on twice a day, everyday, and don’t miss a beat. 

3) Identify your triggers 

This is vital in taking back control of your skin. You HAVE to understand your triggers and get a grip on what sets off your flare ups. Dermatologists, patch testing and elimination diets are a good place to start. 

When you do find your triggers? Avoid ‘em. Like the plague. 

4) Stop, relax, breath 

Stress and your skin - they’re linked. Did you know that? Well now you do. 

When you have feelings of anxiety or stress your body enters a sympathetic ‘flight-or-fight-mode’ and a number of stress hormones such as cortisol are released into the bloodstream. This in turn can then cause inflammation of your skin and lead to a flare up. 

You have to prioritise your mental health if you want to break the eczema cycle. We preach meditation and mindfulness to help here, jump over to our social channels @yanyeeskincare to find out more. 

Final thoughts

Although hard water might not be THE reason your eczema is getting worse, it certainly might be playing a supporting role. 

So if you can, try a water softener (along with the tips we mentioned above) and hopefully you’ll start to see an improvement in your skin. 

What have we missed? Jump over to our Twitter page and let us know!

With care, 

The yan-yee team 


- The hard truth about eczema: it’s something in the water. (2017). Link

- Showering in hard water- are you really getting clean? (2016). Link

- What does hypoallergenic mean? (2020). Link

- How the fight or flight response works. (2019). Link

- Thomson SF. (2014). Atopic dermatitis: Natural history, diagnosis and treatment. Link 

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