More and more people in the UK are suffering from eczema - an uncomfortable dry skin condition. It is more common in hard water water areas, and many people with eczema report that a water softener causes a big improvement in their skin condition.
A new study, due to be published later this year, will tell us more about the difference installing a water softener can make to people with eczema.
When you book a free demonstration of soft water, you’ll be able to see the difference for yourself.
Eczema - a growing problem
Eczema is most common among children, but it can be a problem for adults too. The rates of eczema in children are around one in five(1), while for adults it is closer to one in twelve. Patches of red, dry, itchy skin are the main symptom of the condition, which can cause considerable discomfort and distress.
Hard water households are more prone to eczema
A University of Nottingham study carried out in 1998(2) looked at more than 7,500 children, and found that eczema is up to 44% more common in primary school children living in hard water areas than in those who lived in areas where the water was soft. Differences in age or social class couldn’t account for this finding - and similar studies in Japan in 2002 and Spain in 2006 came to similar conclusions.
There are various theories as to why this might be. We know that soft water is less drying to the skin, so it seems likely that this might have a direct effect on a dry skin condition such as eczema.
Another idea is that cleaning products aggravate the condition - and when you have a water softener, you greatly reduce the amount of soap, shampoo and washing powder that you use.
So far there are no studies that prove the link, though it’s clear from the results of a recent experiment(3) that families that are provided with a water softener do feel the benefits of it. Significantly more of these families reported feeling an improvement in their eczema, and in their lives more generally, than the families who didn’t receive one. Indeed, most of them went on to purchase the softener when the experiment finished!(4)
(1) National Eczema Society 2001.
(2) Professor Hywel Williams, University of Nottingham, August 1998
(3) Softened Water Eczema Trial, University of Nottingham, February 2011
(4) UK Water Treatment Association, February 2011