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When Water is Hard on Eczema via Cosmetics & Toiletries

Water and eczema do not play well together; in fact, some water types may be more harmful to afflicted skin than others. However, new research published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology found that both healthy skin barriers and those predisposed to irritation can be negatively affected by hard water.

Calcium and magnesium carbonates—including calcite, gypsum and dolomite—are found in high levels in hard water (≥ 100 mg/L). According to these researchers, higher calcium content in turn reduces the solubility of surfactants (detergents) in wash products, depositing them on skin and increasing the likelihood of irritation for those predisposed to atopic dermatitis.

This study confirmed that hard water worsens existing eczema, and that minerals in hard water could negatively affect the skin barrier of those with healthy skin. Infants bathed in hard water run an increased risk of early development of the skin condition as well.

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