Does hard water cause Hair loss?

Since I came to the United States, I lost a lot of hair every time I took a shower. It worried me for a long time. I thought there might be some correlation between the quality of the water and hair loss. The water we use to take a shower in the United States is hard water, and the water we use in my hometown is soft water. Hard water is “water that contains magnesium, calcium, or iron salts and therefore forms a soap lather with difficulty.” Soft water is “natural or treated water that does not contain a significant amount of dissolved minerals such as compounds of calcium or magnesium.” Some people, like me, believe that hard water directly cause hair loss. However, some other people, even some scientists consider that there are no evidence to prove that hard water can cause hair loss.

Portrait of a young woman brushing her hair, close up (studio)

Portrait of a young woman brushing her hair, close up (studio)

As mentioned above, hard water contains mineral contents. I have tried to find some research about whether hard water can actually cause hair loss. It seemed that people just believe hard water is harmful without valid evidence. The research indicated that “Because of its large mineral composition, hard water could make the hair appear dull and make the strands wear out. When the hair ruptures near the scalp, it may look like your hair is receding at an accelerated rate.” Because of the negative aspects of hard water, people tend to believe that hard water can cause hair loss. Other  hypothesis had been rejected before any research. Many experts had said that it is still uncertain.

Here are two experts discussing their opinions about hair loss. They both insist that there are no evidence prove that hard water can cause hair loss or hair breakage. However, they think that the minerals in hard water make our hair feel different. It is probably that what we feel different makes us believe that hair loss is due to hard water.

Hard water might or might not cause hair loss. It is still a problem that need to be study in the future. We cannot control the water quality we use when we wash hair. It would be better to go to the doctor and ask the real reasons of hair loss.


6 thoughts on “Does hard water cause Hair loss?

  1. Elizabeth Sweitzer

    I enjoyed reading this because I notice differences in hard and soft water while I have traveled in the way my hair feels. I never really thought about the fact that it could have an effect on hair loss. What I wonder about is is this study took into consideration possible third variables like genetics that can lead to people being more likely to experience hair loss than others. that would be an interesting part of this study to explore as well.

  2. John Luken

    Although there is no concrete evidence that hair loss is a result of using hard water, this article explains that the hard water can cause damage to the hair because of the different things within it. Hair also falls out everyday so you might just be noticing it now because you are in a different environment. It would be interesting to look further into this!

  3. Marisa Rose Defilippo

    I really enjoyed reading your post as I have been really pondering this topic ever since I moved in here at Penn State. I feel as though the pressure here is slowly damaging my hair. Even though some studies you provided us with may have yet to prove this, I feel that with time there will be evidence linking these two together. The water here definitely affects my hair differently than the water at home. At home, I always got out of the shower feeling like my hair was very thick, smooth, and silky. But here when I get out of the shower, I feel like I have brushed out too much of my hair as it appears to be very tangled and straw- like.

  4. Amanda M Mitchell

    I for one must say since I have arrived on campus my hair has been the softest, shiniest most lush it has ever been.. I am surprised you have not noticed it bobbing around the lowest rows of the middle isle. Just kidding. Although I do stand by the statement that my hair has gotten increasingly softer. I do believe that you should accept the null hypothesis in your blog. I say this because of how little evidence there is on a effects of hard water and hair loss. Although to find what is going on I think we should look to both insecurities and stress. I know personally when I am nervous, or uncomfortable and do not know what to do with my hands I run them through my hair, or flip my hair to the opposite side. My mom constantly screams at me when I do this because you can evidently see my receding hair line from hair flipping. Also when I am stressed I find that I run my fingers through the top of my hair and pull out large quantity of hair. Taking these anecdotes further I have found that “repeated and constant twirling and pulling can lead to frizzier hairs regrowing, and in some cases where the pulling is long term there can be follicular damage where the regowth potential can be diminished.” Another thing that you should consider is how immensely your life style has changed since being on campus. It is a definite that you are not eating the same, and you could also have different sleeping patterns, and lifestyle changes that are effecting how your hair is growing and failing out.

  5. Stephanie Ann Loesch

    I have also noticed that my hair has been “shedding” more here than at home. I did not know what could be causing this phenomenon. Have you considered the fact that other factors may be affecting your hair loss other than “hard water” versus “soft water?” Could your hair loss be a result of elevated stressed you feel coming to a college in another country? Or the stress of receiving good grades while here at Penn State? I know that my stress levels have risen while at college as the decisions I make all impact my future and are much more important than the ones I made in high school. Even things such as making living arrangements for next year was very stressful for me. One type of hair loss is known as telogen effluvium and it involves hair loss that is induced by stress. Stress can actually push hair follicles into a resting phase. The hair in these follicles then can easily fall out when brushing or washing your hair after a while. Since the studies you find seem to confirm the null hypothesis that “hard water” does not result in hair loss, maybe you should consider other variables that affect your hair loss. Hopefully, we can prevent or stop this hair loss quickly one way or another!

  6. Katie Anne Hagar

    While there may be no evidence supporting the idea that hard water causes hair loss, I would support those who believe hard water is worse for your hair than soft water. I have noticed a difference in water since I came to Penn State. While I am sure my water at home is hard water, as I live in Pennsylvania, the water here affects my hair differently. I feel that hair was not developed originally to be exposed to the chemicals that can be found in water. I just hope they do not find evidence that it does cause hair loss!

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