The Hard Truth: The Effects of Hard Water on Your Hair, Skin & Health

Most of us take water for granted.

However, water is an extremely vital part of our lives. In fact, the average person uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water per day.

For this reason, it’s very important that you’re using the best water possible.

If you’re living in a developed area, it’s unlikely that your water is contaminated. However, there is a chance that your water is too hard and that you need to invest in a softener.

But, why is hard water bad for you?

Check out this guide to learn about the negative effects of hard water on the hair, skin, and overall health.

What Is Hard Water? 

First things first, what exactly is hard water?

Hard water refers to water that has a high volume of hard minerals. More specifically, calcium and magnesium. Other dissolved solids, such as barium, aluminum, iron, zinc, strontium, and manganese can also cause hard water.

The hardness of the water is measured by grains per gallon. And, for water to be considered hard, it must register above 3.5 grains per gallon (gpg).

So, why is hard water a problem? Let’s dive into the negative effects of hard water now.

Health Effects 

Hard water can worsen a number of different health issues.

A study in Taiwan found that the presence of magnesium and calcium correlated to higher mortality rates in certain types of cancer, specifically with colon cancer.

And, one of the most alarming effects of hard water is that it can increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, as evidenced by multiple studies.


Hard water can also do a number on your hair.

This is because the excess amounts of calcium and magnesium present in hard water mix with your products to form salt.

This salt then leaves a residue on your hair and scalp, which in turn prevents your scalp from absorbing the moisturizer that your conditioner provides.

As a result, you end up with hair that’s tangled, dry, and easily breaks. It can also eventually lead to hair thinning.

Here are the top signs that water is affecting your hair:

  • You’re left with residual shampoo in your hair
  • Your hair is difficult to lather with shampoo
  • You’re experiencing hair loss
  • Your hair is frizzy
  • You feel like your shampoo and soap is ineffective
  • You have a dry scalp that leads to dandruff
  • Your hair feels brittle
  • If you have color-treated hair, it fades quickly
  • Your hair feels dull, limp, straw-like, and less pliable


Hard water can also have an extremely negative impact on your skin.

Hard water can make it difficult to rinse soap away from the surface of the skin, which in turn can lead to skin dryness and irritation.

Furthermore, if you suffer from skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, or just overly sensitive skin, hard water can exacerbate these conditions by drying out your skin even more.

Hard water can also seep up the moisture in your skin, which can lead to an imbalance in your pH levels and potentially cause breakouts.

Around the Home

In addition to the negative effects that hard water can have on your health, hair, and skin, hard water can also negatively impact your home.

Here’s how:

Scale Build up on Appliances and Plumbing Fixtures 

One of the biggest issues with hard water is that it can cause scale build-up on your appliances and plumbing fixtures.

Not only is this build-up unsightly, but it can also give your water a foul taste, especially if the scale build-up is on a coffee pot or some other kitchen appliance.

Faded Clothing 

Hard water can also strip away the coloring of your clothes much faster than treated water would.

Due to the extra mineral substance in hard water, this can also lead to your clothes and bedding feeling scratchy.

Stained Sinks and Bathtubs

The mineral residue from hard water can easily lead to stained skins and bathtubs. And, while the stains are relatively easy to clean off with these cleaning solutions, no one wants to be cleaning their bathroom every day.

This is why we suggest investing in a water softener to alleviate some of the problem.

Plumbing Issues

Hard water can also lead to a number of different plumbing issues. This is due to the fact that steel pipes have a difficult time handling hard water.

Due to the build-up of minerals, your pipes can become easily damaged, which in turn can affect the water flow.

Also, hard water can lead to corrosion and other issues with your pipes. And before you know it, you’ll be calling your plumber all the time to deal with these issues.

Increased Water Bills 

Hard water can also increase your water bills.

As magnesium and calcium build up inside of your pipes, it becomes harder and harder for water to flow through your plumbing system.

This can result in a number of issues, such as cracked pipes and leaks. Even the smallest of leaks can cause gallons and gallons of water loss over the course of the year, which in turn can lead to higher water bills.

Unsightly Dishes

Have you ever noticed unsightly white spots on your glasses or dishes when you pull them out of the dishwasher?

Typically, this is caused by hard water.

And, not only is this unsightly, but it also means that you’ll have to rewash your dishes, which can also lead to higher water bills.

Is Hard Water Bad for You? Time to Soften Up Your Water 

So, is hard water bad for you?

As you can see from this guide, hard water has many negative effects. If you suspect that your home has hard water, the best thing to do is to invest in a water softener.

And, if you liked this article, be sure to check back in for more health-related tips and tricks.



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