Does Hard Water Really Cause Permanent Hair Loss? (Lets Find Out)

Hard water. The enemy of household appliances, showers, and cups of tea everywhere.

Limescale and corrosion are just some of the nuisances it causes, floating in your kettle and causing your showerhead to become blocked. But what if it was more than that? 

There have been cases where people claim to have suffered from hair loss as a result of hard water in their home.

Is hard water really able to cause hair loss? Are you at risk if you live in a hard water area? It’s time we took a closer look and answered your most pressing questions. 

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Testing for Hard Water 

Testing for hard water is a great way to confirm that your home has it. The great news? It’s really simple to do yourself, so there’s no need to get the experts out. 

What You Will Need:
  • Clear container 
  • Liquid soap 
  • Tap water 

Step One: Fill the Container 

Take the container and fill it a third of the way with tap water from your kitchen sink. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, something as simple as a water bottle is more than enough. 

Step Two: Liquid Soap

For this, you should use pure liquid soap so that you get the best results. All you need to do is squeeze around ten drops into the container. Make sure you don’t use soap that is labelled as detergent as the additives will skew the results. 

Step Three: Shake Things Up 

Now, put the lid on the container (or your thumb over the top) and shake it up vigorously. You should shake it for at least ten seconds to make sure everything mixes properly. 

Step Four: Results

Place the container on a flat surface and wait for the contents to settle. If the soapy foam is sitting on top of the water and the liquid is still clear, you likely have soft water.

If you have very few suds and the water has become cloudy, this indicates hard water. 

This is because of all the minerals and calcium that’s found in hard water. The soap binds with these minerals, which then forms the cloudy liquid found in the container.

It doesn’t just leave residue on your dishes either; it also gets left on your skin and hair. 


Is There a Link Between Hard Water and Hair Loss?

Studies undertaken by Srinivasin et al have found that there is no direct link between hard water and hair loss.

Their recent study showed that the tensile strength and elasticity of hair was not altered when washed in hard water compared to distilled water. 

However, there’s another side to this argument. There haven’t really been enough studies to determine whether or not hard water affects hair loss, and there has been some evidence to suggest that it does happen. 

While personal accounts aren’t technically evidence, there are plenty of them out there demonstrating the effect hard water has had on their hair.

What was once healthy and thick is now frizzy and has let bald patches behind. So, what’s the truth here? 

Unfortunately, there is no definite answer. But, there is some evidence to suggest that calcium deposits can harm your hair - which is found in hard water. In the next section, we explore this notion further. 

We also have to consider the other reasons people could be losing their hair. The stress of life and work, medications, alopecia, or even mental health conditions that are causing severe psychological strains. Could it be a mix of hard water and existing conditions?

Read Here: The mental impacts of alopecia 

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Do Calcium Deposits Contribute to Hair Loss?

Yes, calcium deposits absolutely contribute to hair loss. This is because they build upon the scalp over time, making it difficult to properly lather and get both your scalp and hair clean.

This process is also known as scalp calcification and can be caused by internal and external factors. 

Regardless of whether it is caused by hard water calcium deposits or conditions like hypercalcemia, the effects can be equally severe. It can cause thinning as well as weaken the hair, but on top of this, it can lead to hair loss. 

While hair loss from calcium deposits is often temporary, there are severe cases of scalp calcification. In these situations, the deposits are so extreme that it can actually cause the death of air follicles - making the damage irreversible. 

Admittedly, this is a rare occurrence, and you will typically find that the hair loss caused by calcium deposits is not permanent.

However, it is a potential reality and one that should be taken seriously. To avoid calcium build-ups on the scalp, install a water softener in the shower. 

Hard Water Hair Loss Care Tips 

If you’re unable to avoid hard water, or your hair has already been damaged by it, there are ways you can look after your hair and take better care of it. 

Vinegar Rinse. This is actually a great way to break up the calcium deposits on your scalp, all without damaging your hair.

The acidity of the vinegar reacts negatively with the calcium, but it won’t cause irritation to your scalp or have any impact on your hair or follicles. 

Citrus Rinse. This is similar to the vinegar rinse and uses lemons or limes. Once again, the acidity works to remove the calcium deposits from your scalp without it having any effect on your hair. 

Water Softener. This is the best practice and the one that will yield the most consistent results.

You can install one on the showerhead to purify the water so that you end up with soft and cleansing water that won’t damage your hair or irritate your scalp. 

Clarifying Shampoo. This works to help repair your hair and put moisture back into it, as well as lathering well in an effort to get rid of those nasty build-ups.

It’s a really effective treatment and should be used regularly to maintain healthy and happy hair when dealing with hard water. 



Will hair grow back after hard water?

Yes, if your hair falls out and you are afraid it could be caused by hard water it will usually grow back.

Hard water does not tend to cause permanent hair loss, and your follicles should recover within a few weeks to a couple of months. 

Will boiling hard water make it soft?

Yes, boiling hard water does make it soft. This is because the act of boiling the water causes the minerals to be dissolved through precipitation.

Since this removes the calcium content, the water becomes soft once it has been boiled.

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How do you treat damaged hair from hard water?

One of the best ways to treat hair that has been damaged by hard water is to get a water softener for the shower.

This can actually be attached to the showerhead, essentially filtering the water as it runs so that your hair isn’t damaged further. 

In addition to this, you should try a hair mask as well as clarifying shampoos that will help add moisture and repair the damage done to your hair.

You can also try a citrus and vinegar rinse, which can be an exceptionally effective treatment. 

Final Thoughts 

Hard water may or may not be the cause of any hair loss you are experiencing. It’s tough, but the best thing you can do is see a medical professional rule out any health conditions first.

While calcium can be the cause of hair loss, studies on the impact of hard water are vague. 

With this in mind, it’s still better to be safe rather than sorry. Where possible, install a water softener for your shower and take advantage of its superb filtration.

Using this guide, you’re sure to find the best way to care for your hair and prevent (as well as repair) hard water damage.


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