Eczema Can be a Parents’ Worst Nightmare
The chronic, itchy skin rash that affects 20 percent of babies and young children is painful for your child, and a pain for you to deal with. Furthermore, while eczema conditions are known to improve with age, there is no true cure, and its regression is unpredictable in nature.
There are many preventative measures that people practice to mitigate the effects of eczema, or the chances of your child contracting it. Most are related to clothing, detergents, bathing, topical creams, certain diets, and prescription medicine.
But what about the effects of hard water on your baby’s skin? From the bathtub to the laundry, the water used during these essential life events can have an adverse effect on your child.
New research has shed light on this
High levels of hard water in the Pacific Northwest area are may be associated with atopic dermatitis (eczema). According to a new study led by King’s College London, living in a hard water area was associated with an up to 87% increased risk of baby eczema at three months of age, independent of domestic water chlorine content.
Lead author of the study Carsten Flohr, Ph.D. of the Institute of Dermatology at King’s College London, noted the purpose was not to study the causes and effects of eczema, but rather an association of homes that have hard water and the prevalence of eczema within those homes.
“We are about to launch a feasibility trial to assess whether installing a water softener in homes of high-risk children around the time of birth may reduce the risk of eczema, and whether reducing chlorine levels brings any additional benefits.”
Hard water may not be the only issue
Though eczema is largely known as a genetic condition, environmental triggers in household items such as water, detergent, and a mix of the two can cause symptoms.
While it is not known if calcium carbonate buildup is directly linked to causing these issues, or whether the pH levels, chlorine content, or other factors are at play, what is known is that having hard water is not good for adults, let alone the tender skin of a young child.
Furthermore, washing your baby’s clothes with the rest of your laundry probably won’t irritate your baby’s skin unless he or she suffers from allergies or eczema. However, don’t wash cloth diapers along with your regular load, as harsh detergents can cause diaper rash, regardless of water hardness.
Find out about your water
Soft water itself doesn’t have an all-encompassing ability to effectively cleanse skin gently. If you are living in a hard water area, get your water tested to find out the exact levels of hardness, and if your water has other issues, such as higher levels of chlorine. Though more studies are needed to attribute the specific contributions of ingredients of these formulations, the correlation between using such a product and your child experiencing less effects of dry skin is positive.