Can Hair Loss Result From Hard Water In Your Shower? An Expert Explains

Unfortunately, hair issues can come from a number of causes and sometimes it's difficult to pinpoint exactly what's causing the issues. Systematically removing products from your routine can help you pinpoint if dry, brittle, or breaking hair is due to a sneaky ingredient in one of the products you've been using. But if you've removed some items and still don't see a difference, there's a good chance the problem isn't what you're buying. In fact, it might be the fault of something in your home.


Water is essential for hydrating our bodies, skin, and hair. But sometimes, the water coming from the tap might be doing more harm than good. That's certainly the case when it comes to hard water, which tends to leave spots on dishes and a film on your hands and clothes. Hard water may also be the reason you're experiencing hair loss, says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry, M.D., M.B.B.S. of Scandinavian Biolabs. Speaking to Glam, Dr. Chaudhry explains how hard water may impact your hair.

Hard water can lead to brittle hair

Your daily shower might be wreaking havoc on your hair, specifically the minerals found in hard water. "Yes, it is possible to experience hair loss due to hard water in your shower. Hard water is water that contains high levels of minerals such as calcium and magnesium," explains Dr. Chaudhry. "These minerals can cause damage to the hair by stripping it of its natural oils, making it brittle, and causing it to break or fall out."


It might not be so apparent after one shower, but if you have hard water, the build-up of minerals on your strands may start to show after continually washing your hair. You'll often notice how dry or brittle your hair feels after a shower, even if you're using shampoos, conditioners, or products that combat dryness. Your hair also might be frizzier and harder to tame after prolonged exposure to hard water. Eventually, you may also notice damage, breakage, and thinning hair.

Damage from hard water can vary

But hard water doesn't only affect your strands, Dr. Chaudhry notes. "Additionally, hard water can cause scalp irritation and inflammation, which can lead to hair loss," he explains. "This is because hard water can disrupt the natural pH balance of the scalp, making it more difficult for the hair follicles to grow and thrive." It's no secret that a healthy scalp leads to healthy hair. When hair follicles aren't functioning at their best, they may grow fewer strands per follicle, leading to hair thinning. It can also prevent natural oils from coating the strands and hydrating the hair.


"The severity of hair loss depends on a variety of factors, including the individual's genetics, the frequency of exposure to hard water, and the type of hard water in question," explains Dr. Chaudhry. "However, it is important to note that hair loss due to hard water is typically reversible and can be prevented by using a water-softening system or by using hair products specifically designed to combat the effects of hard water." You can get a hard water filter or water softener for your shower that attaches to the shower head. The filter removes the calcium, magnesium, and mineral deposits that can damage your hair, scalp, and skin.