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Side Effects Of Water Softener On Hair
Water has been classified as hard water and soft water. When large amounts of magnesium and calcium are contained in water, it is called as hard water. Hard water is harmful in many ways. For example, soaps are detergents do not dissolve completely in hard water.
On hairs and skin also, hard water has harmful effects. Hairs become rough and tangled. Even shampoos are not able to make hairs soft and shiny due to hard water. It is not that hard water cannot be converted into soft water. There are some chemicals called as water softeners that can be used for softening water.
Water softeners remove all sorts of ions that cause hardness of water, which include magnesium, calcium and iron ions. Water softeners are available as a unit and are connected directly to the water supply. Water softeners are basically specific ion exchangers that remove the positively charged ions.
These collect hardness causing minerals in its conditioning tank, which are ultimately flushed away through the drainage system. In the water softening process, magnesium and calcium ions are replaced by potassium and sodium ions and thus, composition of water changes. Water softening units last for many years but their regular maintenance is necessary.
Effects of Water Softeners on Hairs
Effects of water softeners have been debated greatly. While some people are found thrilled treating their hairs with soft water, most of them are not. Even there are some people that report some side effects of using softened water. Thus, it cannot be said with surety if water softeners should be used. When a person is accustomed of washing hairs with hard water, he would definitely observe some changes in hairs when water softeners are used.
Since water softeners put hard water through a sodium-ion exchange, which leads to change in composition of water, in some people, it may lead to loss of shine on hairs. This is because hairs do not get magnesium and calcium as they used to get before applying water softeners. Even there are some people who have reported that after using water softeners, their hairs have become flaky.
Other problem that is commonly reported because of water softeners is dryness of scalp. Due to dryness, it also becomes itchy. It must be understood that when water softeners are used, a swapping process occurs, which leads to replacement of magnesium and calcium with sodium and potassium. Due to this process, resins of sodium are result.
These resins cause dryness of scalp and hairs. Itching and irritation due to this vary from one person to another. People with highly sensitive skin may suffer from extreme dryness. Another side effect that is generally reported due to use of water softeners is that shampooing hairs in such water make them lifeless. Limped hairs are also reported, which lack strength and resilience.
One aspect that has to be considered while using a water softener is that most of shampoos available in market are formulated to produce good lather. These are prepared by considering that hard water would be available to most of users. Better lather is ensured by cosmetic companies by adding strong cleansing agents. These agents work well in hard water and due to presence of minerals like iron, magnesium and calcium, their effect on hair and skin is minimized.
If same shampoo is used for washing hairs in soft water, it may case considerable damage to hair and scalp. Dryness and itchiness can increase considerably. There can be loss of essential oils from the skin that are considered as necessary for keeping the hairs shiny and bouncy. If water softeners containing chlorine are used, it may pose great problems for hairs.
If there are excessive quantities of chlorine contained in water, hairs can turn green. Apart from this, many sorts of hair and scalp problems can arise. Chlorine is a potent oxidizer and thus, may interfere with the dyeing or bleaching of hairs. In some cases, it may also change the hue of dyed or colored locks. There are some other ill effects of chlorine also.
For example, it may lead to brassy highlights, which destroy the looks of hairs. Chlorine also makes hair brittle. When hairs are wet, it makes them gummy and when hairs are dry, these can look like straw. It has also been reported that chlorine damages the hair cuticle as well as protein contained in them.
What Should be Done
It is not that soft water is not at all beneficial. For washing clothes, it is considered as best. There are some other household tasks that are better done with soft water. Thus, it may not be possible for a person to disconnect water softeners from water supply. However, for dealing with the side effects of water softeners on hairs, some steps have to be taken. For example, a volume-building shampoo can be used.
Using a light conditioner also helps a lot in mitigating the effects of soft water. These products are alkaline in nature and thus, leave less stuff on hairs. Using a mega-holding gel also helps a lot in dealing with lifeless and limped hairs. For increasing the volume, hairs can be dried by inverting the head. There are also some shampoos available in market that deal with side effects of water softeners. ‘Soft shampoo bars’ are also available in market. These products are quite easy to use. These products use minerals that remove the side effect of soft water.
Styling products available in market for dealing with hairs treated with water softeners should be used with great care. This is because these products contain resins, which can build up on hairs gradually. Regular use of these products can also lead to weightiness of hairs. If this build up is not removed from hairs, these can get greatly damaged.
It may also lead to thinning of hairs. One of the best ways of dealing with water softeners is to use different types of soft water shampoos. This is because all soft water shampoos do not have similar effect. Also, skin of a person may respond in different ways to these shampoos. Whenever it is found that a particular brand is providing good results, it should be used thereafter.