Eczema Bulletin, Issue #019 - Does Hard Water Affect Eczema?
Welcome to February's edition of the Eczema Bulletin e-zine, and thank you for subscribing.
This is the 19th edition of Eczema Bulletin. It will bring you articles and news about eczema, and also any updates to what-is-eczema.com. If you would like to add any suggestions for articles or news, or even add your own then I would love to hear from you
You can contact me here
This month's Eczema Bulletin includes
- February's Featured Article – Does Hard Water Affect Eczema?
- My favourite eczema news article
- Tip of the Month
- 5 Ways To.....treat ear eczema
Featured Article - Does Hard Water Affect Eczema?
It has long been questioned whether hard water has a negative effect on eczema.
Water becomes hard when 'pure' water, rain water for example, passes through chalk and limestone. Rainwater is naturally soft. The chalk and limestone cause the water to get a higher concentration of certain minerals, mainly calcium and magnesium. These minerals are what makes the water hard.
The hard water is then used in our homes, for drinking, bathing and washing. In the UK, around 60% of homes are supplied with hard water, and in the US, it is around 85%.
This can cause a problem for some eczema sufferers in a few ways.
- the minerals in the water are left on the skin after contact. So after a shower or bath, all of the minerals don't get rinsed off. This can cause dry, flaky skin, as the minerals absorb moisture from your skin
- the minerals also react with washing products. This causes soap scum to occur. The soap scum can left behind on
clothes and bedding. Causing irritation when they come into contact with the skin
- hard water increases the need for more soap, washing powder and shampoo to be used. This is because soaps do not work as well with hard water. Using even more soap products is definitely not good for eczematous skin
One way to alleviate the issues is to use a water softener.
A water softener, simply put, uses sodium and swaps it with the calcium and magnesium in the hard water. The sodium is put into the water, and is now soft.
They can be expensive, so it may be something you can look into if hard water is a real problem for you. But they are the most effective hard water treatment.
You could also try a water filter tap. You can add them to any sink. They normally dispense hot and cold filtered water. They are cheaper than softeners, but the filters need to be changed. The tap I looked at, said a filter lasts approximately 3
If you think that hard water maybe an issue for your eczema, then you can decide which solution is the best one for you and your skin.
Eczema News Article
A study group in Ireland have come up with a test that could identify newborns who are more at risk from developing eczema.
In the study, the test was carried out on babies at 2 days old, and at 2 months old.
The test is described as 'painless' and 'non-invasive'. It measures the amount of water that evaporates from the skin. If the amount is high, then the child is more likely to develop eczema.
This corresponds with another factor in developing eczema.
Sufferers of eczema also tend to have a filaggrin deficiency. Filaggrin is a protein, and a deficiency causes defects in the skin barrier function. This allows allergens and irritants in more easy, and an increased loss of moisture from the skin.
If the test shows a higher risk of developing eczema that it could help parents protect their child's skin before the eczema develops. For example, applying an emollient to protect the skin.
It will be interesting to see if this
test will be passed to be used routinely in hospitals in the future. I will keep you updated.
Tip Of The Month - Disposable Nappies Or Cloth Nappies?
As a baby I didn't wear disposable nappies. My mum told me that I got an allergic reaction from them.
This got me wondering if disposable nappies irritate eczema, and if they do, are cloth nappies a better option.
Firstly, it is widely known that babies can get nappy rash.
This could be
- a yeast infection/rash, known as candida. It appears in the folds of the skin, and around the anus
- or a bacterial infection. Normally Staph or Strep. It can appear as Impetigo
Because of this, it is very important to get it diagnosed before starting to treat it. If your child has eczema elsewhere on their body, it doesn't mean it is eczema in the nappy area.
So, back to nappies! Or diapers, depending on where you are from :)
There are reports that some babies can get an eczema flare up from wearing disposable nappies.
are a few reasons why this might happen
- the elastic band around the waist and legs
- hydrogels, used to soak up the wee
- the materials used to make the nappies
- any dyes or fragrances used, they may irritate the skin
Different brands may affect your baby too. Some parents report that one brand will irritate their baby's skin, while another parent will say that the same brand is fine for their baby.
So one option is to try different brands. To make it more cost effective, you could see if some brands are giving away free samples, so you can try before you buy.
Another option, as the title says, is to use cloth nappies. When I was a baby, these were made of Terry towelling. I have found that cloth nappies seem to of evolved a bit over the last 35 years!
Some babies still get an allergic reaction from cloth diapers.
There could be a few reasons for that
- the material they
are made of. It is best to get 100% cotton ones
- check the barrier cream you are using
- use fragrant free liners
- wash the nappies well, using a good detergent, and making sure they are rinsed out properly
So both types of nappies may aggravate eczema, but there is definitely more cases of disposable nappies being an irritant. Trial and error is definitely needed.