If you live in an area of hard water, which accounts for 60% of British homes, your daily shower or bath could be making your eczema worse, according to new research.

Hard water is known for causing skin to become dry and itchy because it has a higher mineral content - mainly calcium and magnesium. These two minerals have a drying effect on skin and scalps and have been linked to an increased risk of eczema. When the skin's barrier function is weakened, such as in eczema, the minerals can enter the skin as allergens causing inflammation. When hard water is combined with the use of soaps and detergents, this leaves a skin residue which blocks pores trapping oil, leading to irritation, dryness, blemishes and itching. If you live in a hard water area, there are ways to minimise or stop its negative effects on eczema. It will not be an eczema cure but can help control symptoms. A water softener will reduce these skin issues, and convert the minerals found in hard water, into more soluble minerals that are less harmful for the skin. Ecocamel have created the Shower Head ORB SPA which can convert hard water into soft water. In addition using skin smoothing and calming chemical-free bath soaks rather than bubble bath and using skin calming creams or gels straight after showering or bathing while skin is still damp can all help.