Swindon ranks amongst the worst places in the UK for healthy hair due to hard water

By Jessica Durston - 28 March 2023

CommunityHealth and Beauty

Swindon has topped the list for one of the worst areas to live in to maintain healthy hair according to recent data from hair clinic Elithair.

Experts at Europe's largest hair clinic, Elithair, have analysed the areas in the UK with the hardest and softest water after several academic studies have shown that hard water exacerbates dermatological problems.

A recent study by the University of Sheffield has shown an increase in cases of dermatitis as well as damage to the scalp in people living in an area with high water hardness.

Swindon being in the South West, is an area with 'Hard to Very Hard' water. 

Frequent dandruff or a very sensitive scalp to water as well as pimples or itching are all said to be signs of the effect of water on the hair. Lengths can also become coarse in certain types of hair, such as curly hair or very porous hair. 

Experts say hair loss can be another indication of this condition as a result of itching and inflammation. In most cases, it is only temporary hair loss, and individuals will be able to reverse it if appropriate treatment is initiated.

Bristol, Bath, Guildford, Hemel Hempstead and Oxford were also among the worst places to live with the hardest water in the UK.

Cities in the UK for optimum hair health include Liverpool, Lancashire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester and Preston.

There are several ways to determine the hardness of the water in your home. First, check your local council’s website to find out about the water quality where you live.

A quicker and more effective way to check if you have scale in your water is to have a look at your taps and appliances. If you see white streaks or hard deposits, the limescale level is high.

Dr Balwi, leading hair specialist at Elithair, says: "Limestone is actually quite beneficial to our bodies, despite its bad reputation. It is a mineral made up of calcium ions, carbonate ions or oxides, which covers the need for magnesium and fights against cardiovascular disease.

"If limestone brings benefits from the inside, on the other hand, it can damage the outside of the body for the same properties, aggressive to our skin.

"However hard water damages the hair fibre, causing dryness and split ends when used regularly. As a result, the hair becomes dull and brittle. This can lead to long-term hair loss. There are alternatives to mitigate the effects of limescale on our hair as it is not possible for everyone to move to Wales or East Scotland." 

Hair specialists say four ways to reduce hard water in your hair include:

  1. Sparing your shampoos: It’s easy to avoid constant contact with water.
  2. Not using tap water for your hairstyles. You can replace it with bottled or demineralized water.
  3. Using an anti-limestone showerhead.
  4. Investing in a water softener.

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