Dandruff is one of the most embarrassing and itchy conditions that most of us experience at some point in our lives. What's causing it may not be your stress levels or the hair products, but the hard water from your shower.
Here's some hard water 101: Water at its natural state is soft and doesn't contain minerals. However, when it flows through dirt, rivers, rocks, etc. it dissolves some metals, like calcium and magnesium, and carries them along with the flow. Ultimately, the more mineral accumulation, the harder the water becomes.
The easiest way to understand whether you have hard water is to observe how well your shampoo or soap is lathering when you shower. Hard water prevents the soap or shampoo from getting foamy, while soft water makes it a lot easier. Another indication is when you notice chalky, white-colored residue in your shower that takes time to remove.
Now back to dandruff and how hard water affects it: The calcium component within hard water creates a buildup on your scalp, which contains residue from your shampoo, bacteria, yeast, and other icky stuff. The yeast from the accumulation then triggers excessive skin cell growth. "Skin cells on our scalp are constantly replaced and shed," Anabel Kingsley, a trichologist at Philip Kingsley Trichological Clinic, explains. "If skin cells begin to divide too rapidly—faster than they are shed—this is what causes flakes." The overgrowth of cells ultimately leads to dry skin, which itches and flakes off, AKA dandruff.
Hard water aside, chlorine in your shower water has a drying effect (on your skin, hair, and scalp). This can lead to irritation, dryness, and yes, itchy, flakey scalp.
Side effects of hard water and chlorine can easily be overcome by many different techniques and technologies, the most environmentally friendly of which is a shower filter. The right shower filter can wipe the side effects of chlorine and hard water on your skin and hair.
KDF shower filters that utilize the REDOX method, which transforms the impurities into harmless elements, remove heavy metals found in hard water such as copper, lead, mercury, iron, and others. Redox method works by exchanging electrons with contaminants. During this process, harmful elements become harmless. For example, free chlorine turns into non-toxic chloride, and heavy metals bind to the KDF medium, not contaminating your water anymore.
Accompanied with dandruff shampoos (our favorite is Selsun Blue btw), we can all experience better hair days with less itch!