Water Softener

Can Water Softener Cause Skin Irritation?

All of us take a shower. The primary reason we take a shower is to feel relaxed and comfortable. But, there are times when you may begin to feel uncomfortable when you take a shower. That is precisely what hard water and the minerals in it do to you. The best choice to avoid skin irritation due to water is to use soft water for the shower. 

Itchy Skin
Photo: Freepik

If you have a query on whether water softeners cause skin irritation, that should ideally answer your question. 

Water softeners are typically better for your skin. In most of the cases, they do not cause any sort of skin irritation. Instead, they remove the minerals in hard water that can cause irritation of any kind. However, there may be a few isolated cases where water softeners can cause irritation in the skin due to the salt content in it. In those cases, you may shift to salt-free water softeners.

Can Water Softeners Cause Skin Irritation? 

In most situations, soft water does not cause skin irritation. More so, it removes the chemicals and minerals in the water that can possibly cause skin irritation and itching issues. Soft water has been known to be soothing to the skin. However, if you are allergic to salt, you may have an allergic reaction when you take a shower with soft water. 

Water softener actually removes the hard minerals that may dry up your skin. It also does away the possibility of soap scum which may block your pores. These are the primary causes of skin irritation, and thus, water softeners should ideally be helpful in avoiding the possibility of skin irritation. 

Can Water Softener Salt Cause Allergic Reactions? 

Salt is an integral part of most of the water softeners. It can help remove the hardness from your water. However, salt can also have a few bad reactions on your body. It is possible that the salt used in the conventional salt-based water softeners can cause a few adverse effects on some. 

It is found that allergic reactions to water softener salt are observed when there is a heavy concentration of salt in the soft water. A moderate salt concentration may not be an issue, but it can become a concern when your water softener results in a little heavy salt concentration. Soft water skin problems are not very common but can happen based on a person’s tolerance levels to the salt. 

Some of the adverse effects of the water softener salt can include 

Too much sodium consumption

Consuming a lot of sodium can end up resulting in severe health issues. A traditional salt-based water softener can increase the salt content in your drinking water by two folds. It can make you consume more salt than that you are supposed to. This can increase blood pressure in some individuals.

Skin irritation

Salt is a natural element that can irritate the skin. If you are allergic to salt, you may develop skin allergies and similar issues. Do note, however, that salt in moderation may not cause any issues. Skin irritation is expected to be more developed in the areas where hydration is required – such as hands, feet, and elbows. In such cases, using salt-free water softeners may be a good idea. 

Does A Water Softener Help With Itchy Skin?

Water softener can help fix the post-shower itching experienced when using hard water. It removes the hard minerals that may cause skin irritation and other hard water skin problems. However, soft water cannot cure the skin itchiness. If you find itchy skin continues to persist, it is advisable to consult your doctor for assistance. 

If you switch to soft water, you should typically find your skin and hair begin to feel better. 

How does water softener help in itchy skin? Well, there are several ways that it can be helpful. 

Water softener removes the soap scum

Hard water can result in soap scum which blocks the pores in your skin. These scums are tough to rinse away. The blocked pores can thus cause irritation and itchy skin. Soft water does not cause such scum, and you will find your skin extremely clean. 

Soft water retains moisture in the skin

Hard water can sap the water in your skin, making it dry. This dryness can cause irritation and itchiness. Soft water helps you retain the moisture in your skin. This will effectively address the itchy skin. 

Soft water can help you improve the protective barrier of the skin

Hard water may contain minerals and impurities which may form free radicals. These free radicals can result in breaking down collagen and elastic tissues. These include the protective barrier for your skin and their destruction can cause issues such as irritation, acne, rosacea, eczema, and hyperpigmentation. Soft water protects this protective barrier more effectively. 

Soft water assists in preserving the pH balance

Hard water can throw the pH balance in your skin out of sync. Soft water helps you retain the pH balance more effectively. An out-of-sync pH balance can result in several issues like dryness, irritation, acne, and premature aging. Soft water will help maintain the pH balance and thus assist you in retaining the proper balance of the skin. 

Are There Any Soft Water Skin Problems?

As we all know, hard water is the prime cause of skin irritation and other skin issues. However, are you aware that soft water can also cause skin problems? Well, yes. It is not uncommon to find a few soft water skin problems. Let us check a few of them and see how soft water can affect your skin.

A slick or slippery feeling

soft water is likely to result in a slippery feeling on your skin. If you have not set up your water softener correctly, it may result in a feeling where you would find that the water is over-cleaned and feels too soft. It may be a good idea to get help from a water treatment professional for any sort of assistance in the proper setting up of your water softener. 

It can remove all minerals 

Agreed that minerals cause hard water. However, a water softener may remove all the minerals and make the soft water devoid of any minerals. It may be noticed that water does need to have some essential minerals for the better upkeep of your skin. Too soft water can deprive the skin of the much-needed minerals, which can result in mineral deficiency symptoms. 

It may cause dry scalp

In the case of some water softeners, the soft water may contain a high amount of chlorine. In such a case, it may be advisable to switch to a water softener that does not introduce chlorine into water. A high chlorine concentration in water can result in a dry and itchy scalp. 

Best Water Softener Salt For Sensitive Skin

If you find your water softener causes skin irritation, it is advisable to opt for the best water softener salt that can assist you in handling sensitive skin more efficiently. In most cases, it may be worthwhile to use Potassium Chloride as the best water softener salt for sensitive skin. 

The use of a suitable salt that is skin-friendly can be an excellent option for sensitivity in the skin as opposed to hard water. That is why we recommend using high-quality salt in the water softener to help you do away with skin irritation and other sensitivity issues. 

You can opt for the best water softener salt for sensitive skin based on several  parameters –


The most common types of salt used in water softeners are evaporated salt, rock salt, solar salt, and block salt. Evaporated salt has a higher concentration of the sodium chloride. If you are sensitive to sodium, it is advisable to avoid using it. 


The purest form of salt should be a preferred option in most cases. It can dissolve best in the water and can help you with the effective prevention of the build-up of debris in the water or the softener itself. 


The water softener salt is made available in pellets and crystal form. At the same time, pellets have been known to be the best for treating water hardness issues. But, for someone with sensitive skin, we would suggest the crystal form to be more effective and efficient. 


Water softeners are primarily used for treating the issues related to hard water. However, the soft water itself can, at times, cause issues such as skin irritation. In those situations, it may be advisable to opt for the right sort of water softener or change your water softener salt to something helpful for sensitive skin. 

Typically speaking, water softeners do not cause skin irritation of any nature. Make sure to check out the other aspects or factors that may result in skin irritation. In most cases, switching to a salt-free water softener or changing the salt to a skin-friendly option can prove to be handy.

About the author

Atish Ranjan

Atish Ranjan is the founder of WaterBrower. The water-related problems faced by him in his childhood led him to take this kind initiative to help many others who might be facing similar problems. He has been into research and water testing wherein he has found great water treatment solutions in different regions of the world. This blog is about everything that he has learnt during this study. Hope it helps many:)

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