Do you or someone you know have eczema? Eczema is a medical condition also known as atopic dermatitis. Eczema causes healthy skin to become inflamed or irritated, in addition it is usually characterized by sore, itchy and burning skin. According to the National Eczema Association 30 million Americans, both adults and children are afflicted by this chronic skin disease.
Healthy skin appears smooth, soft, and supple but some visible symptoms of skin afflicted by eczema may be a rash, raised, scaled skin, or the skin may ooze or weep. Eczema can appear on the face, wrists, hands, back of the knees and even the feet.
The cause of eczema is unknown but we do know that many people choose to use a water softener to help alleviate some of the painful symptoms and improve the ability of the skin to naturally heal itself.
The science of soft water allows the soap to clean the skin efficiently and effectively. Hard water has calcium and magnesium. Calcium and magnesium love to bind to the ingredients in our soaps. This can create residue. If you have hard water then you probably have had problems with water spots on your dishes.
Water softeners are engineered to remove the hard calcium from the water, therefore, removing the mineral that allows the soap to stick to your skin. When the calcium is removed the water is considered soft. With a water softener you will also use at least 50-80% less cleaning products. For someone who has eczema, less cleaning products can mean less discomfort and a reduction of painful flare ups. With eczema and water softeners, less is more; less flare ups, less cleaning products lead to more enjoyment in life!
One of the most common questions about water softeners is how much salt or sodium is added to my water. Generally it’s much less than people think. There is a very simple formula to calculate how much salt it added to the water.
Grains of hardness (gpg) x 1.89 = mg added to an 8oz glass of water. If your water is 15 grains hard you would have about 28 milligrams (mg) of added sodium in the water.
Grains per gallon (gpg) is the measurement used to calculate hardness and the scale goes as follows:
Less than 1 Grain Soft
1.0 to 3.5 Moderately Hard
3.5 to 7.0 Hard
7.0 to 10.5 Extremely Hard
If your water is 15 grains hard then you would have about 28 milligrams (mg) of added sodium in the water.
Even for people who are on a low sodium diet this amount of salt shouldn’t be a problem. Most of the sodium we eat comes from processed foods and table salt. If you compare the amount of sodium already contained in foods we think of as having low amounts of salt the amount added by a water softener is very low. As an example, an 8oz glass of milk will contain 125mg of sodium and a slice of white bread will have about 120 mg.
To find out how hard your water is contact a water softening company and they can test it for you, or contact you local city water department and they can tell you the number of grains per gallon of hardness you have in your water.
For those who don’t want to drink soft water there are a couple of solutions. The first is to install a water purifier that will remove the sodium. Reverse osmosis is the most effective method. Another option is to bypass the drinking water in the kitchen so it remains hard water.
Soft water is simply water that is free of calcium and magnesium. A water softener works by removing the hard minerals and replaces them with sodium through a process known as ion exchange.