Can Water Softeners Cause Skin Problems?

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The mineral concentration, specifically magnesium and calcium, in water is what determines its hardness or softness. As the mineral concentration diminishes, the water softness increases. Soft water is more favorable for washing as compared to hard water since soft water uses less detergent. Soft water lathers easily making it very convenient to wash with. This makes it a favorite choice for many. The same argument applies when it comes to bathing. On the question of which between the two causes skin problems, hard water is known to be the culprit. However, some people react negatively to water softeners.

Effects of Hard and Soft Water on the Skin

The water you use to bath affects the outcome of your skin. Soft water causes a slick and slippery feeling. Due to the high mineral content in hard water, a scummy residue will be left on your skin after you take the shower. This scum can also be seen on different surfaces of your bathroom. Apart from leaving scum on your skin and bathroom surfaces, hard water may cause clogging in the water drainage system. The same thing happens to the skin pores. Your skin pores will be clogged immediately after you shower with hard water. The clogged skin pores will then cause the skin to break out and you will eventually begin to suffer from terrible skin conditions like eczema and acne.

What Leads to Skin Breakouts When You Bath with Hard Water?

Many people may fail to understand why the skin breaks out after bathing with hard water. The body produces natural oils that are distributed via the skin pores. When clogging occurs on the pores, the oils become trapped leading to the formation of pimple-like blemishes. Pimples are not the only things that you get from hard water; you will also experience itchy and irritated skin. Your skin also feels very dry causing you to use a lot of lotion as you try to get rid of the dryness. Your skin is no longer lubricated since the natural oils can no longer do their work, which includes holding moisture. With hard water, your skin is likely to age faster.

How Water Softeners Work

In order to get rid of the hardness in water, you need to purchase a water softener. It is the most permanent and most effective solution for dealing with hard water dilemmas. There are various water softeners in the market. Some are salt-based while others use potassium.

So, how does it work? The only way to get rid of hardness in water is by removing magnesium and calcium. When hard water is passed via a water softening system, magnesium and calcium ions are removed in a process that involves ion exchange. After this process, the water becomes soft and no traces of scum can be detected.

Can Water Softeners Cause Skin Problems?

Despite the fact that soft water is supposed to give you healthy and exceptional skin, some people may react differently to water softeners. If you are one of those people who itch like crazy after showering with water that has been softened, then you could be sensitive to the chemical properties in the softener.

Most people react to the chlorine in water softeners. After you report the case to your local dermatologist, the first thing that they will advise you on is the change of your bathing soap. When this doesn’t work, your case is now confirmed; your skin is sensitive to the softener. Increased chemical dermal absorption is the reason why people experience itching. Water softeners remove the scum that was acting as a barrier on your pores leading to increased absorption. This itching has high chances of causing skin breakouts which will then lead to bleeding. To minimize the itching, you can choose to add a carbon filter.

In general, hard water has more adverse effects on your skin. Unless your skin is sensitive to the water softener, you should always use soft water to shower. Soft water might not be a cure for various skin conditions but it helps to get rid of irritation and improves the health of your skin.

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93 Responses

  1. I just spent 3 weeks on the East Coast. I was without softened water the entire time. I have itched for years on my back and scalp…..have Fibroyalgia and was told the itching is an artifact of the Fibromyalgia.

    ON my trip, the itching went away.

    Home from my trip and a week back into our home softened water system, I am itching again. I wonder if the soft water is the culprit not the Fibromyalgia.

    I guess I should try washing with the “hotel soaps” first instead of deodorant soap to rule out the chemicals in my soap at home,.


    1. put a rain barrel and try to pan bath for awhile. It is naturally soft water with no chemicals and leaves the skin feeling wonderfully soft and no itching or burning. the medium used in the softner can and will cause problems with excessive itching if you have an allergic reaction to it as both me and my husband has had. maybe a shallow well being put at your home may help as most shallow wells contain acidic water (soft). They say that soft water is bad for you, but I grew up drinking water from a spring head and never felt better in my life. Give it a try and let me know how that you feel afterwards.

    2. I can relate to this! I live in Texas in a house with regular “hard” city water (no softeners). I just went to Kentucky to visit my cousins who have a soft water system in their new house. I thought it was weird, because when I washed my hands, it felt like the soap never washed off it was so slippery, but I didn’t think I could notice a difference otherwise. Until, my scalp itched SO BAD EVERY NIGHT after taking showers there. I mean, I couldn’t even sleep, I woke up itching like it would never stop. I literally had to slather lotion all over my head just so it would calm down. In just a few days, I even started getting more dandruff than normal. I tried just washing with my regular home soaps, and then with my cousins’ soaps to see if there was a difference. I even bought a scalp serum from Walgreens to help with the itching, because it was so awful. I almost asked them to check me for lice, because I couldn’t imagine what was stressing out my scalp so much. The climate is almost the exact same as where I am from, so I didn’t think it was the humidity. My cousins were befuddled too since “the softener system is supposed to be good for your skin.” As soon as I got back home, I took another shower, and slept through the night without itch. This was a good thing to learn, so that when I get my own house, I will NOT put a softener in it!

      1. Would you please be able to find out if they use sodium chloride or potassium chloride as the softening agent in their softener? I recently changed to potassium chloride and have been experiencing extreme itching.. scalp, skin and everywhere. Thank you!

        1. I used sodium chloride to begin, and my wife’s skin was fine. I changed to potassium chloride because I heard it was better for outdoor plants. Now my wife is itching. Drs are dumbfounded. They say she has hives. Medications don’t work.

    3. Hi, I have been breaking out with red bumps and blister like bumps that have clear vesicles on top . My skin has a stinging burn after I get out of my shower . this has been going on for at least 2 years . I did not know my husband was buying the salt pellets that said Clean & Protect. That is the worst one to buy as it has monosodium citrate and a surfactant. My son found this out online . I did call and they said the surfactant was a proprietary ingred. These together with what you are washing will give sensitive skin type s reactions like mine. am guessing the surfactant is alkylated+diphenyl+oxide+disulfonate. The best one to get is the blue bag that says Pure & Natural . This has no additives.

      1. Hi, Pam. What did your rash look like? Bright red dots? Sometimes you cannot see it as much as you feel it? I have been fighting a rash for almost two years also. Biopsies, etc. We buy the yellow bag – clean and protect. Did the blue bag help?

  2. We just moved into a new home in the country with well water. The home has a water softener, something our previous home did not have. After a few months, I noticed I was getting itchy skin and thought that maybe I was just getting older and needed more moisturizer. That helped a bit, but I started to notice that my skin itched the most right after a shower, especially my ankles and feet. What the heck? There wasn’t any redness or breakouts, just intense itching that could not be stopped by scratching.

    I suspected the water, since the soap I was using was the same I had used for years. I read somewhere that vinegar helps with itchy skin, so I tried that on my feet. YES! It did improve, but not totally. I eventually stopped using soap altogether, though I still use shampoo on my hair. But NO soap on feet, arms, legs, tummy. Then I spritz down with vinegar – full strength – rub it in and the briefly rinse it. It has help immensely!!

    I had noticed that after washing my hands with soap in the softened water, it seems like you can never get all the soap off. A little bit of vinegar immediately takes away the slippery feeling and makes it feel like your hands are actually clean. It works the same in the shower.

  3. We had a water softener fitted in February 2017. In June 2017 I developed a subdermal very itchy rash; no redness but the skin was ‘bobbly’. I was prescribed anti histamines. A few days later my wife developed the same symptoms. We changed our soap to no avail. We then both developed spots of various sizes on our skin treated with anti histamines, antibiotics and steroid creams. Very gradual improvement in spots but no effect on the itching.
    Three weeks ago we suddenly realised that the only thing that had changed in our environment was the fitting of the water softener.
    We used the bypass valve and reverted to our original hard water.
    The itching has reduced by about 85% and the skin eruptions are also rapidly going away.
    We are going to have the water softener removed.

    1. After about two years of itching and going to 3 dermatologists, countless soaps and lotions I just realized the only thing that could have been the cause is the water softener I had installed 2 years ago. I don’t know what to do now. I pay $65 a month to culligen and I’m under a 5 year contract. I’m miserable with this itching.

  4. Michael did you check the type of salt you are adding? We had to change to the pure salt kind – we had the Morton’s salt that adds a chemical cleaner to it and many people report itchy skin and hives. I would check that before removing possibly? We just went thru this, used our shop vac to suck out all the salt/brine at the base of the unit.

    1. I recently changed to potassium chloride instead of the sodium chloride and I have developed this itchiness. I’m going back to the sodium.

    2. I was getting red bumps, stinging after shower and blister like bumps. I found out my husband was buying the Morton Clean & Protect this has monosodium citrate and a surfactant they will not disclose. . These are what is causing the problems . We are switching over to the Pure & Basic which has no additives. I think the surfactant is =alkylated+diphenyl+oxide+disulfonate+surfactant . this couple with your skin cleanser etc. on sensitive skin will not be good at all. Are you seeing good results now that you changed??

  5. I have a water softener. I went out of town for 4 weeks did great with the hard water but 3 or 4 weeks after I got back home my skin started burning badly and still is and very dry. Is it my softened water ? Yes we have changed the salt to everything sold. Thanks

  6. Water softeners make your skin feel disgusting. It can NEVER be rinsed! I never feel clean now. My skin is PEELING from the water softeners! This horrible? Why do people invent USELESS things that you pay money for and are harmful like this? Same with vertical blinds and the like. Useless, annoying and harmful!

  7. This article seems to give the impression that water-softener-softened water is less likely to give you skin problems than hard water. That is false, but thank goodness all the comments here are clearing up the misconception with all the anecdotes. Anecdotal evidence is not great, but the completely unsupported misconception that water-softener-softened water is safer for skin than hard water is not something anyone should be dispersing. For a much better article on this matter see this:

    It is absolutely undeniable that water-softener-softened water does not wash away soaps and shampoos as well as hardened water does. When washing skin with soap and water-softener-softened water, many people will need to be extra thorough because the over-abundance of sodium and potassium ions and lack of calcium and magnesium in the water-softener-softened water will prevent the water from bonding and clearing away the soap. This in-turn can lead to rashes. Natural soft water (like rainwater) is not hard, but does not contain the over-abundance of sodium and potassium ions found in water-softener-softened water, so it is safer for you skin than water-softener-softened water.

    Water-softener-softened water is nice on your plumbing but more dangerous for your skin than hard water.

    I happen to be like the many others that have developed rashes or itching due to water-softener-softened water. For me, it manifests as a rash on my hands when I am forced to use water-softener-softened water for more than a couple days. I know to be extra thorough when using the water-softener-softened water, but still I usually get a rash after a few days of use because it is so difficult to get the soap off. With “hard” water, I have NEVER developed a rash on my hands, and I can wash my hands and take a shower in less than half the time I need to take using the water-softener-softened water.

  8. Well hindsight always being 20/20, we had a water softener installed and a drinking water only reverse osmosis water filter. after showering my skin is very dry and itchy and lots of itching red bumps. Hair is dry and brittle. Changed soaps, nothing. I have taken to heating a pan of the drinking water on the stove and rinsing my hair and skin with that and it is a bit better . Now of course after spending over $1000 on the water softener I want to try a different salt. We have the Morton in there now.

    Can anybody be recommend the salt that is chemical free?

    Thank you

    1. Hi, since you posted this, have you changed your salt? I have the exact same problem & my husband was told my dermatologist he has “Grover’s Disease” which is basically “itchy red bump disease”. I need a solution because I dread washing my hair due to the damage the salt has caused.

    2. Do you have a water filter attached as well? Softeners soften water, but a lot of people forget that irritants like chlorine, and other chemical irritants, still get through. Those you can only get out with filters. I would highly suggest you get a filter (30 bucks), replace once a year.

      1. Clorine is in all city supplied water. If clorine was causing the irritation, it would have been causing irritation before the softener was installed.

    3. I too had skin issues with the Morton clean & Protect not knowing there was additives to it. I got hives , rashes , red bumps etc. We have just switched to Morton Pure & Basic – No additives at all .
      Tell me how it goes?

  9. Wow! We have Morton’s as well and I have been very itchy. We been having a water softener and have been enjoying it until now since we switched to Morton’s. This comment confirms I’m not imagining my itchiness.

    1. If you switched to the Clean & Protect that is full of additives . This will give you the skin issues . Switch to the Morton Pure & Basic – no additives here. Hope this helps and please tell me how its going?

  10. Same thing for me, we moved to an apartment that has soft water. My skin started to have itchy spots on my knees stomache back. I started using exema cream didnt help, this went on for a year and the just now I decided to check this out on the internet and found this page where others have the same problem with soft water. ugh.

    1. Same with me ..I called the water softener comapny CGCWater and inquired if it is possible the intense itching and hives I am experiencing was due to the WS they just installed and they said they had never had any problems (I highly doubt this). They then offered to come out for free and check it out. They said they made some changes and it should be good now but nothing changed. I went to the Dr twice they prescribed antihistamines which knocked me out. I took a daily allergy pill that I only have to take every 3-4 days. It still affects me tiredness wise. I can’t ell you how many nights I have suffered itching each night trying to go to bed. I am going to take action against these companies.

    1. I have horribly watery, red, burning eyes and I am suspecting water softener or something in the solar salt that is causing this. I had seen an eye specialist for karaticonis and his first reaction was that I had to take care of my allergies first. I followed up with allergy testing 72+ typical allergens and only have a moderate dairy allergy and allergy to fragrances. I have been avoiding both and just started noticing my eyes are horrible esp after I add a new bag of solar salt. Likewise, when I’m away from home for a few days on a trip everything settles down. Not sure what my next step should be….

  11. I have had eye itching and dryness , and irritation, and even felt it was effecting me in other areas with extreme itching. We installed a water softener and reverse osmosis system a month ago and I am showering at my moms and drinking bottled water it effected me so severely. My doctor told me not to use it at all.

    1. Did he say why and agree w/ you it wasnt good? I would think the RO water was OK? Sorry this happened, awful after spending all that money!

    2. If you are using the Morton Clean & Protect and have sensitive skin that has irritating additives in it. Try the Morton Pure & Basic – no additives here. this may help you

  12. I have had little bumps all over my body – more so on my stomach and chest – and thought maybe it was the all natural soap that I had been using.

    I just got back from a 2 week trip and the little bumps that I had pretty much disappeared during my travels even using the all natural soap!

    I had a new water softener installed less than 2 years ago and use Morton’s and now am suspect of the softener system and/or the settings.

    I will try adjusting the system to use less Morton’s. Maybe that will work?

  13. Ok so I’m not going crazy. I have scratched my sling til it has bruised. I have begun to wonder if I have a weird underlying disease that causes intense itching. But…now I’m thinking it has to be the water. We installed a Water Stick in our shower because we have hard water and you can’t rinse shampoo out with it. This makes the water soft which is great for the hair but my arms and legs are a disaster.
    We use Morton salt without iodine or anti/caking agents so I’m not sure what to do but I can’t continue to scratch this much. Ugh

  14. Uuuhhg ever since we installed our water softener my face has been getting painfull breakouts! I thought it was just a detox but now it’s been over a month dot-dot. Maybe I’ll try a different salt

    1. Judy I am having the same problem. Ever since I put in a water softener my body has been itchy and then I get breakouts on my face that hurt. Let me know if you find a solution. I have been showering at the gym ugh it is horrible.

      1. if you are buying the Mortons Clean & Protect , that has additives which can cause havoc with sensitive skin. Switch to Mortons Pure & Basic – No additives at all . Clean & Protect has a detergent and monosodium citrate . these can cause hives , itching bumps etc , like I had .

    2. Do not use any waters softener that has additives like the Morton Clean & Protect. I have been having the same issues and I did not know my husband was buying the Morton Clean & Protect. I have very sensitive skin and have been going crazy trying to solve my problem. I found out a lot of people do not agree with the additives on their skin. It can be very irritating. I went to Dermies etc and nothing seemed to work out. I just found out about Morton Pure & Basic – no additives at all and that should help your problem. They should have a label on the package stating not for sensitive skin, however my son looked it up and saw a technical data on it and it could cause problems on sensitive skins .They have a surfactant added and monosodium citrate .
      Hope this helps. Tell me soon .

  15. I have been going crazy with what started out as a rash behind my ears and on my shoulders. I was diagnosed with eczema, prescribed prendnisone an oral steroid, and told to use a lot of lotions. The steroids got rid of the rash immediately, but it came back in a month or so. Meanwhile I had a house guest for a month who reported a similar rash when she returned to Napa. Her condition cleared up immediately upon using some benedryl. I went to a dermatologist who prescribed gabapentin. He told me to keep upping my dosage until I was able to “control the itch”. I got up to 600 mg every 6 hours, and I was still itching like crazy at night and I was do groggy I could hardly get out of bed in the morning. This dr told me to keep taking the gabapentin and that it would take a long time to work. I quit the gabapentin. I went back to the dr’s office and saw a different dr as the gabapentin prescribing dr was not available, however he did tell me over the phone that it was not an allergic reaction so no he did not recommend allergy testing. So now I see this new dr who tell me to stop using all products and that I should do allergy testing! He said he could fit me in in March, it was December 27th!!! Meanwhile I had started using the Morton’s salt pellets in my water softener several months ago. I dumped it out and went to lowe’s this morning only to find out that Morton’s is all they carry. And it was the yellow bag that says it keep rust from forming, that I had been using. So I went to Home Depot and bout Sun Gems again. I hope this works…but I also bought free and clear detergent and I’m doing a bunch of laundry as well. Plus I talked the dr into prescribing the oral steroids again because I can’t take the discomfort not only from the itching and inflammation, but also from quitting the gaberpentin!

  16. I’m having terrible itching all over my body. I’m unable to do anything because of scratching all the time. I recently purchased a kitten from a shelter, so I immediately thought it could be my kitten. Now after reading this I am convince it is the water softener. I really prefer having soft water, but not if this is the outcome. I’m continuing taking Benadryl to help with the itching.

  17. I switched restaurants and all of the sudden broke out everywhere I came in contact with water. I thought it was soap and chemicals. Nope. It was the water softener……

    1. What have you all switched to when you say hard water? I recently switched a salt water system and a air oxidation system. Two systems. And my scalp has been very irritated and I have acne which I haven’t had in a long time. Is a air oxidation system better? What do you all know about that?
      Sounds complex but I had a salt water system but the smell was horrible so he added an oxidation system and said my salt system was regenerating every 28,000 gallons so he switched it to 2000 gallons. And now my skin is itchy. Would love some feed back. Thankful for this forum as everywhere says salt systems are the best for sensitive skin

  18. I have been searching frantically over the internet trying to figure out why I suddenly broke out in itching hives. I didn’t add two and two together until reading several blogs. It started just a day or two after I switched to Morton’s salt because I was in a hurry and picked it up at a nearby grocery store! It’s a common them I’ve read now and and it has to be the reason! I’m going to empty my salt tank out and go back to the stuff they sell at Lowe’s. Don’t use Morton’s!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. What Mortons did you buy?
      Mortons Clean & Protect is a problem for sensitive skin types . it has irritaing additives to it where the Mortons Pure & Basic is no additives .

    2. Use the Mortons Pure & Basic – No additives added. the additives to the Clean & Protect yellow bag cause havoc with sensitive skin types like mine too

  19. This is my 3rd water softner, everyone broke me out and now I have scars from scratching so much!!! When I unplugged the tank everything was fine, my eyes and neck got it really bad!!! I will not try a 4th…. This is in one year!! 10-18-19 till now

  20. I lived with my grandparents through college, and they used water softener for all their water (every drinking water!). I had skin issues then, but not as severe. Moved out for grad school, went to a place where river water was used, and my skin never looked better. Every time I visit my grandpa now, I notice an immediate difference in my skin- it goes from soft, supple and smooth, to angry, itchy and VERY dry. I have to use twice as much lotion to calm it down. I have had a long history with eczema, and while there are environmental triggers, the most obvious, and by far the most widespread on my body is the use of detergents with dyes and fragrance, coupled with water softener. I’ll take stained dingy clothes any day over the persistent misery that is caused by softener.

  21. ok I’m having a lot of issues too – has anybody try different kind of salt like pellets or potassium?

  22. We just installed water softener and my mouth skin feels like I have eaten something hot and feels burned. Is this from the Softner


    1. I been itching for months , I tried all kinds of medicines, I was told by my doctor it was due to my fibromyalgia. I only itch at night after showering, my scalp my whole entire body. I need to change salt. Any recommendations?

    2. I just moved to a new house and it also has a water softer and reverse osmosis for drinking water. I’m also experiencing really irritated swollen dry lips too. I’ve never had a problem like this before coming from the Bay Area, so I’m assuming it is either the water softener or the drinking Reverse osmosis drinking water. I’m glad to see though that I’m not the only one. I’m going to figure out how to drain it and just use the new cities had water to see is it change. Really bummed.

    3. Hi. I would say yes! That is exactly what happened to me upon installing a new water softener. My lips and all around my mouth burned like crazy. When I finally realized it was the water softener, I bypassed it and within a week, my skin was much better. What a waste of money that was. My hair liked the water softener, but my skin did not! Later on, I tried using the softener again with potassium pellets instead of sodium. I would have to say that the potassium doesn’t seem to irritate me as badly, but I still go back and forth with putting the softener on and off of bypass. That way I’m only having semi-softened water some of the time. It makes my hair not quite so snarly without aggravating my skin.

  23. Just installed water softener. My mouth has feeling of I have eaten something hot. Feels as if skin is pealing. Please advise.

  24. My parents, from whom I rent, recently installed a filter on the well. Not only does the water taste nasty now and have to be run for 10-15 minutes every morning just to become palatable, but my 7-year-old has started complaining of severe itching with every bath. She occasionally breaks out with tiny bumps too. It always goes away within 8 hours, but it’s so annoying. And our water used to taste so good. I’m mildly allergic to sulfites so drinking the softened water isn’t doing me any favors, either.

    1. Hi, I’m allergic to sulfites too. Do you know if water softeners leave behind sulfited water?

      I just bought a new/old house with a water softener installed and using the water causes me to feel like I have a mild sunburn. It literally burns my skin. It’s horrible, and my skin feels so dry. It’s not any soap because it happened when I got up in the morning and just splashed faucet water on my face. When I drank it, I got a scratchy throat, and brushing my teeth caused my mouth to feel like I eaten something too hot and burned it too. Because my allergy to sulfites is so bad, epipen bad, I’m afraid to use the water. The water softener is the only difference between that house and the house we’re selling in another state so it’s got to be the softener.

  25. I have been struggling with this for years. Even the most “all natural” softener salt products tend to have addives they just don’t list on the labels and it is a struggle to nail that down, even when talking to the companies directly. I’ve found to be entirely free of the chemical additives that burn the * out of me is Champion block salt (used for feeding animals, so no nasty chemicals!). Find it in the feed section of your local farm store (Rural King, Farm & Fleet, etc…). Be sure to get the pure white. In addition, beware that your resin in your water softener was precharged with salt. The resin was always a problem for me. It also takes time to fully rinse the chemical additives out of that resin once it has been using another kind of salt.

  26. I was glad to find this webpage. It took me some time to figure it out because water softening systems are not supposed to cause skin problems, but I finally concluded my water softening system was causing me to have an eczema like skin reaction. I tried 3 different salts including potassium salt. I even tried using organic soaps and laundry detergent. None of these measures improved anything. I realized when I went on vacation and used hard water, my skin felt great. From researching this issue, it seems these skin problems must be caused by very high concentrations of sodium/potassium in the softened water. This can have a detergent like effect on the skin. Some salts, like the Morton salt pellets, also have chemical additives which can cause skin irritation. Of course, the sales rep did not mention any of this prior to purchasing the system and was baffled when I asked him. It’s a shame because the whole system was almost $6000 including the reverse osmosis drinking water (which seems to be working fine).

    1. Omg wow, I have had the same issues like yours. I just concluded my problems after reading this page too. I have been struggling with for a year now. Called water softener co and them too said never heard of such. Good thing my husband just rented one. So we will unplug and return it!

  27. If you wish to avoid TLDR, the last paragraph contains a hypothesis solution, you may endeavor.

    I just moved into a home with reverse osmosis softening system. When I grew up it was spring water, then rain water, then moving to the city, city water. My skin has always been strong.
    The first day I showered (after 2 arduous days of moving) I felt as though I was washing in pure bleach (not the smell) the burning, stinging, eating away at my skin feeling! Then afterwards blotches and itching, as if I had poison ivy.
    I’ve looked for the last three months to no avail… all the articles say “it’s the best!: It is cleaning the soap off!: it’s better for your skin!: it’s because you’ve never been moisturized before! There’s no soap scum! It’s calcium free! It’s because you have a chlorine injector and your skins absorbing it! You’re using the wrong soap!”
    I call BS! As I sit here burning and itching at 3:00am because I can sleep and my mind thinks creepy parasites are imbedding into my now measly rash covered bubbling skin!
    And companies like this are doing everything in their power to maintain themselves!

    Positives: you folks here! The query regarding the unusual salts etc (Morton’s total care, or any variation) containing chemicals that affect people like US, where there’s no mention barely anywhere, now makes a decent amount is sense.

    I’m going to find a chemical free salt to use tomorrow, dump the balance of salt (I had almost bought 4 bags today (Morton’s Ultimate), but the GD lines were insane!

    Anyway, I think I’ll take an old trash can and dump the “Chemical” Salt in that and try the “Free & Clear” salt (if I can find any) in the main tub… I will then do a stage cleaning (using the chemical salt) biweekly but avoid bathing during those treatments, and maintain the base salt to see what happens! After compiling the obvious data above I think this solution may be worth the try! Many thanks to the contributors on this page I am very greatful!

  28. ***** C O N F I R M E D******

    I did it! I eliminated all the “Morton Total” and went to Solar Salts!!!

    No slippery!
    No skin Agitation!
    No scratching!!!
    No inflammation!

    Just water!

    How so fast?!?

    I ran all my laundry in hot water only to purge the hot water tank (Yes I did shower with agitation half the week until yesterday) and today nothing!
    No slippery
    Not pain no burning no agitation!!

    It’s AMAZING!!!

    YES I will definitely use Morton’s to CLEAN THE SYSTEM 4x a year one bag (1/2 use) for ONE NIGHT of purge cleaning on Friday! Saturday, I will eliminate it from the tank and put SOLAR SALT.

    I’m convinced the pellets adhesive:

    Traps the cleaner in the bead tanks making the water slippery as well as
    Many of us are allergic to the cleaning agents or the adhesive!

    It’s a fabulous product TO SERVICE THE BEAD TANK(S)!!! But for everyday use GO SOLAR SALTS, name brand is irrelevant, AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE!!!!

    I’m so Happy I can’t even begin! I want to s team atop the mountains!!!!

    Good Luck to you ALL!!!

    1. Why do you need to clean it with Morton’s. Is solar salt in pellets? They told us to use pellets. It’s only day 2 for us and my hands are dry and cracking. I want to return the damn thing

  29. Thank you so much for all this input. Installed a softener system a month or so ago. My wife developed a terrible itch which got worse day by day. She made a Derm appointment to get something for the itch. We brainstormed with friends a couple times trying to figure out what might have changed (laundry detergent, lotion, etc…), to no avail. I mentioned that we had the new softened water, so Googled it and came up with lots of hits as you all can imagine. Started reading this blog and “Bingo!” – I’ve used nothing but the yellow bag Morton salt in the system since day one. I put the softener on bypass last evening, she showered once with whatever mix was left in the water heater and non-softened water on the cold side. It’s only 24 hours later, and her itch is completely gone. Leaving here for the summer in a couple days. On our return in September, will remove the Morton’s and try either a solar or evaporated brand.

  30. OMG THANK GOD FOR THIS BLOG & THE comments!!!
    I had to move to mo moms back in Dec 2019 (because of a tragedy) She lives in a mini mansion so to speak because shes rather wealthy.

    Nonetheless, my mother’s house is insanely clean ( private house keeper & private gardner) And when I first STARTED showering in her shower…though the water feels soft & amazing…shortly after ( like 1 day) I developed raised itchy bumps on my back & legs basically all over my body & behind my ear. I already have eczema but it was never this bad. I also have the picking thing where being that im a perfectionist…if i see any bump on me i pick it even if it tears skin to bleed… i then started picking all these rash bleeding bumps now im left with scars and abrasions all over my body😩

    Mom & my stepfather has a water softener system and this caused this. Where i were living previously did not abd I never itched INSANE like I do @ my mothers house.
    Come to think about it I always felt a slimey feeling when in the shower like I werent getting completely clean..even though the water felt soft i nevet felt clean like iI do when using a hard water shower now living with my BF

    This is CRAZY😩
    But im glad this blog exists ty sooo much for the comments

  31. I’m so happy I found this discussion! Every article I come across states how wonderful soft water is but not long after my household switched to soft water (I’ve used hard water all my life and have always had clear, beautiful skin) I developed painful breakouts all over my face. I’d exit the shower itchy and stinging all over, causing the eczema I almost fully outgrew to resurface very unpleasantly. I was devastated because nobody else in my house seemed affected, so there was no sign that we would change back to hard water. There are two things I would recommend.

    1) If breakouts are occurring on your face, wash with distilled water! It has worked wonders for me but exposure to the water still results in stubborn under-the-skin whiteheads and occasional cysts.
    2) If you have the financial or physical means (ie you control your water softener) switch to POTASSIUM chloride. It is much more expensive than sodium chloride but it makes a HUGE difference. I was showering occasionally at a friend’s place and she uses this and no more stinging and itchiness! It’s still a softener so I still highly recommend moisturizer after bathing.

  32. So great to read all of these posts and confirm I’m not losing it! We moved to the country 3 months ago. From city water to well water. Our new has has a water softener system. I have never itched so much in my life. I do have sensitive skin and have to use free & clear products. So after reading all of this thread – I realize it has to be the salt in the water softener system. I will be bypassing fir a couple day’s to see if it makes a difference and go from there. Thank you for all of your shares as it has really helped me to connect all of the itchy dots!!

  33. I grew up in a house with I assume to be hard water. (City water). I recently moved out into a house with well water, it has that slippery feeling. It’s been 2 weeks of showering in the well water and my skin is broken out so bad and shaving is a nightmare. I cannot get a close enough shave with this water. I was fed up and thought maybe a water softener would solve the problem.. about to have one installed next week and after finding this forum I am terrified the water softener will make my skin even worse.

  34. I recently visited the state of South Dakota for 10 days. Besides the incredible hills and forests I immediately noticed I couldn’t seem to completely rinse my hands of soap because of the soft water. I’ve used hard water all my life with no problems, but when I read how soft water was supposed to be better for your skin, and felt slippery to those unaccustomed to it, I didn’t worry too much about it. To my surprise, after just two days of bathing with the soft water (and my regular soap) , I began to develop a rash on the back of my neck and ears! I am blessed to have extremely hearty skin and suffer no allergies. In fact, I can only remember itching like this once in my entire life – when I was a kid and forgot to rinse the soap from back! I can assure you that I have never in over 40 years forgotten to rinse the soap from my body. I believe the rash came from the inability of the South Dakota soft water to completely rinse the soap from my body, despite my best efforts. In fact, it’s just been two days after returning home to bathe in my hard water and my rash is almost gone! In fact, I read how soap is designed to be rinses from your skin easier with hard water while detergent is designed to rinse from your clothes easier with soft water.
    My conclusion: soft water works great with detergents on my clothes but hard water works best with soap on my skin.
    Please see link below to fact check me:

  35. Six years ago we added a water softening system to our home plumbing. Ever since then I’ve suffered from whole-body itching immediately after I take a home shower–the itching lasts for about an hour. There is no rash or visible irritation to my skin. I tried no-soap showers, no-shampoo showers and no-soap AND no-shampoo showers–still I get the itching. I even tried cold-water showers–the itching won’t go away. When I shower at my athletic club or in a hotel I don’t get any itching. Two days ago I woke up with lower back pain–I must have slept in a wrong position. I immediately took two (2) tablets of Ibuprofen (200 mg each) for my back pain. Then I took a shower–NO ITCHING (and the lower back pain disappeared in an hour or so). Today, even though I had no more back pain, I took one (1) Ibuprofen 200 mg tablet and took a shower–again, NO ITCHING! Tomorrow, I’ll try cutting a 200 mg tablet of Ibuprofen in half to take before my shower and see if I have itching. My physician says that even if I have to take a single 200 mg tablet of Ibuprofen that should not cause any serious side effects AS LONG AS I DON’T HAVE ANY STOMACH PAIN FROM THE IBUPROFEN. I believe I’ve found a cure to my soft water itching problem!

  36. I am so happy to have found this site! I thought I was the only one experiencing skin issues that I was certain had to be from the water softener! We have lived in AZ the past 8yr and our last house did not have a water softener. I’ve always had sensitive skin and itchiness but never full blown acne! Once we moved into this new house and my husband put salt into the water softener system my skin went crazy! I thought I was having an allergic reaction but I had not switched anything that I normally use/eat! Saw a dermatologist because I did not know what was happening to my face. He said I had rosacea! Never had rosacea! He put me on minocycline (which I was very nervous about because I never take antibiotics) & told me not to wash my face or use any moisturizer until it clears up with the antibiotic. It is now day 2 when I stumbled upon this thread. I just washed my face with bottled water and it actually feels normal! No burning/itching! I still have these breakouts but I’m going to unplug the softener and see if this actually was the case!

  37. I have had a bad rash around my testicles and groin area. I have soft water in the bathroom and have noticed after bathing that the irritation is worse. Have used several creams but nothing seems to be helping me. Does anyone else have this problem.

    1. Yes, I have the same problem in my female area! Only thing different is we installed a Culligan Water Softener. I’m going to try to bypass the system and see if my condition goes away!
      Have you figured out a way to improve your “male situation?”

  38. I had this reaction happen recently and tried so many things to get relief. For anyone really in discomfort or pain, do yourself a favour and buy some diaper rash cream with zinc— no name generic stuff is just fine. You won’t believe the relief!

  39. I moved into a new apartment over a year ago. The water is so soft it’s like bathing in baby oil. It’s so disgusting. My head itches so bad every night I can’t sleep. I tried switching shampoos to no avail. I go in the hallways and every outlet in the building has an air freshener plugged into it. This building is one big toxic chemical. I can’t wait to move. I never feel clean. My BO is WAY worse than showering in regular water. Have you ever washed your hands with Dove extra moisturizing soap? It feels like that. IT NEVER COMES OFF. It’s disgusting.
    I have a rash all over my forearms and my legs. But my scalp is the worst. As soon as my head hits the pillow here comes the itching and the burning. I’m sure washing my clothes in this water is also contributing to it. I literally haven’t slept in over a year and they won’t let me break my lease. Thank god I can move in a few months.

  40. We moved in September and have gone form hard water to soft via a water softener. I have a bath every day and just recently have red itchy spots on my legs, arms and almost like acne on my back. The spots on my legs are quite big, whereas the ones on my arms are almost like a heat rash, there are new spots and rashes daily. I itch dreadfully and make these spots bleed badly as the itching is unbearable. I have a doctors appointment Weds, perhaps I should mention this? Or perhaps turn the softener off for a week and see how my skin is?

  41. Absolutely amazed how my severe skin problems cleared up after moving where we only had hard water. Water softeners are not the only panacea that the manufactures make them out to be. Take this with a grain of salt but this was my personal experience.

  42. I’m so glad I found this site because my husband thinks I’m crazy. We recently bought a home in another state that has a whole house salt based water softener. I don’t know what kind of salt the previous owner used in it. The first night after I slept over I woke up and just splashed water on my face… and it burned. Its a burn similar to what I feel when I use sulfate or high sulfate cleaners, like dish soap or shampoos. My skin is sensitive to chemicals so I have to use sulfate free soaps and free and clear washing detergents.
    The next day I just put water on my face around part of my face just as a test. Same thing. It gave me a burning sensation. My hands are burning too but they’ve been in a lot of water from the faucet. I’m afraid to take a shower so I’ve been using bottled water and washing like they did in the Victorian era and have had no burning. We unplugged the water softener and bypassed it but I’m still leery of using the water. Could the softened water still be in the hot water tank? If so, how do I get it out? I can’t live in a house where I can’t take a shower. The water tastes terrible too and it gives me a scratchy throat. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  43. I’ve always had hard water and no skin problems. The last 4 years I’ve had red bumps and itchiness on my legs, back, head, arms. I would scratch these bumps until they bled. These rashes never completely healed and my skin has become fragile with skin tears and scars on my arms. I have been to my doctor, dermatologists, rheumatologist only to be told I have “aging”, sensitive skin. I’ve used expensive lotions, dermamend cream, cortisone cream, Benadryl, allergy pills, expensive concealers, and prednisone with little to no success. I have been in total dismay as I’ve always had strong healthy skin like my mother and aunts (and they still do in their 70’s and 80’s!) So why was my skin turning so fragile and looking like a ragged mess at age 60? I wondered what changed in the last 4 years? I had remarried and moved into a beautiful house with a water softener, which was supposed to be better for your skin. I started researching and came across this blog and am so glad I did! I even felt my mouth and lips were swollen and my tongue feels “burned” & numb-like. I had no idea others were having these same symptoms. I am going to ask my husband what type of chemicals he adds and feel like I’m finally getting some answers to my skin problems!

  44. **Actual and tangible remedies or fixes lacking**

    I’ve read almost all the responses below. My wife is currently experiencing extreme itching in the house we just brought about 4 weeks ago. We’re on well water and this is VERY new to us.

    What have ALL of you done to correct this. It seems like many have come to connecting the dots on what the cause may be. But what steps have all of you gone to correct this?

  45. If you suffer severe break out on face, neck, chest and arm and had tried every salt they had in the market including solar, pure and natural salts then you are allergic to the resins in the water softener. Water softeners contain polybromide or iodide resins to break down minerals and pathogens in water. These are both high in iodine which can cause serious breakouts and flare ups for people with acne or who may even be just acne prone. Your best bet is to stay away from water softener. I tried taking shower with no soap and shampoo with water softener for a week, still get acne on my face and body. So, I put it into bypass for a week, and my body and face cleared up right away.

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