I have recently moved about 1/3 of a mile away to a new house and the well water here is making my skin very dry and itchy. At my old house we had a filter on the well (some type of blue pellets for softening I believe that had to be changed once a year) the water tasted fantastic right out of the tap, and I didn't have any skin problems other than normal dry skin occasionally.
New house, no filter, water tastes okay when cold, very metallic at room temp. After six months of living here, my scalp started shedding giant flakes, extreme itching, scabbing after hair color treatments. my skin became very dry and I had to start using lotions daily. Dermatologist said it was psoriasis (I didn't really think that was the problem) but I tried the prescription lotion and shampoo and it didn't help at all. Also tried all of the commercially available dandruff, psoriasis, sulfate free etc. shampoos, no help either.
checked out the "no poo" questions on this site and tried that for a while which has helped the scalp and skin. I used only baking soda on my scalp and skin for three months (occasional hair rinses with ACV, coconut oil treatment on the scalp) and that cleared up the itching and flaking, but has dried my hair out completely and I hate how it feels. I found some tea tree shampoo at whole foods that is all natural, no sulfates, petroleum, gluten etc and it makes my hair look fantastic, but my scalp itches a little and flakes on some days so I am worried that it could get progressively worse again.
I am pretty sure this is a water issue and not a diet issue as I have been paleo (with cream and cheese, no food allergies) since February, and I thought that since I had well water that would be a benefit...no chlorine, no fluoride etc to worry about.
As for water testing, the at home test kit from Home Depot (brand PurTest) gave me the following results:
3ppm copper, 80 ppm alkalinity, 3 grains/50ppm Hardness, zero Iron, zero pesticides, zero bacteria, and a pH reading of 5. (same results over two tests) I don't remember much from chemistry, but the pH seems very acidic and maybe that is why the baking soda helped??
Any chemistry folks or well water users in the community have any advice to offer? Is a whole house filter necessary and if you have one what types do you recommend?
asked bytexasleah (4111)
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on June 08, 2011
at 06:49 PM
I found this question today while researching well water and dry hair. I am a chemist and sample and analyze well water for a living in NJ. The Home Depot test is not real accurate, but if it is close, what you need is an acid neutralizer treatment system. Your water is soft, not hard. Hard water is 170 ppm or higher (10 + grains). The alkalinity is low, but the copper is extremly high. The USEPA drinking water upper limit for copper is 1.3 ppm. The problem is the low pH. The lower the pH, the more acidic the water is. Acids dissolve metals, so the the "staining" you see is the copper pipes corroding from the inside. When the copper oxidizes from oxygen in the air, it turns green (think Statue of Liberty !!)Since the hardness is so low (calcium protects the inside of the pipes), the acidic water is dissolving the pipes, putting copper into the drinking water. If you don't fix the pH, the pipes will start getting pinhole leaks. A water softener will only make the problem worse. I suggest having a certified lab do an accurate test on the water. You want the hardness level to be between 50-125 ppm. An acid neutralizer (either calcite filter or soda ash injection) will bring up the pH and stop the corrosion. If you were blond,your hair would turn green. (its not the chlorine in a pool, but the copper in the hair that the chlorine oxidizes that turns hair green. Otherwise, every blond who went into a pool would have green hair!) The copper will effect the hair, and is not healthy to drink. Hope this is helpful, and not to late. Good luck!
on October 31, 2010
at 09:15 PM
I'd invest in a water softener. You'll notice less scaling on your body as well as in the house, less metallic tastes in your food, and your hair will be SOOOOO much softer. The filter for a shower is completely insufficient, but will be OK for the short-term; just don't expect much difference. Shower filters will need to be changed about every 30 days, far more often than the manufacturer will suggest. If your water is as hard as you describe, you'll need to find the best filter (read most $$$) that will fit.
on October 31, 2010
at 03:56 PM
It could also be a issue with the hardness. That happens a lot down here, so you might try a filter for the shower, it is a cheap fix and often helps a lot, esp with no poo. link text
on March 20, 2013
at 09:34 PM
I have the same problem. I went from country well water that made me itchy to the WORST hard city water and now I'm moving back to the country well water. Ive combated the worst scalp conditions. I'm having hair thinning and loss as well as some mild folliculitis The best thing I have found is the walgreens brand 4% salycilic acid shampoo and neutrogenas tar shampoo and hibiclens. I have also been washing my hair with gallon jug water for 7 months and although its about 90% better,its not gone and I fear it will never go away. I have tried everything includind acv and baking soda, tea tree oil but that stuff works only about 60-70% . I am not sure what's wrong. I do remember when I lived in the country well water we had gotten a LATE notice of ecoli being found in the water. Could this have gotten on my scalp?? Probably not. This hibiclens is working pretty good. When I move back to well water I will be sure to get the correct filter no matter the cost! I wish you all the best.
on October 28, 2012
at 11:31 PM
I am wondering if any of you can suggest a better at home water test than the home depot one? If not, do we find a water testing co in the phone book or online and mail in a sample? What is the approx cost? I also have well water and it is destroying my scalp and skin. Even with my pure filter on the sink faucet the water tastes awful. I am obsessed with my drinking water and fear I'm drinking bad water. Need to test and deal. Any suggestions for testing are appreciated. Thanks R
on October 31, 2010
at 03:46 PM
could definitely be the water as it is quite acidic also I have used nothing at all on my hair except water since last winter,I think using baking soda and shampoo could be where you are going wrong. We have a water softener for alkaline "hard" well water and it makes our skin and hair feel great.Are there stains on your sink ,tub,toilet?