Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thursday, October 09, 2008 Peggy D., Community Member, asks

Q: Allergy to salt based water softner?

About 30 days ago, we installed a salt based water softner because of the iron content in our water.  It smelled and was turning our hair orange.  About 3 weeks ago my husband started itching.  No rash, just itching.  He thinks it could be related to the salt in the water softner.  Ever heard of this before?? 

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Answers (14)
KJac3, Community Member
7/ 5/10 2:10am

My daughter has the same problem with a Culligan water softener.  She never had this problem before when we lived in Wa state, but when we visited my inlaws who have a Culligan filter, she broke out in a red rash and I gave her Benadryl thinking she was having an allergic reaction to a food she had newly tried.  We then moved to Vegas and lived with my SIL and my daughter never really had a problem with taking baths besides the occasional dry skin in the winter...my SIL did not have a softener.  Now that we have our own home with a Culligan softener my daugther cant take baths anymore. The water burns her skin so much she becomes itchy and screams as she is scratching.  I give her quick showers now and the second she comes out i used baby lotiono on her skin. She says it still itches, but at least she isn't screaming anymore.  I hope you find a solution to this, or at least a softener that works without doing this to our families. IT is just so sad that my daughter now hates hates hates simply taking a bath and has to endure the itching, but that without the softener we will ruin our pipes.

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mo1530, Community Member
9/21/10 10:12pm

Hi

 

As I read your text concerning your daughter I could not beleave that you prefere keeping your pipes clean instead of keeping your daughter healthy and happy.

You could live very well without the water softener and your daugther would have a much more beaudiful life without taking a shower and knowing your not doing any thing to care for her. So take out this water softener instead of only looking and hearing how bad it is for your daughter.

In my countray we do not soften the water and the pipes still are good for more then 10 years (so there should be no need for any water softener)!!!

All the best for your daughter. I hope you care more for her then the pipes!!

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mo1530, Community Member
9/21/10 10:14pm

Hi

 

As I read your text concerning your daughter I could not beleave that you prefere keeping your pipes clean instead of keeping your daughter healthy and happy.

You could live very well without the water softener and your daugther would have a much more beaudiful life without taking a shower and knowing your not doing any thing to care for her. So take out this water softener instead of only looking and hearing how bad it is for your daughter.

In my countray we do not soften the water and the pipes still are good for more then 10 years (so there should be no need for any water softener)!!!

All the best for your daughter. I hope you care more for her then the pipes!!

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KJac3, Community Member
9/23/10 1:48am

How DARE you say that I care less about my daughter and more about my pipes!You dont know anything about me. Dont they have that saying in your "country" that if you do not have anything nice or helpful to say then you should keep your mouth shut.  My daughter's problem is under the control as of speaking with her doctor and trial and error.  Maybe your country isn't in THE MIDDLE of the DESERT and the water condition here is a result of the minerals caused by the ecosystem of the area.  It is a way of life here and DOES effect the house which in a very costly way, so if a little lotion is the cure than thats what has to be done. My daughter has a very good life and isn't missing her baths anymore.  She's a big girl who should be taking showers at this point and im proud to be her mother! 

 

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sometimesitchy, Community Member
10/ 7/10 6:25pm

FYI. There are other options that protect your pipes besides softening. Filter systems, reverse osmosis, etc.

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KJac3, Community Member
10/ 8/10 3:11am

Thank you for you positive input and advice. We will look into those options.

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welder4, Community Member
3/20/11 8:48pm

Please look at the easy water type softener it uses no salt but they claim it keeps the pipes clean and you will use less soap , my daughter yesterday started having problems when she showered and just used water no soap and I fear the disacant in ther tank has depleted I will look at easy water or another simullar product they use a field of electricity at a low voltage and it lines up all the impurities and lets them slide right down the drain they even say it will clean the pipe over time, check it out I am going to myself

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pass the salt, Community Member
6/19/12 9:25pm

kjac3 FOR ANSWER TO YOUR DAUGHTER'S DELIMA SCROLL DOWN TO MESSAGE (PASS THE SALT) DATED 6/19/12

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Barbara S, Community Member
12/15/08 11:08pm

We installed a salt based water softner 4 weeks ago and I have itching around my neck and rash, itching on my forehead, forearm, and itching on my legs. My face around my eyes are swollen mostly my eye-lids, this is already 3 weeks. First I was looking for a food allergent? but I cannot find anything. I called Culligan -company who installed the water softener - thay do not know about any allergy people can have - but I really thing this is the water.

If anybody have the same problem-please, please answer.

I did not do yet any allergy test.  Maybe we should just disconect the water softener ?? Please help recognize the problem.

 

Barbara S.

bsapota@rogers.com

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jackieo, Community Member
11/17/09 8:59pm

my daughter seems to be having an allergy to softener-rash under arm pit, swollen glands and stomach issues> we turned off for 5 months because it was leaking and turned back on and couple days after all her symptoms came back

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Debra, Community Member
1/ 5/11 12:11am

same thing happened to me when I visited my sister in Fla. I have been  back in Jersey for 2 days and am still getting hives! I don't get it?

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pass the salt, Community Member
6/19/12 9:17pm

DEBRA FOR ANSWER TO YOUR DELIMA, SCROLL DOWN TO (PASS THE SALT) DATED 6/19/12, NO BALONY

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pass the salt, Community Member
6/19/12 9:15pm

JACKIEO; FOR ANSWER TO YOUR DELIMA, SCROLL DOWN  TO MESSAGE (PASS THE SALT) DATED 6/19/12 . FACT NO BALONY

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niki, Community Member
5/18/10 11:14pm

The same thing happens to me. I recently visited my parents who have installed a water softener in their home... I was so itchy I stopped showering. It drove me nuts... Myparents thought I was just being a freak, but now I am surfing the web to see if there is any one else who feels the same allergic reaction to the water softener????  Its just salt right???

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pass the salt, Community Member
6/19/12 9:20pm

NIKI FOR ANSWER TO YOUR DELIMA, SCROLL DOWN TO MESSAGE (PASS THE SALT)

DATED 6/19/12

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GARY THOMSON, Community Member
6/27/11 9:10am

I

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pass the salt, Community Member
6/19/12 9:12pm

Barbara; FOR AN ANSWER TO YOUR DELIMA SEMESSAGE POSTED AS PASS THE SALT DATED 6/19/12. FACT NOT DR'S MONEY MAKING BALONY

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Meagan F, Community Member
4/12/13 9:59am

I do have this problem.  Even worse.  If i stay at a friends house and shower it feels super slimy and within 4 hours I am itchy and I get blemishes all over that oose clear liquid and eventually turn into painful itchy acne that takes 2 weeks to clear up.  Its horrible. I live in the inner city and the water there and the well water at our cabin it perfectly fine, its when I am at ahouse with water softener.  I am also allergic to shampoos and conditioners and have to wash my hair in a sink so that it doesnt touch my body. 

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amyp, Community Member
6/11/10 5:43pm

In a our water softener, Sears, the water circulates through a bed of resin beads.  Maybe it's the resin beads you are allergic to.

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pass the salt, Community Member
6/19/12 9:23pm

AMYP  FOR ANSWER TO YOUR DELIMA, SCROLL DOWN TO MESSAGE (PASS THE SALT) DATED 6/19/12

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sometimesitchy, Community Member
10/ 7/10 6:20pm

Softened water gives me hives. If I turn the softener off I don't get hives it I turn it back on I get hives. I also get hives from ocean water and my lip swells when I eat sea salt. I wonder if it is connected somehow...

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Debra, Community Member
1/ 5/11 12:07am

I just came back from my sisters in Fla. I wasn't there but a day when my palms started itching,then my belly,and my head and neck and I have been home for 2 days now and I am still getting welts[hives when I shower and am still itchy. They also have a water softener because of a high iron content. I can't figure it out!

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GARY THOMSON, Community Member
6/27/11 9:36am

It took me better than 8 years, many allery dr's visits, food allergy tests and then a complete upper torso front and back breakout rash, that itched unbearably after a wonder full hot shower before it dawned on me that the soft water unit i had installed some years earlier in my new house might be the cause. dr's do not know everything.  bypassed the soft water unit and have seen noticeable relief and reduction of rash/itching.  but still have not gotten the problem completely solved yet. i believe that when my unit was in operation, and flowed through my hot water unit, there has been an accumulation of salt buildup within the hot water unit due to heating process. as stated i bypassed the watersoftener unit and have drained the hot water unit several times, and seem to be gaining on the problem. let fresh water refill the hot water unit and drain it again, through the drain spout on the heater about a dozen times to disolve the heat bakeded salt that has accumulated coating the inner walls of the hot water unit. i think you will start to see a gradual, but noticeable differance in the body rash.  but remember the salt buildup is still mixed with the hard chemicals that have been flowing through your waterpipes, and will take some time to dis-solve and breakdown, as clean saltwater flows through them. please this is my own theory of the problem. it seems to be working for me. my theory is as i have explained, because i have had thesame set of circumstances with water softener units, i installed both here , in my newer home and one that i owned in alaska. both had soft water units i had installed. finally 16 years of rashes and itching, now very significant changes. just know that your water heater when heating your water, has baked the salt to the inner walls of the heater, and the salt has leached itself to the insides of the water pipes as it flowed through. all this must now disolve as new clean water flowes through unit and pipes. itching and rash will show noticeable chance fairly quickly, but still lingers...quick showers.....just stepping in to wet hair and body.....soap up....then wash and rinse quickly, but thoroughly will bring noticeabe relief.....GOOD LUCK ALL YOU SALT ALERGY SUFFERS OUT THERE......ONE THING TO REMEMBER YOUR BODY NEEDS SALT, SO DO NOT GO OVER BOARD, BY CHANGING YOUR DIETARY SALT INTAKE. SALT IS VERY NECESSARY FOR YOUR BODY'S HEALTH.

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richard, Community Member
12/30/11 1:47pm

   

 



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pass the salt, Community Member
6/19/12 9:06pm

Dear Peggy and oh so itchy husband:  Believe it or not I suffered the same ailments (itching) for thirteen years, while making many dermatologists very rich. BUT, and this BUT is the remedy to cure your malaise, and also is going to save you untold disconfort, and many dollors you will otherwise spend/now and in future doctor's bills.

 

First you have already identified the cause of your itcy disconfort. IT'S THE SALT, OR IF YOUR USING POTASSIUM PERMANISE, THAT PURPLE STUFF YOU LOAD INTO YOUR SOFT WATER UNIT EVERY SIX MONTH OR SO. S T O P USING THESE TWO CHEMICALS......Like I stated earlier my itching started up Alaska, due to like yourself trying to get rid of the sulfer smelling water, and the hard chemicals found in the water. But where do we all go for such ailments?  The doctor, who refers us to the dermatologist, after the meds the first doctor tried us on, then on to the dermotologist, who runs all his alergy tests. What then we get a huge bill, and are told that we are alergic to dairy products, eggs, wheat bread, the trees outside our house, yes really the trees outside. What do they expect us to do live in the desert? Maybe so, but here again you can't take your dog or cat with you because, as told to me, I was also alergic to both types of these wonderful creatures/blessings in my life.......By the way here is my bill for the BS I've just fed you, and some prescriptions for some new med's that you have not tried for your problem......oh please pay the book-keeper on your way out.......as I'm going to las Vages for a few weeks....thanks for paying....BOTH OF MY BILLS.....yours for these MANY VISITS, and what it will cost me for my vacation.......

 

SORRy......OHHHH, yes the cure to your problem........GET RID IF THE WATER SOFTENER/CONDITIONER you are feeding bags of some sort of salt every time it desolves into your plumbing, AND AT THE SAME TIME DESOLVING/WASTING THE HARD EARNED MONEY FROM YOU AND YOUR FAMLIES NEEDED INCOME.

 

SOUNDS EASY? IT'S NOT. BECAUSE YOU ALSO HAVE TO GET RID OF YOUR HOT WATER HEATER, THAT HAS OVER TIME BEEN BAKING THE SALT SOLUTION FROM YOUR WATER CONDITIONER ONTO THE INSIDE WALLS OF YOUR HEATER. YES, THINK OF THE HEATING PROCESS GOING ON IN YOUR WATER HEATER, EACH TIME IT HEATS UP YOUR SALTY/SALINE WATER FLOWING INO IT FOR YOUR HOT SHOWER. THE HEAT BAKES THE SALTY WATER ONTO THE INSIDE WALLS OF YOUR HOT WATER UNIT.  HOW MANY TIMES DAILY, OVER HOW MANY WEEKS, MONTHS, POSSIBLT YEARS?  IT WAS FROM 2004 TO JANUARY 2012, UNTIL I STARTED BACKTRACKING MY LIFE AND THE 12 YEEARS I HAVE LIVED WITH A BODY COVERED WITH BLISTERS, THAT LOOKED LIKE I HAD THE MEASELS, BUT.....ITCHED.......UNREQUIETED DAY AND NIGHT.....THEY EVEN BROKE WHEN LIGHTLY WASHING WITH MY HANDS AND SOAP, BLEEDING UNTIL THEY HARDENED OVER.  BUT WOULD NOT LEAVE ME FOR ALL THESE YEARS....... NOW THEY ARE GONE. MY SKIN IS NOT AS SMOOTH A BABY'S BOTTOM, SOME OF THE SORES LEFT DARK PENCIL TIP SIZED SCARS THAT I'LL ALWAYS HAVE, BUT.. I  DO  NOT  HAVE  THE  ITCHING  ANY  MORE.

 

Conclusion/remedy for what you have already identified as the cause/culpret to your problem?.... THE SALT......YOU NEED 1ST, A DIFFERENT WATER SOFTENER UNIT.......2ND, A NEW CLEAN  UNCONTAMINATED WALLED WATER HEATER,....3RD, NEED TO WASTE A LOT OF WATER, WHILE LETTING IT RUN THROUGH YOUR WATER PIPES......YES PIPES.....HOT AND COLD......REMEMBER YOUR COLD WATER CARRIES THE SAME SALINE/SALTY WATER THROUGH YOUR COLD WATER PIPES........I FLUSHED MINE FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS SEVERAL TIMES A DAY FOR ABOUT 20 MINUTES AT A TIME TO HELP DESOLVE ANY SALT THAT MAY HAVE BEEN IN THE PIPES, LEACHED THERE THROUGH THE USE OF MY OLD WATER SOFTENER UNIT.........TODAY EVEN AFTER I HAVE INSTALLED...... A CHEMICAL FREE WHOLE HOUSE WATER CONDITIONING/SOFTENING UNIT, I STILL RUN FIRST MY COLD WATER SHOWER FAUCET, THEN MY HOT WATER FAUCET FOR A LEAST A FULL MINUTE OR TWO, TOO PURGE ANY WATER THAT HAS BEEN IN THE LINES LEACHING AWAY AT THEIR INNER SURFACES THROUGH THE NIGHT...... SOME TIME I FORGET TO DO THIS, AND PROBABLY ONLY DO THE PURGE, DUE TO THE MEMORY OF YEARS OF ITCHING AND LOST DOLLARS SPENT TO FUND THE QUACKS (DOCTORS) THAT CHEATED ME OUT OF MY HARD EARNED DOLLARS.  AFTER BEING DRAFTED INTO THE ARMY AND SERVING AS A MEDIC/MEDICAL FIELD FOR CLOSE TO 24 YEARS, I MET AND WORKED WITH QUITE A FEW QUACKS, ALSO MANY OTHERS THAT HAVE SAVED MY LIFE ON OTHER OCCASIONS...

 

I'm not here to push any products or make any thing, other than to share a 999.99 percent cure for what..... YOU ARE NOW INFLICTING UPON YOURSELF, AND POSSIBLY YOUR FAMILY. .........IF YOU HAVE AN INTEREST IN A PRODUCT, I'LL GLADLY SHARE MY PLEASANT FINDINGS.....1..CHEMICAL FREE CONDITIONER IS MOST IMPORTANT, 2..ANY NEW REPLACEMENT HOT WATER HEATER WILL WORK. BUT DONT JUST REPLACE THE CONDITIONER, AS I DID, AT FIRST.....BIG MISTAKE....LUCKLY BRAIN LIGHT WENT ON, AND IT CLICKED THAT THE SALT WOULD BE BAKED ONTO THE INSIDE OF THE WATER HEATER ALSO, AND WITHOUT CHANGING OUT FOR A NEW WATER HEATER, I WOULD JUST BE DIS-SOLVING THE SALTS BAKED TO THE INSIDES OF THE OLD HEATER, TO NOW FLOW INTO AND THROUGH MY NEW SOFTER UNIT, AND CONTAMINATED IT,PROBABLY RUINING IT WITH THE CONTINUED FLOW OF SALTY/SALINE WATER FROM THE OLD HEATER.

 

 

SO HERE YOU HAVE ALL MY MISTAKES AND NEW FOUND HAPPY KNOWLEDGE FOR FREE, AND GOD HELP YOU IF YOU CONTINUE DOWN THE SAME MISDIRECTED ROAD, DISREGARDING MY MISERY FOUND/EXPERIENCED INFORMATION.

 

LET THE DOG ITCH, AND SCRATCH, NOT YOU......ON SECOND THOUGHS, LET HIM SHARE THE PLEASURES OF A SALT FREE BATH/SHOWER ALSO.  WHAT'S FAIR IS FARE.....NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO? HE YOUR BEST FRIEND.

 

I WILL NOT SAY GOOD LUCK, BECAUSE I KNOW IT WORKS.  GARY

 

 GARY 719-738-1795...I KNOW THERE ARE MANY OUT THERE WITH THIS SAME PROBLE, AS I'VE SEEN IT WRITTEN HERE, AND FOUND IT SO IN MANY CONVERSATIONS.......OH AND SINCE THE NEW INSTALLATION....RING AROUND THE TOILET IS ALSO DISAPATING     

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MS, Community Member
7/28/12 2:31pm

hey everyone

i am new to this web site. But after four weeks of suffering i founf this and i think its the answer to my sleepless nights and crying:(

i moved three week ago and house had weird water softner..i started to itch and get hives..doctors been govong me deds without even trying to find out what is causing this itch... i have tried every pill and cream with negative results:( but after reading feedbacks.        iam going to see my doctor with this and tell them to look next time for signs  not just guess i am so dissapointed with medical help:(

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barbara, Community Member
8/15/12 11:34am

I have experienced the same issues with itching/discomfort that seemed to appear within 2 weeks after switching to a new salt softener with rust removed.  also unexpected increased hair loss that hadnt reazlied may be a part of this issue (skin irritation or scalp or allergy), has anyone else had this?  

 

 

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Sticky Skin, Community Member
8/31/12 1:01am

I have been having sticky skin problems since having a Culligan water softener installed 3 years ago. What kind of softener do you have? I'd like to know if this is related to something in all softeners or just Culligan.

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PHX01, Community Member
10/ 4/12 12:55pm

We have salt based water softening system that is not a Culligan.  When I step out of the shower my arms and legs start itching like crazy.  I slather Cetaphil all over but the itching goes on for as long as 20 minutes.  I went to a dermatologist who told me that the water softener does not have nothing to do with the itching but she is wrong. I do not have the same problem on vacation when using hotel showers.  We switched to Nature's Own Potassium Chloride Water Softener Crystals, and that was worse.  I got hives really bad and started losing my hair!  Not sure why but my husband has not experienced any of these issues.

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aarons44, Community Member
10/25/12 12:43pm

I am unconvinced by the liberal use of capital letters in your post. See my post below for another view. Are you sure it is the salt? There is salt in the ocean, salt in food, salt everywhere. I know in my experience, it was the soap and hot water.

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2, Community Member
9/27/12 12:50pm

Hi all.

I've been fighting this for years 10-20. condition now is itchy in for arms and legs and neck/face area.  outside of ears too.  i golf alot and thought thats where i put sunscreen on.  changed that for awhile and it saves my skin from additional damage but the itchy and blisters still there.  anyways, i have a water softner and forgot to put salt in it for awhile now.  noticed my skin is better, the things are some what healing.  not completely but enough to notice.  so that's when i started searching and found this.  wanted to add my two cents.  will keep everyone posted.  by the way, mine has not been accurately diagnosed by the derms, but the description of the problem was pretty accurate in the pass the salt post.

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aarons44, Community Member
10/25/12 12:40pm

I wanted to add a comment to this because I think there is a lot of psedo-science and general FUD in this thread.

 

In research there is a common phrase "correlation does not equal causation" which means just because two things are related, does not mean they are caused by one another.

 

It may be true that using a water softener caused itching, rashes, etc., and that stopping the usage made those conditions stop, but that does not mean that the problem necessarily lies directly with the salt or other additives. Thin about it this way - there is salt in your food, and in the water in the ocean.

 

But here is one thing that does happen with water softeners - they make your soap (shower, shampoo, washing machine, dishwasher, etc.) work better and more effectively. In fact, if you have hard water and start using a softener, you are supposed to cut back on the amount of soap that you are using.

 

When I put in a water softener, I would break out with hives every time that I showered. But, I have sensitive skin, and allergies to strong perfumes and other fragrances. It turns out that the softener was making my shower gel many more suds, and I was taking really hot showers. Those two things were causing skin allergies. I switched to an Aveno fragrance-free soap, turned down the temperature of the water, and now I no longer have problems with hives when I shower.

 

If you're having issues with a water softener and what seems like allergies, I suggest trying fragrance free soap, or inexpensive soap from a dollar store. I also suggest you try colder water. Think about it this way - have you ever swam in the ocean or other salt water body? Did you have a reaction there? The difference in your shower could be the soap and temperature.

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2, Community Member
11/ 5/12 3:21pm

Thanks for the observation.  This response sounds like its from a person that has does not have the same issues so therefore can't see the possible solution to just observation.  I have been dealing with this for over 15 years, and have not seen so much relief from this skin problem, eczema, Psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, Spongiotic dermatitis...i'm sure all spelled wrong... stress, sun, lack of sun, hot water, cold water....but doesn't matter.  As I have been searching for answers I was also hopping to give a solution that would alleviate at least one more person from suffering skin issues that eluded me for so long.    Well as I promised, I wanted to give an update.  My skin is clearing, no more unhealed blisters that sit under a fake scab.  No more itching and opening unhealed skin.  It is amazing.  I have not done anything different except for not loading the watersoftener with salt.  I still golf, put the same sunscreen on and not wory about it.  I hope someone will benefit from me writing this.  If I could pass it on to everyone and just make another person happy from from their skin problems I would be happy.  Now I'm thinking of going to the health science center where they were poking at me and letting them review my recovery.  I wonder what they would learn from it? 

Well I will keep on checking back and hope to see some positive results from others.  TC

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aarons44, Community Member
11/ 6/12 12:03pm

I am glad you have found some relief. I was just saying that looking through through the entire thread, there is a lot of "salt is bad" FUD, which is really not helpful. Soft water causes soap to work more effectively, creating more suds. If you are not adding salt to the softener, then you are no longer making the water soft, hence less suds. If you have tried cold water, soft sponges, inexpensive soap, fragrance free soap, less soap, reducing how much the softener softens the water, etc. and still have problems, then maybe turning off the water softener may be the only solution (other than trying Benedryl or similar products daily). My point (mainly directed to some of the other most inflamatory posts) is that in a case like yours, it doesn't indicate that "salt is bad," but instead might indicated that the effects of soft water on soap don't agree with your skin.

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Consider this, Community Member
11/13/12 9:01pm
I'm glad you found relief. I have had a rash since the end of June (5 months) an just figured out what it is. My husband bought gerneric salt for the water softener and ever since it's been unvearable itching and burning. I've been to the doctor twice and had an appt set up next week with an allergy specialist for a skin test but will be able to cancel that now and save over $1100. Did you find that you had to run a lot of water through your softener before all of the salt washed out and you stopped itching? Reply
2, Community Member
11/19/12 4:22pm

Right now i just stopped using potassium chloride and salt all togehter.  i'm planing to use the salt again, but the rock kind so there is no binder. 

 

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thinkingit through, Community Member
11/22/12 12:04pm

I agree there's a lot of pseudo science and "theories" posted that aren't helpful. If you drink the water from a water softener, it is not salty...so I'm not sure where people get the idea it's the salt.  I do agree with this poster, though, that there does seem to be a correlation between using a "normal" amount of soap/gel/shampoo with perfumes, in the shower and the itchy skin, hives.  I lived in Toronto where the water comes from the lake, and had no such issues. Since moving to a town that has hard water, I have had two different company soft water units (including Culligan and non-Culligan) and broke out in hives & itchy skin within weeks of installation.  I have been "experimenting" with using less soap/gel and switching to non-perfumed products and it has definitely helped a lot, but not eliminated the problem entirely.  It seems if I'm over just a bit more on the gels the hives and itchiness increase.  Same thing with shampoos.  I suggest trying the same thing and see if it makes a difference for you.

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2, Community Member
11/ 6/12 12:30pm

The dilema now is the hard water, living in texas you have to deal with it.  I've narrowed it to the softener, salt whatever.  now there is an article I've read about the alternative salt Potassium Chloride.  Attached.

This may be the problem, sounded very close to my condition.  I'm going to switch to just rock salt and see what happens.  It's worth a try. 

http://www.ehow.com/list_5986388_health-potassium-chloride-exposure-skin.html

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Liz D., Community Member
12/30/12 12:17am

I have a Culligan water softener and have lived in my "new" house for 6 months.  I have not had any issues until 2 days ago. The guy from Culligan came and added salt and did whatever they do on their visits and I took a shower that night and my inside arms (opposite elbows) and neck and bottom of my face got itchy, red and hives.  Today is 2nd day and after shower it was about the same.  Now tonight I washed my face and it burns.  I will have to call Culligan on Monday and ask if they changed the salt or did something different.  I have not switched my soap/shampoo/laundry detergent, etc.  The only correlation I feel is the salt was added that morning and that evening this happened.  Crazy and irritating.  I feel bad for the people who've had this for a long time and I won't have any issues calling Culligan and having it removed if this keeps up.  Also - the previous owners had Culligan as well - so it has to be a different salt or chemical was used.

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Jimmy, Community Member
5/31/13 10:21am

Hay: I have had bad scalp for over 25 years. Only in my own home. I finally gave my salt based softner away and things have cleared up. I was scraping residue/skin? or something very thick crud off my scalp for years. After removing softner,I was having itching/ crud build up for about 5-6 weeks only. Now no more problems and no need to wear a hat.(skin was sooo bad looked like a dead skin lift off). Now my skin dosn't feel so clean,sorta sticky. I wash my hands much more often.(at least once a week):)> Before during the worst times we were on well water 28gpg. Now on Lake Michigan water 7.5 gpg. That in itself made a HUGHE difference. However, at my AZ house-Arizona City by Casa Grande, the water (sometimes got to 32 gpg.  normally 8 gpg) I used a new softner there and was wonderfull. I switched from 50# blocke to rock crystals. and no longer had crud in the brine tank also. I know...Rock/Crystal is suppose to be dirtier than block but in my actual use it is very much cleaner,no residue in brine tank. I need to add finally-ALL the water heaters up here in Illinois were using Magnesium annod rods. The heater in AZ was using Aluminum annod rod.

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Meagan F, Community Member
4/12/13 9:58am

I do have this problem.  Even worse.  If i stay at a friends house and shower it feels super slimy and within 4 hours I am itchy and I get blemishes all over that oose clear liquid and eventually turn into painful itchy acne that takes 2 weeks to clear up.  Its horrible. I live in the inner city and the water there and the well water at our cabin it perfectly fine, its when I am at ahouse with water softener.  I am also allergic to shampoos and conditioners and have to wash my hair in a sink so that it doesnt touch my body. 

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Meagan F, Community Member
4/12/13 9:59am

I do have this problem.  Even worse.  If i stay at a friends house and shower it feels super slimy and within 4 hours I am itchy and I get blemishes all over that oose clear liquid and eventually turn into painful itchy acne that takes 2 weeks to clear up.  Its horrible. I live in the inner city and the water there and the well water at our cabin it perfectly fine, its when I am at ahouse with water softener.  I am also allergic to shampoos and conditioners and have to wash my hair in a sink so that it doesnt touch my body. 

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Brad in Alaska, Community Member
10/15/13 9:30pm

The short answer is yes, water softners can cause all kinds of skin issues. Doctors and Plumbers have no clue so if your system is new just hit the bypass valve and turn off your softner and you will see results within 2-3 days on your skin. If your system is old do like the others say and replace your hot water heater and flush everything else well. This is the best site for info and after reading this and my wife suffering for two weeks with what doctors called ringworm I bypassed the water softner and all her spots cleared up in two days. There is no doubt since I had just installed the softner 1 week before this all started. Everything was installed correctly sanitized with bleach and I even turned down the softner to the minimum when she started having red welts on her skin after showering. The bottom line is we are not all built the same and some people are very sensitive to whatever changes the softner makes to the hard water. Good luck and stay healthy

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By Peggy D., Community Member— Last Modified: 03/23/14, First Published: 10/09/08