New study of demand for skincare treatments reveals link between hard water and the symptoms of eczema
The condition causes red, itchy, inflamed, cracked and sore skin and can be exacerbated by a number of factors, including stress, detergents, soaps and perfumes as well as diet and food
Survey found the demand for eczema products was in London, West Midlands and Essex - all areas with hard water
Lowest sales were found to be in Perthshire, Kinross, Rutland and Falkirk – all areas of soft water
NHS choices says water hardness can be a trigger for eczema as the excess minerals prevent foaming products from working properly, leading to increased usage which strips skin of natural oils
Paula Beattie, consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokeswoman, said: 'There is increasing evidence that children living in areas with domestic hard water have an increased risk of eczema and more severe eczema especially if they have a genetically inherited tendency to dry skin.
Location is also thought to be vital when it comes to the health of your skin.
A new study has found a person's postcode could determine their risk of developing eczema - a painful skin complaint affecting one in five people.
Findings highlighted a direct correlation between hard water and demand for eczema cures.
In the last 18 months, demand for treatments was highest in London, with the West Midlands, Essex and Surrey also appearing in the top five.
Experts noted all are areas of very hard water.
Commenting on the findings of the 2009 Softened Water Eczema Trial, Tony Frost, from the UK Water Treatment Association, said: 'While this trial did not provide the supporting evidence expected, 66 per cent of home owner participants opted to purchase the water softener after the trial.