Kinetico commissioned Talkhealth to conduct an independent product trial and survey. The survey was carried out between August and December 2011 and was promoted to talkhealth members. 339 people completed the prequalification questionnaire and 23 participants were selected to have Kinetico water softeners installed in their homes for a three month period. The participants then completed a questionnaire at the end of each month, over a three month period. The quantitative and qualitative results were analysed and published in a report.
Participants who had a Kinetico water softener fitted found that:
* 91% recorded less itchiness;
* 83% maintained that the water softener reduced the severity of their eczema;
* of the 78% regularly applying emollients or steroid cream, 67% were using less;
* 96% noticed smoother skin and softer hair;
* 91% are using less soap and shampoo;
* 83% used less washing powder and detergent;
* 83% noticed softer feeling towels and clothes;
* 87% saw less scale on taps, showers and tiles.
“In our experience, eczema is often managed with a combination of approaches, individual responses to treatment vary enormously, what works for one person may not necessarily work for another,” says Deborah Mason, Director of talkhealth.
“The use of water softeners is often cited as helping to relieve the symptoms of eczema and other dry skin conditions, and we were interested to see that those who took part in the product trial experienced some improvement.”
“The most positive result is that people with eczema felt their skin was smoother and less itchy,” adds Julie van Onselen. “The vicious scratch-itch cycle is often the hardest symptom to deal with. Dry skin is itchy skin and itchy skin is scratched, which leads to damage and often a “flare-up’ of eczema. Therefore, if skin is less itchy, scratching and skin damage will reduce and eczema ‘flares’ will reduce.
“People with eczema should use emollients for washing and moisturising on an on-going daily basis to constantly repair their skin barrier (which is compromised in atopic eczema), soap should be avoided, as it is an irritant to eczematous skin.
“Those respondents who regularly applied emollients or steroid creams reported that they were using less of these products as a result of the trial. This indicates that a reduction in eczema treatment is possible. Soft water is certainly very helpful to reduce the amount of washing detergents needed and softer towels and clothes will be more comforting for people with eczema. We do know that people with eczema experience the need for extra laundry, bathing and clothes, which add to the cost of atopic eczema.”