Desalinated Water

Shower with desalinated water
Photo: Alexandru Chiriac/Shutterstock
Q: Greetings from Desalinated Water Land! I've recently moved to the Middle East where the water for bathing is desalinated. What is the best type of shampoo for this kind of water? I already use a non-sulfate shampoo, and I'd like to know if I might be able to improve on this choice.
A: I'll first give an explanation of what desalinated water is and the potential complications it may cause, in order to inform readers who are not aware of this. Then I'll move on to some advice on the best products to use on your hair in these areas.
The highest source of normal tap-water in the Arabian Gulf is desalinated water. Desalination is the procedure of eliminating salt from seawater to produce drinking water for the population. Unfortunately increasing populations are contaminating the water in our oceans which causes additional bacterial growth. Consequently, the plants that purify the water must add higher amounts of chlorine to eliminate bacteria and then add lime, which is a calcium-compound, to assist in keeping the chlorine levels under control.
Desalinated water is deemed safe to drink, but it is a potential cause of many problems concerning the health of the hair of the people who live in such locations, resulting in the fact that a large number of men and women suffer from hair-loss and related complications in the Arabian Gulf and other places situated in the desert.
Also, the high percentage of calcium present in the water of these locations, tends to make hair feel dry and weighed down. This is because hair can suffer from environmental and climate factors such as harsh sun or the wind, etc. This causes damage to the hair-strand, causing the cuticles to open, exposing a path of potential entry to the cortex of the hair.
The harmful and excessive minerals in desalinated water such as calcium, etc. build up in these openings, causing the cuticles to open further or break off entirely. When the cuticle breaks off, the cortex of the hair-strand is exposed and the structure of the hair is compromised, resulting in irreparable damage or complete breakage of the hair.
Other complications of the hair and scalp in these locations include but are not limited to dandruff, hair-loss, and a calcium build-up on the surface of the scalp, hindering or stinting new hair-growth.
Specialized shampoos, conditioners and treatments have been manufactured to combat the negative effects of desalinated water on hair. Look into obtaining a specialized product, for example Anti-Sal products produced by Arden Healthcare. These products are based on unique formulas to produce a rich and nourishing lather which combines natural ingredients and the wonder of science, to dissolve the harmful mineral deposits and build-up around the hair-shaft.
People in areas which make use of desalinated water should take extra precaution concerning the health of their hair. If you visit a professional hair-salon in your area, a stylist will be able to give you the perfect advice and recommend products which will be suitable for use on your hair and designed to suit your specific needs.
I strongly recommend that you use products which were specifically designed for use by people that use desalinated water. Normal shampoos, conditioners and treatments will not be enough for your hair, possibly even the non-sulfate variants. Chat with a professional stylist in your area, as they have the best knowledge and experience concerning this specific problem.
See also:
Hard water hair
Well water and hair problems