NEW research from the University of Portsmouth has found that water softeners do not benefit children with eczema.
The chronic skin condition affects about 20 per cent of school-aged children in developed countries, and the study looked at 336 young sufferers aged six months to 16 years living in hard water areas like Portsmouth.
Some participants had an ion-exchange water softener installed in their home and continued to use their usual eczema treatments, while others only used their usual eczema care.
Over 16 weeks each child’s skin was regularly examined to record changes, and the results showed that during the trial there was no difference in eczema severity between the groups.
It casts doubt on the claims of some companies who say water softeners can help the condition.
Allergy specialist, Professor Tara Dean, pictured right, said: ‘Up to one fifth of all children of school age have eczema.
‘Public interest in finding solutions is high.’