Did You Know Hard Water Can Affect Your Skin?

Hard water on this side of Ireland is high and I have seen how this affects your skin first hand with clients over the years. Have you ever noticed when you are on holiday your skin problems are getting better or not as dry? This could actually be the case due to the differing ‘hardness’ of the water. Water may contain more or less minerals in different places such as magnesium and calcium which in turn can clog your pores and leave your skin feeling dry. You can check your hard water reading for where you live on Uisce Éireann (formerly Irish Water)

What is ‘Hard’ Water?

The ‘hardness’ of water is essentially defined as how many dissolved minerals such as calcium and magnesium it contains. More of these means that the water is considered to be harder.

If you live in an area where the water has to pass through porous rock such as limestone and chalk to get to your tap, then it’s more likely to contain these minerals and you may even be able to notice it if you see a film-like residue when your water reacts with soap.

How Does Water Hardness Affect Our Skin?

While hard water is actually considered to be healthier to drink, it can have adverse effects on our skin. In the short term, hard water can leave your skin feeling dry, flaky and itchy and could also lead to breakouts of acne and eczema and it can also affect your hair too, giving it a dull appearance and itchy scalp. It is observed that over 60% of households in hard water areas were affected directly by eczema. It also clogs pores, due to the way calcium makes excreted oil thicker and more wax-like than its usual flowing liquid state. Causing Spots and blackheads. Dry, red, scaly skin due to irritation often caused by calcium. Inflamed, ‘angry’ skin caused by heavy metals found in hard water, such as copper, iron, magnesium, and zinc. These are free radicals all good skin care strives to fight.

How to Protect Your Skin from Hard Water?

The best way to protect yourself from the adverse effects of hard water is to install a water softener, a device which ‘softens’ the water, making it easier to rinse off soap and prevent the harmful residue.

I advise you to put distilled water into a bottle and use it to rinse your face every time you wash. While this won’t neutralise the heavy metals and minerals, it will at least help rinse them off more effectively. Another option would to do a water free cleanse using the Ultraceuticals Micellar B2 water and reusable pads (as the cotton ones are full of bleach another blog post on that) Using thicker moisturisers and oils are also beneficial to keep moisture levels up my favourite oil is the Seba E and herb and mineral mist from DMK and the Ultraceuticals rich moisturiser is a lovely balm like texture. I have found a huge difference in the tightness in my skin from these small changes.

Over a prolonged period of time, hard water can also form ‘free radicals’ which break down your skin’s collagen, causing the skin to sag and form fine lines and wrinkles, making you look older. Nobody wants this so take the time to make a few small adjustments in your skin routine to help protect your skin and look into ways of softening your water system. Your skin will love you for it.

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