How Does Hard Water Affect Your Skin?

on March 29, 2019 water softener health

Is your skin dry, flaky, or itchy? Are you breaking out more often than you should? The cause might not be your skincare regime. It might be your water.

Why is hard water so bad?

hard water is bad for your health

Hard water is high in calcium and magnesium, minerals that are picked up from the soil. About 85 percent of Americans live in an area of the country with some degree of hard water.

The minerals are harmless to human health from a drinking and cooking standpoint, but they can irritate your skin. Why?

The extra calcium and magnesium dry up on your skin after a bath or shower, clogging pores. The ingredients in your shampoo and soap also cannot dissolve as well with these extra minerals present in the water, so you’re left with a film-like residue on your skin that you can’t wash away after showering.

The result: more acne breakouts, flaky scalp, and dry, itchy skin.

How do I know if I have hard water?

hard water causes high bills

Hard water leaves many telltale signs, most of which homeowners do not appreciate.

The Visible Signs
  • Dishes with spots, streaks or a cloudy film on them when they come out of the dishwasher
  • Soap scum in bathtubs or sinks that is extremely hard to remove
  • Chalky deposits on the inside of faucets
  • Brown stains on the inside of toilets
  • Dingy or faded-looking clothes, or clothes that feel scratchy after coming out of the wash
  • Higher than average energy bills
  • Frequent appliance repair issues

If you suspect you have hard water, you may want to pick up a water testing kit from your local hardware store. The hardness of water is measured by how much calcium carbonate there is in milligrams per liter of water.

The Scientific Signs

  • 0 to 60 mg/L – soft
  • 61 to 120 mg/L – moderately hard
  • 121 to 180 mg/L – hard
  • 180 mg/L and up – very hard

How do I keep my skin healthy when I have hard water?

keep your skin healthy

If you do have hard water, there are several options to consider for keeping your skin healthy and strong.

  • Install a whole house water softener. Check out our blog, Are Water Softeners Worth It, to learn more about how your investment in a water softener will pay you back.
  • Install a showerhead with a built-in shower filter
  • Use a good moisturizer after showering
  • Use bottled water for washing your face and hair
  • Choose cleansers labeled “gentle” or “for sensitive skin” as they tend to rinse easier

Another recommendation from dermatologists is to watch the temperature of your water. Lingering in a long, hot shower or bath can strip your skin of its natural, protective oils, no matter what type of water you have.

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