How Does Hard Water Affect Your Skin and How Do You Stop It?
Perhaps you have noticed that your skin is dry and irritated or that your hair is flat and dull. Unfortunately, hard water can cause these undesired effects. In the United States, about 85% of homes have hard water, so this affects most people. This is why we will inform you what hard water is, how it affects your skin, and how to counteract the effects.
What Is Hard Water?
It may seem a bit abstract when you hear people refer to water as either “hard” or “soft.” Water is water, right? Not exactly. Hard water contains a higher amount of minerals than soft water. Most hard waters contain more than just hydrogen and oxygen, including calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, and aluminum. The most common mineral found in hard water is calcium.
How to Tell if You Have Hard Water
There are a few signs you can look for to determine if your water is hard. Hard water oftentimes results in:
- Rough clothing
- Buildup on faucets, toilets, and showers
- Soap that does not lather properly
- Soap film on the skin
- Dry, irritated skin
- Low water pressure
You can also talk to your water company, who should offer a free test for your water. Some water softening companies also offer free tests. This test measures the milligrams of calcium carbonate per liter of water. This guideline will help you know how hard your water is.
- 0 to 60 mg/L: soft
- 61 to 120 mg/L: moderately hard
- 121 to 180 mg/L: hard
- More than 181 mg/L: very hard
How Does Hard Water Affect Your Skin?
The biggest effect on your skin that comes from hard water is dryness. When the minerals in your water dry on your skin, they can clog pores and cause itching and flaking. These problems can lead to more severe skin problems like acne and eczema.
Why does this happen though? When showering or washing clothes, the calcium in the water prevents soaps and detergents from dissolving properly. This means the products do not completely rinse off, leaving a film of soap on your body and clothes. This essentially means that you could have the best skin care routine, but your hard water prevents your skin from looking hydrated and smooth.
How to Counteract the Effects
The best way to counteract the effect of hard water on your skin is to use softer water. If you cannot install a water softener in your home, consider purchasing a water softening shower head. They cost less and filter out a lot of the minerals in the water.
It is also a good idea to use a gentle cleanser instead of a soap on your skin. Especially with hard water, soap can strip away your body’s natural oils, which results in dryness. A gentle cleanser closer resembles your skin’s pH and keeps things balanced.
You can also help your skin by reducing the heat when you shower. Hot showers will make your skin even drier, but cold water will not properly clean your skin. Lukewarm water is the best to use to keep your skin as hydrated as possible.