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What Hard Water Can Do To Your Skin

Published by Passaic Bergen Water Softening on

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How does your skin feel after you bathe? Does it feel itchy and dry? The water in your home may be affecting your skin, especially if you have hard water. You may notice the effects of hard water on all kinds of cleaning tasks. Clean dishes or glasses may dry spotted. You may be scrubbing a film from your glass shower doors and other bathroom fixtures. Clothes washed in hard water may be dingy or scratchy. You may have low water pressure due to clogged pipes. Still, you wash yourself in this same water every day.

What is hard water?

Hard water is water which has a high mineral content. Minerals such as calcium and magnesium build up during the water cycle. The more calcium and magnesium is dissolved in the water, the harder the water becomes.  The hardness of your water depends on where you live, although it can occur with well water and city water. Various regions have different levels of hard water, based on the source and treatment of the water. Cities and counties within the same state may have different degrees of water hardness.

How does hard water affect my skin?

Skin dryness is a common effect of hard water. The minerals contained in hard water may make it harder for water to work well with soap. Instead of making a nice lather, it can be difficult to rinse the soap from the surface of your skin and may leave a soapy residue, much like the residue you find on your household surfaces and laundry. The residue clogs your pores just like it clogs your pipes. The minerals absorb much of the natural oils and moisture from your skin. The result is dry skin. This may lead to skin breakouts and other skin problems.

For those with sensitive skin, hard water may even cause desquamation, which is the peeling of the surface skin layer. The skin irritations are worse if you have psoriasis, sensitive skin, or eczema. Individuals who have psoriasis are advised to avoid washing with hard water. Exposure to hard water is often considered to be a risk factor for eczema, a medical condition in which patches of skin become irritated, rough and inflamed. Eczema affects 20% of children ages 11 and under and 8% of teenagers and adults. According to Science Daily,  researchers at King’s College London found that babies living in areas with hard water had an increased risk of eczema. Also, another study concluded that school children who lived in areas with hard water were 50% more likely to suffer from eczema.

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Studies on the health effects of hard water have been inconclusive. However, even if hard water is not the cause of serious skin conditions, it may aggravate minor skin problems. By washing with soft water, you will be less likely to end up with clogged pores, an itchy scalp, and dry, prematurely aging skin.

If you think you have hard water, you should start by having your water tested. If your water is hard, you may be able to reduce the effects on your household cleaning by, for example, using fewer soaps and detergents. To protect your skin, however, you should consider a water softening system in your home to reduce the mineral content in your water. There are a variety of types to consider, but whatever you do to reduce the mineral content of your water, your skin will look and feel better.

For information on hard water or other water problems, as well as available treatments, please contact us. We are here to help you will all your water softener and filtration needs.