Hard Water vs. Soft Water – The Effects on Your Skin
How does your skin feel when you step out of the shower? Would you call it silky smooth or squeaky clean?
Do you feel dry and itchy after bathing? Do you have to lotion up every day to avoid itchiness and skin irritation?
The water in your home can have significant effects on the condition of your skin, and it may all come down to whether you have hard water or soft water.
What Hard Water Can Do to Your Skin
Hard water contains dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium. Those minerals make it harder for water to form a solution with soap, and it leaves behind a scummy residue.
If you have hard water in your home, you’ll notice that white soap scum all over your bathroom fixtures. Hard water can also clog up your plumbing and your shower head, reducing pressure.
But what you may not realize is that same soap scum builds up on your skin. Instead of getting a nice lather, you’re leaving behind a residue that clogs your pores the same way it clogs your pipes. Clogged pores can lead to breakouts and worsen skin conditions like acne or eczema.
The natural oils your body produces are distributed through the pores of your skin. When those pores are clogged, the oil gets trapped and blemishes like pimples and zits form.
Not only can soap scum from hard water clog your pores, many people find it also causes them to feel dry, itchy, and irritated. The minerals in hard water can actually strip moisture from your skin while preventing the natural oils your body produces from doing their job, which is to lubricate your skin and hold in moisture.
Hard water may also be making your skin age faster. That means it could cause you to look older than you really are!
Dermatologist, Dr. Dennis Gross, told YouBeauty.com that many of the impurities in hard water, like iron and magnesium, can form free radicals that damage healthy skin cells. That can lead to fine lines and wrinkles. Free radical damage can even cause a breakdown of collagen, which is a structural protein that helps your skin look and feel firm and healthy.
If you are experiencing the negative effects of hard water; don’t worry – there’s a solution.
Why Soft Water is Better for Maintaining Healthy-looking Skin
One of the biggest advantages to having a water softener installed in our home is the fact that soft water is better for cleaning. That goes for your clothes and dishes as well as your skin.
Soft water makes it easier to form a sudsy lather, and it makes it easier to rinse the soap away. That means your soap works more efficiently and you aren’t left with that pore-clogging soap scum residue all over your body.
Because of the fact you don’t get a good lather with hard water, you’ll find yourself using more soap to get clean, which only exacerbates the problem more. But with soft water, you will be able to use less soap product to get clean. In fact, after installing a water softener, you may not need to purchase the expensive body wash and lotion you thought you needed.
It’s really quite simple to understand…
Hard water is hard on your skin. Soft water is gentler on your skin. Hard water makes it difficult to get completely clean. Soft water is better for getting your body completely clean.
Squeaky Clean vs. Your Natural Sheen
Some people get used to the feeling of washing their bodies in hard water. They incorrectly assume that the “squeaky clean feeling” we get after showering means the soap did its job.
However, what you’re really experiencing is the sticky soap scum all over you – not to mention dead skin and dirt that didn’t get washed away.
On the other hand, when some people first have a water softener installed in their home, they notice a slick or slippery feeling to their skin. It’s easy to assume you are not getting completely clean and blame it on the soft water, but that’s not the case.
The slippery feeling is how your clean skin is actually supposed to feel. Since the natural oils from your own body haven’t been stripped from your skin, it feels different. Don’t forget, those natural oils serve an important purpose.
The truth is, the idea of “squeaky clean skin” is more of a marketing tactic than anything else. That squeak comes from mineral deposits and soap scum.
Water Quality and Skin Conditions
Softening your water is not a cure for any sort of skin disease or chronic condition. However, it can be a helpful step towards avoiding irritation and improving certain health problems.
There has been a significant amount of research examining how hard water may impact the common skin condition, eczema. This is something that experts say affects 20% of kids 11 and under, as well as 8% of teenagers and adults.
One study that took place in the U.K. found schoolchildren who lived in areas with hard water were 50% more likely to suffer from eczema. Other agencies have identified hard water as an environmental trigger for eczema.
Hard water may not be the cause of skin conditions, but there is a lot of evidence indicating it can aggravate things further. With soft water, you’ll be less likely to clog your pores and dry out your skin, you won’t be as itchy and irritated, and you’ll be more likely to have the beautiful, clear skin you want.
So Should You Get a Water Softener?
Skin and hair issues may not be the only problem hard water is causing you and your family. Check out our article on 8 Major Hard Water Problems for even more signs. And see how hard water affects your appliances.
If you’re sick and tired of dealing with hard water in your home, a water softener is the most effective and most permanent solution to hard water challenges. Water-Right makes some of the most innovative residential water treatment products on the market.