The Effects of Hard Water on Your Skin
If you are suffering from dry skin, it is likely that you have already tried every lotion, moisturizer and cream on the market. Regardless of which product you are using and how frequently you use it, you are likely to find that the condition persists. However, this is not something you have to just live with, as it is very possible that a simple environmental factor may be the underlying cause. Hard water is a very common issue and it could be that the water you use to wash your dishes, linens and clothes, bathe in and even drink is a major contributor to the problem.
Neutral water is measured at 7 on the pH scale, which is very close to the 7.3 natural pH of the human body. On the other hand, hard water has a high alkalinity, with high levels of magnesium, calcium or iron ions. Hard water can make it difficult for substances such as soaps or detergents to properly dissolve into the water and function. This can mean difficulty lathering or problems rinsing out any residues. Additionally, hard water can allow minerals deposits to accumulate in pipe work and plumbing. This can cause clogs and damage. While these effects of hard water can be problematic, the effect on your skin can be less obvious and just as detrimental.
Hard Water and Your Skin:
The minerals in hard water can leave a surface residue on clothing, plumbing fixtures and your skin and hair. This can lead to skin irritations where the pores become clogged, but the hard water can also mean that shampoos, soaps and other cleansing products do not effectively lather up, prompting increased use. This leads to increased residue on the skin, which can further clog the skin pores and cause dry, itchy and flaky skin, and can be especially problematic for sensitive areas such as the face, where the skin may feel particularly reddened and irritated. You may also find that the irritated skin is further inflamed by chafing and rubbing of clothing washed in hard water which feels rougher on the skin. Of course, if you already have a pre-existing skin condition such as dermatitis or eczema, hard water can be even more detrimental. While the hard water itself, will not cause the skin condition, it could initiate a flare-up or irritate an existing one. These effects are particularly obvious with people who frequently wash their hands such as laborers, who may find that the combination of soaps and hard water cause dry, irritated and reddened skin.
Remedies to Correct Hard Water:
The best way to remedy hard water is to soften it. This process involves removing these mineral ions from the water. Most domestic water softening appliances use ion exchange methods to achieve this effect. These devices exchange the calcium or magnesium ions which are causing the hardness for sodium ions. Softening the water allows for soaps and detergents to be efficiently rinsed from clothing and skin. This can reduce the risk of pores becoming clogged, allowing moisture to be properly absorbed by the skin, keeping it healthy and soft.
About The Author:
Greg Scott is President of Valparaiso based Miracle/EcoWater Systems, the premier water conditioning company in Northwest Indiana serving the Lake, Porter and LaPorte County areas. A 3rd generation water treatment professional, Greg grew up in the family owned business started by his grandfather in the late fifties. He has made water treatment his life and under his direction and high-standards, the company’s water treatment experience, knowledge, and products are unrivaled in region.