Can hard water cause acne and eczema
Oily skin is often considered the major culprit behind skin conditions. However, a recent study by King’s College London suggests that hard water may also be a factor. The study found that hard water can cause or exacerbate eczema in young children, as well as affecting adults.
Hard water has a much higher mineral content than soft water, altering its reaction with soap. As part of a feature studying real-life claims, Dr. Nick Lowe explained:
“The more minerals there are in water, the ‘harder’ it is, which makes it difficult for soap and other cleansers to work. There are a number of…minerals which, when used excessively, can be a problem.”
The minerals in the water should help the soap to lather. Unfortunately, hard water instead creates a soapy layer on the skin that, in turn, blocks pores and irritates the skin. If you’re washing with hard water every day, it won’t be long until you begin experiencing dry, itchy, and flaky skin.
Calcium is one of the most highly-concentrated minerals in hard water, which is terrible news if you’re seeking soft skin. Research by Dr Eric Schweiger and the University of Nottingham suggests that calcium causes a loss of moisture in the skin. This in turn leads to dry skin and more severe skin conditions like eczema. Dr. Schweiger says:
“The minerals, such as calcium, that are found in higher concentration may cause loss of moisture in the skin, which can lead to irritating conditions, such as eczema.”
This loss of moisture, combined with clogged pores, will ultimately leave you with red, itchy and blemished skin. For teenagers in particular, this type of affliction is damaging both to appearance and confidence.
Solving the problem
Evidently, hard water damages the skin, but what’s the fix? Installing a water filtration system that filters and softens your water is a good first step. Similarly, you can use water softeners to replace magnesium and calcium ions with sodium or potassium ions, helping to maintain your skin.
If you’d like to be even more cautious, you may want to consider washing your face with bottled water or infusing your water. Rose and lavender water are thought to clear acne, with the added bonus of smelling fragrant. However, a workaday fix is infusing your water with baking soda or salt. Salt helps to balance oil production and kill bacteria, acting as a natural disinfectant. Consequently, your skin will be free of harmful substances that can cause breakouts.
Face cleaning tips
You should cleanse your face twice a day – once in the morning and again before you go to bed – to keep your skin in tip-top condition. However, avoid cleaning your face too often as you’ll wash away essential minerals. If you’re happy with the quality of your water, splash your face with warm water to open the pores before washing your face.
Once you’ve cleansed, splash your face with cold water to close your pores. This helps keep grease and grime out, preventing blemishes. In time you will see an improvement in your skin, and your acne and eczema woes will be a thing of the past.