The benefits of soft water on skin
In a previous article, we showed how soft water can be beneficial to your hair. In this article we discuss something even more precious – your skin! There are a number of reasons why soft water is positively beneficial to your skin, compared with the damaging effects that washing with hard water can have.
The composition of hard water, suffused as it is with calcium and magnesium ions, has adverse effects on any number of items – it leads to build-ups in pipes, causes irons and kettles to scale, leaves a chalky residue on saucepans and clogs up taps and showers. Hard water is also not great when washing your hands with soap, as it can create a type of curd which coats your skin and clogs your pores. The harder the water, the greater this effect.
The soft water process uses resin beads to remove these calcium and magnesium ions. Once the majority of these minerals are removed, the soap lathers more freely which leads to a significant reduction in the clogging of pores, allowing the skin to finally breathe .
But how important is this really?
When the skin is washed with hard water, it becomes coated with an insoluble film. When this happens, the natural oils produced by the body cannot reach the epidermis (otherwise known as the or outer layer of the skin). The skin’s natural antimicrobial function destroys microbes, prevents their development and inhibits pathogenic actions. As pathogens are the micro organisms that spread disease the function of the natural oils in preventing this becomes self-evident.
Dr Shefali Trasi Nerurkar explains that continual use of hard water will lead to a dryness of the skin which in turn can lead to a skin condition known as ‘dry eczema’. If people are already suffering from skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema, continued dryness in the skin can aggravate both conditions.
BBC News reports that there is an ongoing study to examine the effects of soft water on eczema in children. Research centres throughout the UK are looking at the effects on eczema when the child bathes in soft water (for twelve weeks) and without.
Anecdotal evidence from the report so far suggests a positive response:
“Less than two weeks after the softener was installed there was a dramatic improvement. Now there’s barely a mark on him” says Anne-Marie Crawford-Flanagan, from Portsmouth.
This is not to say that hard water is the direct result of the aforementioned skin conditions, it is just that it can cause flare-ups .Remember, one of the most common effects of hard water is that it causes the skin to dry out which in turn leaves it unable to absorb moisture and at the very least, can exacerbate a preexisting condition.
Another factor worthy worthy of consideration is that when the skin dries out it can lead to the skin having a chamois-like appearance. Bluntly, it will make you look old! To help with this, people have to turn to moisturisers and anti-aging creams in ever increasing volumes..Once again, using soft water can reduce this effect as the skin becomes more hydrated, keeping it looking fresh for longer.