Question: I have two questions about hard water 1) Is hard water bad for my skin? and 2) what is hard water?
Answer: LOL. Lets start with a look at hard water in general. The term simply means that the water contains high levels of dissolved minerals including calcium, magnesium and dolomite. The hardness of water depends on its source. Generally water in coastal areas have softer water– meaning lower mineral content while interior regions have hard water. For example, New England, Pacific Northweat, and Hawaii have soft water while Texas, New Mexico, Kansas and Arizona have hard water.
Hard water makes it hard to both lather soaps and shampoos and even harder to rinse them off. This leaves the hair hard to style and the skin irritated. Its such a common problem many to most conditioners are routinely formulated to deal with mineral residue. If you live more than 40 miles inland, it is likely that you hve to deal with hard water. Castile soaps made with olive oil are a lovely natural way to deal with hard water. Detergent based liquid cleansers and body washes do not contain truesoap and work well in both hard and soft water situations.
Hard Water and Your Heath
Hard water has a mixed report card in terms of heath and skin care. There are some studies that suggest the minerals in hard water can actually lower risk of a heart attack. That’s the good news. The bad news?
Water high in minerals can irritate sensitive skin causing redness and flaking. In fact, the incidence of eczema and chronic skin redness is significantly higher in hard water areas. Researchers believe that that the mineral residue irritates the skin. This film can also clog pores and promote breakouts. And there is more bad beauty news with water high in minerals. The ions of calcium and magnesium can form free radicals. Over time, these can breakdown collagen and elastin causing premature lines and wrinkles. Not good.
Winning the Hard Water Wars
If you live in your own home, think about installing a water softening system. Most apartment buildings install these units in their water system. This is not because they care about your beauty problems but they soften water to avoid expensive mineral build up in their plumbing.
If you have hard water in your home or encounter it while traveling, there are two popular DIY tricks to deal with the problem. Many peple swear by a dilute apple cidar rinse for the hair and skin, but it can dry out your hair and leave a sour smell. My favorite technique needs only a can of room temperature club soda. After a shower, pop open the soda and pour over your head and body. Work it into the hair, smooth it on your skin and rinse off with cool water. The sodium in the soda grabs the minerals and the carbonation bubbles it all away. Don’t you just love a simple solution to a complex problem?