Is Hard Water “Hard” on My Skin?

Hard water questionQuestion:  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?

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