If you've recently moved and have been experiencing skin problems since, you may have hard water. Here are four skin problems that can be caused or worsened by hard water and how to have water that can help you take better care of your skin.
Hard water can wreak havoc on your skin
Hard water has high levels of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, which can affect your skin. Hard water can also cause you to be unable to rinse away soap and residue, which can also lead to skin problems, including the following:
- Contact dermatitis—This is a condition in which the skin becomes inflamed, red, and itchy from contact with an irritant. The particular irritant that is bothering you can be any one of the minerals in the hard water, or your skin may be irritated by the inability of the hard water to rinse away all traces of soap and shampoo due to the way the minerals in the water react with the cleansing agents. Your skin problem can also stem from the inability of detergents to completely rinse from clothing in your washing machine.
- Acne—Instead of producing a lather, cleansers produce a sticky residue, which also results in the soap scum you likely find in your tub and on your shower walls. This residue remains on the skin instead of getting washed off, which results in clogged pores. The drying alkalinity of hard water can cause an increase in the sebum production under the already clogged pores, which causes the pores to become swollen and develop acne.
- Rosacea—Sensitive skin that is easily irritated can lead to rosacea. This is a skin condition that causes the cheeks to be red and dry. There may be broken blood vessels and pimple-like bumps on the checks. People with this skin condition should avoid harsh and irritating products, which are compounded by hard water. If you think you have developed rosacea, you may need a course of prescription anti-acne medication and antibiotics to regain control of your facial skin.
- Psoriasis—Psoriasis can develop or worsen due to the use of hard water when bathing. Hard water has a drying effect to the skin, which can make it difficult for psoriasis suffers to combat scaly, itchy outbreaks. Psoriasis patches occur when the skin is reproducing much faster than normal. This causes the skin to become flaky. When the skin is dry and irritated, the cell turnover rate of psoriasis can increase and worsen the condition.
Hard water has pH levels that are too alkaline for skin
Water falls in the pH scale of 0-14 (acidic-alkaline). Hard water typically is in the higher pH range, which is considered alkaline. However, healthy skin should naturally be slightly acidic with a pH level of just below 7, which is considered neutral. Your skin needs to be acidic to ward off environmental contaminants and microorganisms. Washing your skin with water that is too alkaline can cause an imbalance, which can cause skin problems.
Water softener systems can improve water quality for your skin
The minerals in hard water can be removed to effectively soften the water and, therefore, reduce the pH level. There are several types of water softener systems to choose from: pitcher, under sink, and whole house. With your main concern being how the hard water has been affecting your skin, you may want to consider getting a whole-house system installed. This type of system is typically installed directly in the plumbing where the water main line enters the house. Speak with a company like Dupage Water Conditioning for more information regarding the installation of this type of system based on the specifics of your home.