What Hard Water Really Does to Your Skin

When someone suffers from a skin condition, acne, dry skin or even brittle hair they put it down to a lot of things, however, never usually the water coming out of their shower head! 

Not many people understand the difference between hard and soft water. After all, why should we think about it? Water is water, right? Yes, in a sense, all water is the same however hard and soft water both contain a few different things which could be affecting your skin! 

The Difference Between Hard and Soft Water

Water that falls straight from the sky is naturally soft water. Along its journey to our pipes, it picks up minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Although these minerals are essential for us and our bodies they aren't preferred in our water for washing or household chores! 

If you compare what the two types of water contain you'll find hard water has much more in it. Soft water contains sodium whereas hard water contains calcium, magnesium and lime. The contents of the water can alter the reactions to things such as body wash, soaps and laundry detergents. 

Can We Compare Our Skin To Our Washing Up? 

If you have hard water you'll be well aware of the watermarks left on glasses and limescale left in your, well, basically anything that has water in it! Although scientifically there is no link between our skin and our wine glasses you can clearly see what is left behind on the glasses and there is really no difference after we shower! 

Soft water doesn't leave a deposit such as limescale, it forms a lather with detergent whereas hard water doesn't. In theory, soft water is much more gentle on your skin just as it is on our crockery! 

Hard Water On Our Skin

We're well aware everyone has different skin so everyone will react differently to the type of water they have. Generally, people don't see huge effects from hard water and if you haven't moved from somewhere with soft water, you wouldn't notice as there is nothing to compare it too. 

Soft water feels silky on the skin. Many people who shower in soft water have extremely soft, feather-light hair and supple soft skin. If you have ever showered somewhere with soft water after using hard water for the majority of your life you will have seen a huge difference in how your hair and skin feels afterwards. 

Firstly, hard water can leave deposits behind on your skin. The minerals that are found in hard water can dry onto the surface of the skin just like they do on your glasses. The best way to avoid this is drying yourself thoroughly with a towel. Leaving the body to air dry leaves more of a risk of the minerals drying down on the skin. This can cause your skin to become dry and irritable over time. If you already have dry skin this is something you want to be aware of. Making sure you pat yourself dry with a towel all over could help with how dry your skin gets and, of course, following up with a good hydrating moisturiser. You can read more about dry skin and caring for it in our post here!

Hard Water And Eczema

Leading on from above, the minerals in hard water can actually lead to loss of moisture from the skin. There is a link between the use of hard water and eczema. If you already suffer from this skin condition then using hard water could actually be making it worse! It can also cause this skin condition over time. Some people with already sensitive and dry skin can develop the condition from the high concentration of minerals in hard water that rinses your skin of its moisture. 

You can find some tips on managing eczema while using hard water here. 

Hard Water And Acne

Did you know that you are more likely to have acne if you live in an area with hard water? 

The impurities found in hard water dry onto your skin and cling to it. They can actually clog your pores which would mean that the water is comedogenic. Many of us wash our face over the sink at some point in the day. These impurities found in tap water can act as free radicals which will cling on to healthy cells and destroy them. All of this can lead to dry skin, loss of collagen and premature ageing. Make sure you're using a good anti-ageing serum or moisturiser. Our Aloe Retinol Serum and Collagen Retinol Moisturiser work to reduce signs of ageing and help plump out the skin. 

Clogging of the pores will inevitably lead to breakouts which can be hard to get rid of. As it's extremely difficult and expensive to change the type of water you have, your best friend will be your skincare routine! Using a good exfoliator regularly and a purifying mask two to three times a week will help. Our Dead Sea Mud Mask works to remove impurities from the skin and leave your pores cleaner and tighter. 

Is Soft Water Better For Your Skin?

Yes, it is! Soft water is much more gentle on our skin and doesn't hold the impurities hard water does. This means it doesn't clog our pores up or leave any deposit behind after it dries down. Soft water is also much nicer for your hair and can leave it a lot softer after washing for the same reason! It doesn't dry your skin out either which is the main problem with hard water.

Can We Change It?

In short, yes, however, it's extremely expensive to do. Many people will advise you to get a filter for your shower head which will remove some of the minerals from the water. Although this may help a little for some people it isn't a solution as it doesn't change hard water into soft water. To do that, you would need a water softener installed which can be extremely costly. 

There are ways you can manage your skin without changing your water! Keeping a solid skincare routine and ensuring you're using skin loving, gentle ingredients is the first step you would want to take. At Peachy Fox we are all about natural, skin loving ingredients that are gentle but effective on your skin!

Abbie, Peachy Fox Skin Care Writer