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Does your skin feel soft and tender when you get out of the shower? Or your skin feels dry and itchy.
Here’s the deal.
Your skin is highly affected by the quality of water you use to shower. It’s either you have hard water or soft water coming out of your showers and taps. In this post, we compare hard water vs soft water and look at how each affects your skin when you shower in it.
Hard Water vs Soft Water
Let’s dive right in…
Hard water is rich in calcium and magnesium while soft water doesn’t have a high amount of these minerals.
Effect of hard water on the skin
- Because Soaps don’t lather easily in hard water, they form a scud when they come into contact with each other. The soap scud accumulates on the skin and clogs the small pores on the surface of the skin. This aggravates skin conditions such as acne and eczema.
- Hard water destroys the skin’s external layer which protects your skin from external threats such as bacterias and the sun. This is because the skin’s external membrane is made up of an oily layer that is corroded by hard water.
- Showering with hard water will also make your skin look old because it removes the outer oily layer which gives the skin its texture and moisture. This causes the skin to look old and wrinkled.
- In the worst-case scenario, hard water can trigger a chemical reaction which can lead to the breakdown of collagen and cause skin disease. This is because hard water contains contaminants such as iron and magnesium which can become free radicals.
Now that we have looked at the negative effects of hard water let’s dive in and look at the advantages of using soft water.
Benefits of Soft Water on the skin
The skin has three main parts. The first is the deeper part which is made of fats and other tissues. It’s called the hypodermis.
The second layer is the demis which is the middle part above the fats; it contains the sweat glands and hair follicles. The upper protective layer is called the epidermis. The epidermis outer layer is coated with an oily layer that protects the skin from external elements such as bacterias and Sunburns.
Healthy looking skin
Soap lathers easily with soft water which makes cleaning easy. Unlike in hard water, soft water doesn’t form a scud. Therefore, you will step out of the bathroom with your skin feeling fresh.
Soft water reduces acne and eczema
Research has shown that people who live in areas with soft water are less likely to suffer from eczema. This is because soft water lathers easily which makes it easy to rinse off the soap and you’re not let with pore-blocking scud. The skin is able to easily secrete sweat and salts through the pores. Skin diseases such as acne and eczema are aggravated when the skin is not able to discharge waste properly.
Soft water is gentle on your skin.
Hard water has high levels of magnesium and iron which are corrosive to the skin. Soft water, on the other hand, is not hard on the skin. Exposing the skin to hard water kills the external barrier. This will leave your skin exposed to bacterias and sunburns.
Healthy looking hair
Just like the skin, your hair is covered with an external oily layer which makes it smooth and soft. Because of the corrosive nature of hard water, it strips away this protective layer which leaves the hair dry and prone to breakage.
Should You Install a Water Softener?
Most water utility companies in the USA seek to provide water that is not very hard, but in some places, the water available is very hard and people need to install water softeners.
What are the signs that you need to install a water softener?
- The first sign that you have hard water is when you find your sinks and toilet bowls are full of stains.
- Second, your clothes don’t look clean and look faded when you wash them with hard water.
- Thirdly, your skin feels dry and itchy after taking a shower, and your water bill goes very high because you use lots of water to clean.
Installing a water softening system solves the problem of hard water by removing the excess calcium and magnesium from water through a process of ion exchange.
The decision to install a water softener or not will depend on the level of water hardness. You will need to install a water softener if you have hardness levels of more than 7 grains per gallons.
Hardness above this level will not only damage your skin but also shorten the life of appliances such as water heaters and washing machines.
To know the level of hardness in your water, you should contact the city water department. If you use well water, you need to get the water tested in the lab.
Advantages of installing a water softener.
- Softening water prevents the build-up of limescale inside the pipes which leads to clogged pipes and faucets.
- Increases the life of water appliances such as water heaters
- Prevent the staining of sinks, toilets, and glassware.
- Reduces the formation of soap curd which accumulates on the sinks and skin.
Disadvantages of installing a water softener
- a water softener can cause low water pressure in the whole-house because it is installed at the start of the plumbing system.
- Soft water is unhealthy to drink because it has a high level of sodium.
- Negative effect on the environment because of brine discharge
- Wastage of water when the softener is regenerating.
How can I reverse the effects of hard water on my hair?
As we have previously seen hard water is very hard on the skin and hair. While it’s easy to deal with the effects of hard water on the skin because the skin regenerates itself after a period of time. It’s not the case with the hair and you have to take some action to reverse the effects.
The minerals that are in hard water, calcium & magnesium, affect your hair. They also reduce the effectiveness of hair products such as shampoos and hair gel. After taking care of the hard water, you’ll need to reverse the effects on the hair. Here are simple solutions you can apply.
- Rinse with lemon juice to clear dullness created by lime buildup
- Use Clarifying shampoo
- Apply apple cider vinegar
Water Hardness Levels in The United States
According to the EPA, In the USA, 85% of water is hard water. Rainwater doesn’t contain any minerals dissolved in it. However, when it reaches the ground, it mixes with limestone to become hard. The water finds its way into rivers and groundwater which is then used in homes.
Hard water is very damaging to your skin and can even aggravate skin conditions such as acne and eczema. If you live in a place that has a high level of hard water, you should consider installing a water softener. Some of the benefits of using soft water over hard water are that soap lathers easily in soft water, and soft water makes your skin look healthy and smooth. Most water utility departments try to provide water that is not very hard but If you leave in hard-water areas, you’ll need to install water softeners.