If you’ve got a hard water problem, you are probably aware of the soap scum and residue it leaves on dishes, glasses, and your bathtub. You might even have trouble with clogged pipes because your water is too hard. Knowing what it can do to plumbing, fixtures, and dinnerware, have you ever considered what hard water can do to your skin?
To understand the effect hard water has on your skin, you first need to understand what causes water to be considered “hard.”
Hard water is full of dissolved minerals that it collects as it passes through soil. The most common minerals that show up in hard water are magnesium and calcium, but it can also contain other minerals like manganese and iron, as well. These minerals are measured in terms of grains per gallon (GPG), on the following scale:
- 0-1 GPG: Soft water
- 1-7 GPG: Moderately hard water
- 7-10 GPG: Hard water
- Over 10 GPG: Very hard water
If you’ve got hard water, minerals will build up in your plumbing.
This leads to excessive wear and tear on household appliances, soap scum in your tub, and mineral deposits on your showerheads and other fixtures. You might notice that your dishes are spotty, and your laundry is dingy and stiff. But perhaps the worst thing about hard water is the way it changes your shower and affects your skin and hair.
The minerals from hard water react with your soap and shampoo, reducing their ability to work into a lather. You might notice that you have to use more product than usual to feel like it is working. The trouble with that is the hard water doesn’t allow you to completely rinse these products off of your skin. Instead, they’ll leave a residue that clogs your pores and irritates your skin.
The effects of hard water on your skin and hair include:
- Dry skin
- Skin irritation
- Clogged pores and acne
- Irritated scalp and dandruff
- Color treated hair that fades quickly
- Hair that feels filmy, dull, limp, and straw-like
Because the minerals deposited on your skin by hard water will upset its moisture balance, you may try to rectify the problem with moisturizers and lotions. Unfortunately, they’ll react with the minerals just like shampoo and soap do, and they won’t work as effectively. If you live with hard water long enough, you’ll see a long-term impact on your skin and hair. Your hair may begin to thin and break, and this can ultimately lead to hair loss. In addition to feeling dry and itchy, your skin will begin to show signs of premature aging. This is because iron, calcium, and magnesium deposits on your skin will break down its natural collagen, causing it to sag and wrinkle. If you have a skin condition like eczema, you’ll have more flare-ups the longer you have hard water.
Of course, not every skin problem is caused by hard water.
How can you know if that’s what is behind what you’re experiencing? There’s a simple soap bubble test you can use to determine if you have hard water. Fill a transparent bottle with water and add about 10 drops of liquid hand soap. Shake, and look to see if bubbles form. If they don’t, or there are only a few, you probably have hard water. Doublecheck by adding more soap- up to 50 drops. If the number of bubbles doesn’t increase and the water looks cloudy, the water is hard.
If you’re looking for a more scientific way to determine the hardness of your water, that’s easy, too. You can look at your local municipal water supply’s annual water quality report, which will tell you about your water, which minerals it contains, and how many GPG. You can also purchase a water testing kit and test it yourself or contact a water softening company to come out and test it for you.
Once you’ve established that you have hard water, what can you do?
Is soft water the answer? Is it really that much better for your skin and hair? The answer is yes. Installing a whole-home water softener can treat your water as it flows into your home, making sure that when it reaches your appliances and fixtures it’s soft. You won’t have mineral buildup in your plumbing, your appliances will work more effectively, soap scum won’t build up on your show door, and you’ll notice a big difference in your skin and hair.
For a free water analysis and consultation, trust Kinetico Quality Water to test your water and help develop a treatment plan. Kinetico is Phoenix, Arizona’s local source for water treatment, providing the cleanest, greenest, most efficient water systems ever made. We understand the challenges in the Valley of the Sun, and our systems use less water than traditional water softeners. What’s more, we stand behind our products with the most comprehensive warranty coverage in the industry. Call 602. 777. 3547 today or contact us for a free quote because your family deserves the best!