When we experience skin irritations like acne and breakouts, we tend to rack our brains for the possible cause. We usually consider things like diet, stress, hormones, and other common factors. Heck, we even try changing our skin products, alter our eating habits, and visit different doctors, yet nothing adds up. But without the slightest clue, we continue to wash our skin with the same thing that could be the root cause of our frustration – our tap water.
Water is essential for keeping our skin healthy and making it look youthful, well moisturized, and smooth. But there are some murmurings that H2O could be causing some of our most annoying skin problems. Well, considering the excessive mineral and heavy-metal content in some ordinary tap water, there’s no doubt that our tap water could be contributing to our uncomfortable skin issues.
Minerals come with their own unique set of problems. Some of them can alter the oil chemistry in your skin and make your natural oils less effective. Without these natural oils lubricating your skin, you might end up with dry, flaky skin, and a complexion that is more susceptible to eczema, rosacea, and redness. More on this later.
For now, let’s dive deep into the specific impurities in tap water that can lead to a host of skin complications once ingested, and what you can do about them.
Over 85 percent of homes in the U.S. have ‘hard’ water. Yes, you heard right. And in case you’re wondering what hard water is, it’s water that contains high levels of minerals such as magnesium and calcium. The problem with hard water is that its high mineral content can dehydrate the skin and disrupt the skin’s protective barrier. Consequently, the skin becomes more vulnerable to other complications.
The presence of limescale is usually a good sign that you have hard water in your home. If you notice any white, chalky mineral build-up around your faucets, scummy residue on your tub and showerheads, or tiny spots all over your shower door, you’ve got hard water. When you shower or wash your face with hard water, the nasty scum you see on your bathroom fixtures remain on your skin. Worse, when that scum combines with your skincare products, it clogs your pores. The clogged pores then increase the production of sebum, which becomes hard and waxy, leading to acne breakouts, pimples, eczema, rashes, blemishes, itching, and other skin irritations.
Hard water also contains minerals and metals that can be harsh on your skin and make it harder to rinse off your soaps and skincare products properly. This residue also leaves your skin feeling dry and sticky. Naturally, the high mineral content in hard water prevents even the most expensive beauty products from working effectively. It can also alter the pH of your skin, which can lead to an imbalance complexion. An imbalance complexion makes the skin vulnerable to bacteria, fungus, and other foreign invaders, as well as aggressive breakouts.
Chlorine and Chloramine
Chlorine is a highly toxic chemical that helps to disinfect public water systems. The chemical element kills pathogens and prevents the spread of waterborne illnesses. While there are several excellent benefits of chlorine, excessive exposure to the chemical can cause skin irritations and aggravate conditions like rosacea and eczema and cause dry, flaky, and itchy skin.
Because chlorine evaporates naturally over time, most water systems are now using chloramines (chemical compounds of chlorine and ammonia) to disinfect water. As opposed to chlorine, chloramines last longer and require specialized filtration systems to extract them from water. The problem here is that even though the use of safe amounts of chloramine is allowed in public water systems, there are no studies that confirm that it is indeed safe. Many reports suggest that chloramines can weaken the immune system, which can lead to scaling and flaking of the skin, rashes, and other skin problems. Since chlorine is known to cause skin irritations, it’s only fair to assume that chloramines might pose a more significant threat to the skin.
If your water comes from a private or public well, runoff from the pesticides used in farming and agriculture can be a massive problem. Well, that’s if you live in certain areas. The pesticides can seep into water wells and infect the water. Even though some regulatory bodies require incremental testing of public water systems to ensure that they meet specific safety standards, there are still levels of these pesticides that are legally permitted and deemed as safe levels.
Sadly, these pesticides and other unwanted elements can bio-accumulate. That means that prolonged exposure to them can cause build-up in our bodies when they are absorbed through our pores and into our bodies. Studies show that these pesticides can affect the endocrine and immune systems, which are responsible for controlling hormone levels, as well as our body’s natural ability to ward off illnesses. Once our hormone levels get disrupted, the skin may break out.
What can you do to save your skin?
Investing in a quality whole house water softener can help minimize the hard water damage to your skin. A water softener is a system that filters out hardness-causing minerals from your tap water. Depending on whether the softener is salt-based or salt-free, it can use either use ion exchange or a physical process known as Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC) to soften the water. You’ll want to learn about the specific differences between the two variations beforehand, so you can comfortably choose the one that will work best for you. But overall, a whole house water softener can be a great way to eliminate hardness from water and improve sensitive, acne-prone skin.
As for chlorine, chloramine, and pesticides, a premium whole-house carbon water filtration system is ideal. These water filtration systems can help filter out dangerous contaminants from water before it reaches your tap. These pollutants include chlorine, chloramine, PFOA, PFAS, PFOS, herbicides, pesticides, sulfur, haloacetic acids, MTBE, TTHM, and more. Springwell’s whole house filters, in particular, are easy to install and require low maintenance. Besides, if you also have a hard water problem, you can install the Springwell Combo System for softer and healthier hair and skin, and cleaner and better-tasting food and water. Also, the combo system gives you the best of two worlds for the price of one.
By installing any of the systems above in your home, every tap will run clean, safe water, and your skin will finally get a chance to recover from the constant onslaught of clogging, drying, and chemical contaminants.
The Wrap Up!
Contaminated tap water is one of the biggest culprits behind our skin complications. However, when we start experiencing an acne breakout or severe dryness and itching, we are quick to blame our diet, our skin products, or even our laundry detergents for our misery. Thankfully, today we have one more factor to consider, as well as a host of possible solutions.