Most of us have gotten used to factoring in how our skin will react to particular products into our skincare knowledge. If one has oily skin, one avoids oil-based products while people with dry skin flock to them. This is a really simple rule but helps to illustrate the point. As our knowledge grows, we learn more about how to properly apply our products in order to minimize fuss and maximize their effectiveness. This isn’t controversial at all. Many of us eventually commit to memory that the temperature of the water we use to rinse, shower, or take a bath in can have a profound effect on our skin’s health too. All these little rules about how our skin reacts to certain things are what help us be good at skincare. They’re also comparatively small things that we might not have otherwise thought about before. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that what’s in the water coming out of your pipes, whether the water is hard or soft, is also playing a role in your skin’s health.
This kind of water is typically regarded as the more benign form of water that you can have coming into your home. It is relatively free of impurities and would seem like the ideal for everything. The truth is that truly soft water tends to taste bad and be lacking in the mineral content our bodies are actually looking for in water. Yes, water does have a taste even if it is subtle and create from trace minerals. Soft water’s effects on the skin tend to be a little less dramatic compared to hard water, but it can still impact the skin. Without that mineral content, our skincare products and soaps can end up being a bit stronger than we might expect. This can lead to situations where our skin begins to get dried out faster than expected. Additionally, it increases the chances of irritation from topical exposure to various products for the same reasons. Contrary to popular belief, we do expect a certain amount of minerals in our water and it is good for our health both internally and externally.
We always hear about the problems that hard water can cause in our water heaters and other areas, but people seldom touch on what it can do to the skin. The excess trace minerals and metals do have an impact on the skin. It can leave traces on the skin as things dry that contribute to helping to accidentally clog pores. Not only that, but the fact that the water is so “full” already can also make the water less able to actually rinse the skin clean of other things as well. It makes it a difficult proposition to fully remove things like makeup and other compounds we’d want off our skin. This also leads to an overall increase in the potential for irritation to our skin since it is harder to properly care for it at that point. When combined with more potential for pore blockages, we’re left in a situation where our skin can be breaking out for no apparent reason when we’re otherwise doing all we can to keep our skin happy and healthy. That’s part of the frustration of it all if how hard your water is changes unexpectedly. There is another problem to consider too.
A Matter of pH
How acidic or basic your water is determined by the mixture of minerals and metals within it. This may not seem terribly important on the surface, but don’t forget that your skin is naturally slightly acidic to help keep itself healthy. All your natural oils, amusingly enough, help to form the so-called “acid mantle” of your skin. Messing with how acidic or basic your skin is throws off its overall pH and that quickly begins to cause problems for the skin since it needs a specific environment to be healthy. Skin that is too acidic or too basic tends to manifest in similar ways. It tends to dry out and become sensitized fairly quickly to give you a clear sign that something is wrong. If the problem isn’t addressed, you can expect to start seeing an increasing number of skin issues as your skin becomes more susceptible to irritation. This can lead to flare-ups of certain chronic skin conditions that in turn need to be dealt with before they cause more problems. Disrupting your skin’s pH level is far from ideal.
Hard and soft water do impact our skin’s overall healthy. They just aren’t as dramatic about it as a product choice or a plant that causes a topical allergic reaction. The effects are subtle and build up to leaving us wondering what is wrong with our skin. Remember that you don’t want perfectly soft water any more than you wanted hard water. There needs to be a balance to help ensure our skin’s overall health. Finding that balance and ensuring it stays there can be another thing to keep in your skincare toolkit.