Although a high degree of water hardness is associated with an increase in minerals such as calcium and magnesium, which are generally considered beneficial to health, there are times when using hard water can cause real damage to the body. This is especially true for people with allergies and skin conditions.
In writing this article, we were inspired by a recent feedback we received in a chat room.
The woman who sent that message described her situation of moving to a new location. The new place turned out to be problematic in terms of well water quality. Allergic skin problems worsened with each bath. Despite using balms, her skin was red and itchy. She read in an article that hard water might be the cause. She wrote to us to verify this information and possible tips on how to solve the hard water problem.
Allergies and atopic dermatitis - one of the causes is hard water
Unfortunately, studies show that hard water has the effect of deepening inflammation of the skin, especially if it is sensitive and prone to allergies.
When bathing or even washing your hands or face, water rich in calcium and magnesium compounds destroys the fatty protective layer of the epidermis.
Hard water requires the use of more soap and other cosmetic cleansers. They do not foam well because of the high surface tension and this makes the skin cleaner even more. Thus, our skin comes into even more contact with phosphates. The same problem occurs when washing clothes.
Read also: How does your skin react to poor-quality water?
When bathing or washing your face, hard water prevents all kinds of impurities that accumulate on your face throughout the day from washing away. Elements from the water can remain on the skin, clogging the pores.
For the above reasons, using hard water can lead to dry skin, redness and irritating itching. Water high in calcium and magnesium is often the cause of irritation, and also increases the symptoms of conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. It turns out that some substances in water that remain on the skin can act as free radicals - they affect the breakdown of collagen and accelerate the aging process.
For some people, hard water can even cause acne. Minerals and impurities in hard water can affect not only the natural sebum, but also the cosmetics that we use for care. All solid compounds can cause changes in sebum, which consequently clogs the pores and this is the direct cause of acne.
Infants and adults with atopic dermatitis
Studies have shown that more children with skin eczema problems have been seen in areas with hard water.
Our skin has a special protective barrier that protects us from sunlight or dangerous bacteria. It is because of this barrier that our skin does not feel the negative effects of the chemicals that surround us on a daily basis. Without this barrier, we would almost always be exposed to allergic reactions and irritation. It has been proven that hard water and the compounds it contains destroy the skin's protective layer.
Another problem is that hard water usually has an alkaline pH and our skin has an acidic pH. Longer contact with hard water increases the skin's pH, which in turn leads to a decrease in protective functions.
In addition, it has been noted that people who are more likely to experience eczema are more likely to suffer the effects of hard water.
Another group that is particularly susceptible to the negative effects of hard water are children with atopic dermatitis (AD). If they live in areas with hard water, their risk of developing this condition increases by up to 87%.
Allergic to water?
Although it may seem unbelievable to some people, there are people who feel an allergic reaction while swimming. They often claim that it is a water allergy. In fact, it often turns out that it is not an allergy to the liquid, but to the compounds that are in it (including chlorine and fluoride). Only about 30 people worldwide are allergic to water (even distilled water).
Water allergies carry many unpleasant skin reactions. Sometimes they are just small, red pimples, other times they can be large blackheads. The skin is usually very dry, and it is accompanied by itching or burning. The higher the water temperature, the faster the first symptoms appear.
Proven ways to relieve symptoms
Appropriate skin care
For such serious skin problems, it is better to use glycerin soaps with the addition of vegetable oils or moisturizing cream. The same applies to liquids used for bathing and face washing. They should be very delicate with an acidic pH. It is better to use chamomile tinctures instead of plain bath water. It is better not to take long baths where the water temperature exceeds 37 ℃. A body lotion should be applied immediately after the bath.
In addition, all cosmetics and even laundry detergent should be friendly and suitable for allergy sufferers.
In the case of atopic dermatitis in young children should be treated with special care. It is necessary to properly care for the skin, constantly moisturize it, avoid bathing in hard water.
Shower water filter
A shower water filter is often the recommended solution for very hard water in the bathroom. This device is attached to the water inlet of the building. You can buy a shower water filter in a compact size that won't take up much space in the bathroom. The ion-exchange resin they contain stops all the ions responsible for the hardness of the water. Thanks to this, the user finally gets very soft water, which can be used not only for bathing, but also for laundry and other household needs.
Charcoal shower filter
In the case of fairly serious allergies and skin eczemas caused by, among other things, the chlorine in the water. The experts suggest a charcoal shower filter. Activated charcoal from coconut shells, placed in the filter, perfectly fights toxic organic compounds, chlorine and some heavy metals.
Skin problems don't have to be so intrusive
Allergies and skin diseases are some of the most difficult to treat and bring great discomfort to the individual. Often for those who suffer from these ailments, one of the worst rituals is bathing, which further aggravates the bad skin condition. Fortunately, if hard water is the cause, it is a phenomenon that can be easily remedied.
By deciding to install a shower filter or charcoal shower filter, you can not only improve the condition of your skin, but also your hair. In addition, soft water protects appliances from malfunctions and heating costs are reduced.