Can Hard Water Damage Your Skin?

Did you know that nearly 85% of homes in the United States have tap water that’s considered “hard water?” Hard water has a high mineral content, usually calcium or magnesium carbonates. While it’s typically safe to drink, hard water can lead to other issues like tub stains and high water bills. It can also impact your skin health!

How Does Hard Water Affect Skin Health?

The most prevalent effect is dryness and irritation. Hard water can’t dissolve soaps (both on the skin and in laundry). Unrinsed soap draws out your skin’s oils, leaving it dry, flaky, and itchy. The extra minerals in hard water can also clog pores, leading to acne breakouts. If you have psoriasis, eczema, or any other chronic skin condition, hard water can also exacerbate that.

How Can you Test for Hard Water?

Hard water manifests differently depending on how built up the calcium or magnesium is. Some typical hard water signs include:

  • Stains building up along faucet, sinks, and tubs
  • Low water-pressure throughout the house
  • Chalky spots on dried dishes
  • Dull or rough-feeling clothes after washing
  • Dry skin and flaky hair

If you’re dealing with any of the above and suspect you have hard water, you can have your water tested. Morton Salt offers free testing kits online here.

Can I neutralize hard water?

There are many ways to counter hard water’s effects. The best solution is unfortunately the most expensive: installing a water softening system. Water softeners remove calcium and iron ions, replacing them with sodium ions. A cheaper, similar option is a water-softening shower head which can help filter out minerals while you shower.

Using gentler soaps can also counter hard water’s effects. For your body, it will rinse more easily and not dry you out and for the laundry, it will leave your clothes more refreshed. Switching water temperature will also have similar effects. Long hot showers naturally dry out your skin even if you’re using “soft water.” Finally, and we recommend this a lot, but you should moisturize daily. This hydrates and creates a protective barrier that helps your skin stay moisturized all day.

Dealing with fallout from hard water, or any other skin, nail, or hair issue? Give us a call today! Dr. Juan Vaillant has over 30 years of experience to help assess and treat any skin, nail, or hair problem that you are experiencing. To schedule an appointment at our convenient Old Bridge, NJ office, call us today at 732-679-0222.