Hard Water Dermatitis
If you suffer from dry skin, you have probably tried nearly every cream, lotion, and moisturizer available. Perhaps you have even resolved that this is something you’re going to have to live with. However, you most likely haven’t given much thought to the fact that your water may be the cause.
What Is Hard Water?
Hard water is a common type of water that contains high levels of magnesium and calcium. Water is a universal solvent, and collects these minerals as makes it’s way to your home. Your local municipal water treatment facility also adds chlorines and chloramines to ensure the water is free from bacteria when it gets to your home. When water is hard, it is difficult for detergents and soap to combine with water.
Signs of hard water include:
- deposits in your showers and faucets
- scum rings in your bathtub
- white residue in your dishwasher
- spots on dishes, glassware and cutlery
You’ll also notice it takes more soap to lather up, and more water to rinse off.
Your Skin and Hard Water
Bathing and washing clothes in this combination of minerals and chlorine can aggravate your skin condition and can also lead to increased skin irritation making it dry and flaky. Residue of the hard water and cleaning products may be left on the skin, which can clog pores as well as cause irritation. And it can affect laundry as well, leaving detergent residue in clothing and linens, which may lead to chafing and further skin irritation.
Hard water can be especially irritating to those who already suffer from a skin condition like dermatitis. Dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin, and outbreaks are more common when one suffers from persistently dry skin. While hard water itself doesn’t cause dermatitis, it can irritate the condition or even initiate a flare-up. One of the most common effects of hard water is its ability to dry out the skin and leave it unable to absorb moisture. The combination of hard water with a co-existing dermatitis condition can lead to more frequent and severe outbreaks.
Finding Relief With Soft Water
The best remedy for hard water is to make it softer. Soft water is water in its purest form—minus the mineral ions. Without the minerals, soft water rinses the soaps and detergents from your body and clothes much more efficiently. And leaves your pores unclogged, allowing the natural oils of your skin to be released, for softer, healthier skin.
If you suspect or know that your household has hard water, your remedy may be as simple as a professionally installed water softener, refiner or conditioner. You will use less soap products and decrease soapy residue as well as get rid of the chlorine the city adds to the water.
Doing so will allow your skin to absorb more moisture. The more you protect against dry skin, the less vulnerable you will be to severe dermatitis outbreaks being triggered or further irritated by associated dry skin conditions.
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