Hard vs Soft Water for Your Skin

Hard vs Soft Water for Your Skin
by Kali Kushner


Up until recently I never thought twice about the water I’m using to wash my face. Cleansers? Sure. Creams, toners, spot treatments, even facial cleansing brushes? Of course! As a product junkie, and an avid skincare enthusiast I’m always thinking about what I’m putting on my face- that’s why it hit me like a ton of bricks when I recently went on vacation and my skin cleared up. It wasn’t the sun or lack of stress that cleared my skin up and I didn’t change any of my skincare products- no, I can firmly say that I have reason to believe it was the quality of water I was using.


I’ve never experienced the softness (and honestly somewhat slimeyness) of softwater as every apartment, house, and condo I’ve lived in has always carried hard water. That might be why I never noticed it, it’s something I had never experienced, so I had no reason to think twice about the quality of water I was using. That’s at least until recently when I went on vacation and noticed in about a week, every single spot disappeared and my skin had a nice even glow to it.


It really got me thinking, could the quality of water we are using effect the quality of our skin? It seemed to make sense so I started digging deeper, some people swear by hard water, soft water, and others use purified bottled water! Although it seemed soft water worked best for me, could it be possible that hard water works better for some or even purified? Just like skincare, perhaps even the quality of water we use on our skin isn’t a one size fits all, that being said I want to examine the pros and cons of hard water vs soft water when it comes to the treatment of acne and other skin conditions.



is hard water hard on your skin?



How does your skin feel when you get out of the shower? If it feels squeaky clean, dry, and itchy (mine sure does as I have to slather on lotion immediately), you probably have hard water that is stripping away essential oils that your skin needs. Hard water doesn’t necessarily create skin ailments like acne or eczema but it can aggravate them further, making conditions worse.


Hard water typically contains minerals like calcium and magnesium, overtime these minerals can leave a buildup of residue on your face, making it hard for soap and water to form an effective sudsy solution. This same residue that clogs your pipes can create a layer of impurities on your skin, and clog your pores the same way! Not only can this soap scum clog your pores, but it can also make skin feel dry, itchy, and irritated worsening acne and eczema.


In short, yes hard water is hard on your skin while soft water is gentler on your skin.


It’s easy to tell if you have hard water, you either have a water softener or you don’t! Don’t worry if you do have hard water keep reading- there’s an easy solution.



can soft water clear acne and help eczema?



It’s no surprise- soft water is considered better for cleaning, that applies to your dishes, laundry, and of course, your skin! Soft water makes it easier to create a lather, and easier to rinse the soap away. This means with soft water you’ll actually be able to use less shampoo, body wash, and face wash to get a deeper clean. Actually, with soft water you may not even need an expensive body wash after all.  


There’s a huge misconception that hard water gives a better clean since you get the squeaky feeling, but that’s actually the sticky soap scum on your skin. Soft water leaves a sort of slimy feeling, which is actually how your skin is supposed to feel. These are the natural oils left on your skin, which serve the important purpose of keeping your skin hydrated and protecting the skin barrier.



so.. should you get a water softener?



The good news is that getting a water softener is super easy these days! There’s actually handheld shower heads with built in water softeners these days so you don’t have to install a super expensive one house wide (unless you really want too). There are a few examples for under $100 here, here, and here.


While hard water may not be the cause of acne or eczema, it can definitely worsen skin conditions. By using soft water, you are less likely to clog your pores and dry out your skin, and, you’re more likely to be on the track to calm, clear skin!


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