“Something extraordinary happens when you go on holiday. Your hair is the most lustrous it's ever been, and seems stronger and more resilient. Your skin is somehow softer, without needing to be duly massaged with lotion. Your complexion? Positively glowing.”

“The UK is home to some exceptionally hard water, with cities like London, Newcastle and Oxford among the worst afflicted. Aside from leaving something resembling tectonic plates atop your cup of tea, limescale and hard water can play havoc with your skin and hair.”

“Taking one's make-up off after a long day - especially when aided by a thick balm cleanser - is surely one of the most gratifying feelings ever. However, when the water is so irritating, you may come away from the sink feeling more sore than supple. "When water contains high amounts of calcium, it doesn’t properly dissolve soap, meaning that there can be some residue left on the skin. This can contribute to sensitive, irritable and blemish-prone skin," explained Dr Bunting.” 

"Per the NCBI, hard water can have various health-related side effects, but one you may be quick to notice is how it impacts your mane. Have you ever traveled somewhere and noticed that your hair looks different than normal after showering? That could be because the water is either harder or softer than what you’re used to. The truth is, the hardness of the water in your shower can make a pretty big difference in your hair. With that said…

If you have hard water, we hate to tell you this, but the answer is yes [hard water does damage your hair]. According to an NCBI study, hard water decreases hair strength and increases hair breakage. This was found when comparing hair treated with hard water to hair treated with deionized water."


"Swapping out your shower head is a relatively easy home improvement task, and it could make a difference in how your hair looks and feels. A shower head filter meant for hard water can be used to help remove some of the minerals in the water to improve its quality. Just remember, these filters are meant to be changed regularly!"

“The same metals and chemicals that lend to limescale are the same agents that we’re leaving on our skin when we bathe leading to breakouts, clogged pores, blackheads and red patches, whereas the metal in the water will weaken our skin’s barrier function, which can cause irritation, acne, rosacea, eczema, as well as hyperpigmentation. Low levels of poisons in the water will damage our skin microbiome (our pre- and probiotic levels) which shows up as dry, dehydrated, dull skin that’s still oily yet flaky.”

Lapino explains. “When I have a new patient in the clinic with any of the aforementioned issues I always first guide them to purchase a shower water filter, or put a water filtration system on their entire home. After your very first shower you’ll notice a difference in your skin and your hair followed by an increase in growth of your lashes, brows and nails as well as plump and soft lips. Your entire physique will be that much nicer because you are no longer leaving metals, chemicals, and hormones on the surface of your skin every time you attempt to clean it.”

"According to US dermatologist Dr Dennis Gross, hard water could also be making [acne] worse. We all naturally produce sebum or oil, but if you tend to have blocked pores, your oil tends to be thicker. Wash your face in hard tap water and the calcium in it turns the already viscose oil into a waxier version, adding to the blockages he explains."

" 'Healthy skin looks calm, hydrated and even-toned,’ Dr Justine Hextall, Consultant Dermatologist on behalf of The Harley Medical Group, told Trilogy. Ergo, unhealthy skin looks irritated, dry and inflamed. Studies, like one by King’s College London, has found, ‘growing evidence of a link between exposure to hard water and the risk of developing eczema’. Dr Hextall believes the same can be said for rosacea. "

"Hard water is a life-ruiner. It ruins lives. It’s also water that’s naturally higher in minerals, which can bind to your hair and weigh it down, dry it out, and leave it damaged. “Magnesium and calcium are two of the most common and abundant metals found in tap water across the world,” says celebrity hairstylist and Ouidad brand ambassador Irinel de Leon (she also does Chrissy Teigen’s hair, so we must trust her). “When water sources contain high volumes of those two metals, it’s often called hard water," she says."

"Hard water can be damaging to all hair types, but it’s especially disastrous to folks that have fine hair (which is already prone to buildup) and/or curly hair (which is already naturally dry)"

"Thankfully, there are ways to fight the scourge that is hard water. Installing a water softener is one option, but it’s pricey ... Instead, try installing a water-filtering shower head"

"...the water in most urbanised areas in the UK, most notably London, has what is called 'hard water', which has a higher mineral content (especially in calcium and magnesium carbonates) than 'soft water.' Hard water can make your hair feel drier and duller, whilst soft water leaves it, well, softer."

"Soft water is essentially the opposite of hard water. While it contains some minerals, the concentration is nowhere near as high as hard water.

This means that it’s cleaner and healthier. While the best method for purifying your water is to install a water softener in your home, this can run on the expensive side.

A cost-effective alternative is to purchase a water softener shower head.

“These [shower heads] have cartridges that are filled with carbon to remove the minerals before the water touches the hair,” says Martino Cartier, hairstylist and owner of Martino Cartier Salon.

Last medically reviewed on September 29, 2020"

“Soft water removes mineral ions and washes all of that soapy stuff off so your skin is left feeling totally clean and smooth.”

“Those with sensitive skin could experience irritation as a result of hard water. Not only does it leave behind the aforementioned soap scum on your skin, it can also fail to lather up and leave lingering detergent when you do laundry that can cling to clothes and irritate skin.”

“Soapy residue left behind on your skin can clog pores and lead to skin irritation and acne.”

“For all the reasons already mentioned, it’s been suggested that hard water is linked to worsening symptoms of eczema.”


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