In the world of beauty, it seems like we're on a constant endeavour to get the most glowy skin and lavish locks possible.
But there's one thing that could be getting in the way of that - no matter how much cash you invest in spenny skincare serums and clever hair masks. The truth is, washing your hair and face with the tap water in certain areas could be holding you back.
Dr. Justine Hextall, Consultant Dermatologist says: "As a dermatologist I find the greatest effect on skin comes from the water quality in an area."
"Hard water leaves alkaline minerals on the skin, which can causes dryness and irritation. This explains why individuals quite often note their skin flares when staying in hard water areas. The minerals in this water can remain on the skin and hair after washing as they can be difficult to remove causing irritation and dryness."
"The issue with this is the subsequent damage to the skin barrier. This can leave skin sensitive and reactive, it can also flare inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and rosacea."
So how do you know if the water in your area is hard? These are some of the signs to look out for:
- Clothing that feels rough to the touch after washing
- Dry, irritated skin and flat, dry hair
- Low water pressure
- White residue or spots on your dishes after washing
- Scale buildup
- However, there is only one way to tell for sure - and that's by purchasing an at-home test.
How does hard water affect your skin and hair?
Hard water contains minerals like calcium, magnesium and iron which can all have a drying effect on skin and hair. Minerals that are left to dry on the skin can clog pores and cause skin to flake and become itchy - and leave our hair looking dull, dry and lifeless.
What can I do to stop hard tap water from damaging my skin and hair?
Dr. Justine Hextall says: "“My advice is always to try and remove this water and its residue off the skin using hydrating cleansers and making sure an effective moisturizer is used to soothe, hydrate and essentially protect the skin barrier.
"I look for cleansers that not only clean the skin but put hydrating and soothing products back into the skin to protect it. Hydrating and soothing skin will protect the skin barrier and make it more robust against image from hard water minerals."
You can also follow these steps:
Use a non-alcohol toner
Make sure to use a toner after your cleanse - this will help to remove any leftover traces of soap, minerals, heavy metals and any other remnants.
Try no-rinse cleansing waters
There's no need for any water whatsoever when using a micellar water, so this is a great cleansing alternative.
Always treat your skin with a moisturizer after exposing it to hard water
If you've so much as splashed your face with hard tap water, you'll want to pack the moisture back into your skin ASAP.
Use a hydrating hair treatment
Just like it can with your skin, tap water can strip the moisture from hair, too. Spritz an oil through your ends post-wash to get the gloss back.
Make sure your skin and hair get enough antioxidants
Products rich in green tea, turmeric, Vitamin C and E and rosehip will help your skin to avoid any free radical activity that your tap water could cause.