hard water

What effect does hard water have on your hair, skin and nails?

What effect does hard water have on your hair, skin and nails? In order to answer this, we need to understand exactly what is meant by “hard water”. Hard water has a high mineral content and its prevalence is related to the geology of the area from which you receive your tap water. If you live in an area surrounded by large amounts of limestone, gypsum or chalk, the water that percolates through these relatively soft deposits before being collected by your local purification plant will contain significant calcium and magnesium, leading to “hard” water. The calcium and magnesium will be in the form of ions, which are atoms with an electric charge – in other words, really small and why your local water plant cannot simply filter them out. The symptoms of hard water are easy to recognize – limescale build up around faucets and in the bottom of your kettle, difficulty in getting nice soapy suds when using detergents or soaps (eg. when taking a bath, washing dishes) and the build-up of soapy films on shower doors.  So now that we understand what is meant by “hard water”, we can better understand what effects it has on your hair, skin and nails.

The calcium and magnesium in the hard water react with fatty acids in your soaps and shampoos to form compounds that coagulate and leave films or residues behind not only on your shower door, but also your hair, skin and nails. Sometimes pictures are indeed worth a thousand words and if you think the idea of washing your hair in hard water may lead to a buildup of minerals on your hair, you would be correct. Comparing electron microscope images of hair washed in hard water to that washed in soft water show a clear difference.  And although you can’t see this with your own eyes, you may have noticed the effect particularly if you frequently travel. Your hair may appear beautiful in some locations, while in others it looks flat and lifeless, even though you are using the same hair products. This is because of not only the changes in the hardness of the local water supply, but also the pH (acidity level). And it gets even more complicated because the local water conditions not only affect your hair, but they can also alter the effectiveness of certain ingredients in your shampoos and conditioners.

So what do you do if you live in an area with hard water? Well, your first tendency might be to use more soap or shampoo to compensate for the fact that you cannot achieve a good lather. But this can leave your hair dry, as that excess shampoo will also extract the important natural oils in your hair. The best solution would be to install a ‘’whole house water filter’’, but these are costly, require a bit of maintenance, and if you rent, may be entirely out of the question. Your next best choice would be to install a shower filter, which is easy to do and doesn’t require cutting or drilling. All connections are screw-on. It will make the water much less harsh for your hair, skin and nails. If you can not do any of the above, try to maintain healthy strong hair with our beauty supplement that contains hyaluronic acid, silica from bamboo stem and leaf extract as well as lysine, all of which are effective at increasing the strength of hair and potentially counteracting the harmful effects of hard water.

There have been many suggestions that hard water can lead to dermatitis. But the evidence for this in adults requires further studies. Nonetheless, when minerals from hard water are left to dry on your skin, they can clog pores and lead the dry, flaky, and itchy skin, redness, and acne. And if you are already predisposed to or have skin conditions such as eczema (atopic dermatitis) or a form of contact dermatitis, you will only be more sensitive to the effects of hard water.  Keeping your skin moisturized is the best first line of defense against the effects of hard water on your skin.

The minerals and mineral-containing residues from hard water can also accumulate in your nails. Over time, these can interfere with the growth of keratin in your nails, and as a result, they may become brittle, thin, and/or discolored. So like hair and skin, short of removing the source of hard water, the best you can do is ensure your intake of nutrients that support nail health and growth are adequately supplied through diet or supplementation with Zinc, Biotin, Silica from the bamboo stem and leaf extract.

Takeaway Message

What effect does hard water have on your head, skin, and nails? It may be the root cause of many of your cosmetic concerns. It can alter the appearance and strength of your hair and nails, and lead to skin conditions that run the gamut from dry, flaky, and itching skin to serious outbursts of eczema. The best solution would be to eliminate the source of hard water, but this is often not possible or practical. In this case, your best defense is to maintain a healthy diet and supplement where necessary with vitamins and minerals that are known to specifically promote healthy skin, hair, and nails. And a final precautionary note if you are expecting or a recent mother and know you are living in an area that uses hard water. There is documented evidence of an association between hard water and development of eczema in infants. if you have concerns, you should raise these concerns with your doctor or your infant's pediatricians.

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