What Does Hard Water Do To Your Skin

Close-up of hand, knuckles with dry skin to illustrate effects of hard water on skin

The effects of hard water on skin can be fierce. Hard water (as opposed to soft water) is loaded with unwanted chemicals like calcium, magnesium, and sulfates, which can take a toll on your skin over time.

The good news is that there are ways to reduce the negative effects. If you notice any of the telltale signs listed below, it’s time to start prioritizing skin care for hard water.

6 Effects of Hard Water on Skin

Hard water effects can range from dry, flaky skin to premature aging. Much like the effects of hard water on hair, these effects can compound over time, so it’s important to get hard water under control.

dry skin from hard water

1. Dry Skin

Does hard water cause hard water dry skin? Yes, it does. Hard water dry skin is one of the most noticeable effects of hard water on skin. The chemicals in hard water disrupt your skin’s natural moisture levels and can even make moisturizers less effective.

So even if you do moisturize, you may notice persistent dryness. In addition, the chemicals in hard water can collect on your soap, contributing to the development of soap scum.

When you wash with this type of contaminated soap, some of the residue remains on your skin, leading to hard water dry skin, dryness, and irritation. The problem is especially pronounced in people who already have naturally dry skin.


2. A Less Effective Clean

Because hard water leaves soap scum on skin, you’re less able to achieve a quality lather—and by extension a quality clean. As a result, you have to use more soap than you normally would, which further exacerbates the problem of dry, irritated skin.

hard water skin acne

3. Acne

We’ve already established that hard water dries out your skin, which in itself can increase your likelihood of hard water skin acne breakouts.

In addition, the calcium bicarbonate in hard water can disrupt your skin’s natural oil levels while additional chemicals clog your pores and upset your skin’s pH balance, creating the perfect storm of acne triggers.

For more information on the acne effects of hard water on skin, please refer to our guide to hard water and acne.

4. Scalp Irritation

Hard water not only affects your skin but also your hair and scalp. Hard water dry scalp is a common issue as it dries out your scalp and leaves behind a soapy film that’s difficult to remove completely.

As a result, your scalp feels dry, flaky, and itchy long after the shower. Problems like dandruff are also common as a result.

And since a dry scalp can negatively impact your hair as well, the problem is no longer simply limited to the skin. 

eczema due to hard water

5. Worsened Skin Conditions

If you live with a persistent skin condition like eczema, acne, dryness, or psoriasis, the effects of hard water on skin can make the problem worse—or increase the number of flare-ups.

People with sensitive skin should be especially diligent about emphasizing skin care with hard water in mind. 

6. Premature Aging

The chemicals in hard water can contribute to the growth of free radicals. These molecules, in turn, can break down collagen and cause the skin to loosen and sag.

In other words, years of hard water exposure can lead to the growth of fine lines and wrinkles and may accelerate the signs of aging.

The Essentials of Skin Care for Hard Water

If you live with hard water, you don’t have to resign yourself to having dry, acne-prone, aging skin. We can’t control where our water supply comes from, but we can modify our skin care routine for hard water. 

1. Use a Shower Filter

If you’re feeling the unmistakable effects of hard water on skin, your first step should be to invest in a quality shower water filter like the AquaBliss Multi-Stage Shower Filter.

This state-of-the-art filter improves your water and helps promote healthier skin with an infusion of beneficial minerals to offset the negative effects of hard water, including soap scum on skin.

AquaBliss shower filters employ a proven blend of activated carbon, Redox Media, and calcium sulfite to pull away unwanted toxins and address issues like skin dryness, acne, eczema, dandruff, and more.

These filters are easy to install in just minutes, and they can instantly improve the quality of your showers. You can feel the difference. 

2. Take a Bath in Baking Soda

If you want to address the cumulative effects of hard water on skin, try taking an occasional bath in baking soda. All you have to do is fill your tub and add four or five tablespoons of baking soda.

Mix in the baking soda with a wooden spoon so that it effectively dissolves. The infusion of baking soda into a bath helps to neutralize the skin’s acidity and restore dry skin.

Please note, however, that these types of baths should generally be avoided by pregnant women. In addition, people with heart problems or hypertension should consult a doctor first.

Woman dispensing lotion from a bottle onto her hand

3. Use a Moisturizer Immediately After Showering

This one comes with a bit of a caveat, as we’ve previously noted that moisturizers may be less effective for people with dry skin due to hard water. However, while it shouldn’t be your only measure for combating the effects of hard water on skin, moisturizing is still essential.

It helps to lock in moisture and maintain your skin’s natural elasticity. For best results, use a lightweight moisturizer with proven hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid or niacinamide. If you’ve noticed signs of dryness, it’s also very important to choose a formula that’s designed for dry skin.

4. Use a Body Wash in the Shower

If you have hard water, soap can be a breeding ground for soap scum. Switching to a high-quality body wash may help to offset some of the problems of showering with a compromised bar of soap.

taking short shower

5. Take Shorter Showers

There’s a lot of debate as to how often—and how long—you should shower. While many experts agree that you don’t need to shower every single day, some of us just don’t feel comfortable if we haven’t had our daily shower.

But the longer you linger in the shower, the more you may expose yourself to hard water. So if you must shower daily, consider cutting the length to five minutes or less.

Skin Care for Hard Water Is Possible

Hard water is a reality in most homes and AquaBliss is on a mission to help alleviate the effects of hard water. By taking simple steps, you can ensure that your skin feels better, looks more radiant, and is less prone to chronic issues.

So invest in a good shower filter, moisturize daily, and take whatever steps you can to keep the hard water at bay. You will notice a difference.

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