It’s no secret that demineralized water is great for your water heater and plumbing. But is soft water better for your skin? In this post, we’ll take a detailed look at the science behind this question to help you understand whether installing a water softener will help you achieve healthier skin.
Is Soft Water Better For Your Skin?
Put simply, yes. The minerals (most notably calcium and magnesium) in hard water affect your skin in many ways. For one, they dry your skin out by clogging your pores and sucking up moisture. Hard water also prevents soap from doing its job properly. For example, you may notice that soap does not lather sufficiently and forms a film on your skin. This film traps bacteria, further damaging your skin and compromising your hygiene.
If you wear makeup, the effects of hard water will be especially pronounced on your skin since most beauty products already clog your pores on their own.
Now that you’ve got a good overview of why soft water is better for your skin, let’s dive a little deeper.
Soft Water Skin Benefits
With no minerals to clog your pores, soft water skin tends to be noticeably free from acne. If you live in an area with hard water (see U.S. data here) and also experience acne, try washing your face with distilled water for a little bit. If your acne’s severity decreases, consider a more permanent solution (more on this later).
Soft Water and Eczema
With soft water, eczema symptoms also tend to subside. Research has shown that hard water damages your skin’s barrier, which protects against bacteria and UV rays. With this barrier compromised, you’re more susceptible to developing eczema.
If you already have eczema, hard water tends to make the issue worse, according to researchers.
Soft Water and Skin Irritation
With soft water, skin irritation of all types (not just eczema) occurs less frequently and with less severity. Many people (such as this writer) experience conditions like hives when bathing with hard water. Other, perhaps more subtle, symptoms of skin irritation caused by hard water include:
- dry skin
- flaky skin (including dandruff)
- tight skin
- cracks in your skin that bleed
- scaling on your skin
Soft Water and Your Fabrics
The effects of hard water can be seen far beyond the shower. It makes your laundry stiff and can prevent detergent from doing its job, leading to fabrics that irritate your skin even more.
How To Get Soft Water In The Shower
By now, you should recognize that the answer to the question, “is soft water good for your skin?” is a resounding “yes.”
As for how to get soft water in the shower, you’ll need to have a system known as a water softener installed in your home. Ideally, you’ll want a whole-house system that treats all water in your home, not just water heading to the shower. Some people mistakenly believe that soft water is unsafe to drink, a myth that this article explores thoroughly. For now, though, let’s take a look at some of the other considerations when choosing between a whole-house softener and a shower-based system.
Whole-House Water Softener vs. Shower Softener
You have two options when it comes to getting soft water in your shower. The first is ideal if you own your home and can cover the cost while the second is ideal for renters or more cost-focused consumers.
A whole-house water softener is great because it saves you money and hassle in more ways than one. Hard water is tough on much more than just your skin. For example, it causes scaling in your plumbing, on bathtubs, and on dishes. By installing a whole-house softener, you can provide your entire residence with softener water that doesn’t produce these effects.
A dedicated shower softener has its place, though. If a full-house system is impractical for one reason or another, a shower system is perhaps your only option. These systems are also advantageous if you don’t like the taste of soft water. This isn’t common but it does happen; some people prefer the mineralized taste of hard water, whereas soft water typically lacks any taste whatsoever.
There are some shower-based softeners that you can install entirely on your own. A whole-house system will require a professional. If you’re in the Phoenix, Arizona area, American Home Water and Air come highly recommended. You can find them at:
23439 North 35th Drive #7
Glendale, Arizona 85310
For The Best Results, Use A Sodium-Based Softener
Whichever water softener you choose, make sure it relies on a sodium-based exchange process. This will provide you the best soft water for dry skin while also preventing other damaging effects of hard water throughout your home.
Potassium-based systems don’t work as well and magnet-based systems are outright scams.
Is Soft Water Good For Your Skin? Conclusion
The vast majority of America’s water supply is hard. This means millions of Americans are exposed to hard water’s damaging effects on the skin. Such effects include dry skin, irritation, and even severe conditions like eczema, hives, and dermatitis.
With soft water, dry skin and these additional health effects tend to disappear or become greatly alleviated. To reap these benefits, you’ll need to install a water softener. A shower-based system works if your financial or living situation prevents you from installing a whole-house softener. However, the latter will produce the best results and also help you avoid the effects of hard water throughout your home.