Author: Jessie Quinn
When we rack our brains for the cause of a breakout, we typically consider hormones, diet, stress and other common factors. But, when nothing adds up, it might be time to consider what we rinse our complexion with. No, we are not talking about face wash — we are talking about tap water.
The Effects of Tap Water on the Skin
“If you live in certain areas where water has high levels of minerals such as magnesium and calcium, you may suffer from dry skin,” says Debra Jaliman, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist. “This type of water is referred to as ‘hard’ water,” she notes, explaining how the influx of magnesium and calcium in hard water dehydrates the skin and can be “disruptive to your skin’s microbiome.”
And while high traces of magnesium and calcium can dry out the skin and mess with its microbiome, Alissia Zenhausern, N.M.D., a naturopathic physician at NMD, says it is important to consider the toxicants in tap water, which could wreak havoc on a compromised pH balance. “Some of the commonly found toxicants in your tap water include fluoride, chlorine, lead, mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), arsenic, perchlorate, dioxins, Dichloro-Diphenyl- Trichloroethane (DDT), Hexachlorobenzene (HCB), and Dacthal (DCPA),” she notes.
In the case of breakouts and tap water, Zenhausern, says it is all about pH balance. “Your skin has a fairly acidic pH, which is important as it helps ward off foreign invaders including bacteria and fungus,” she explains. “The optimal pH of human skin is 5, whereas tap water has a pH of 6.5-8.5.” The differences in pH can lead to an imbalanced complexion, which “reduces its ability to ward off bacteria, which can lead to an increased susceptibility of the skin to break out.”
How Do You Balance Your Skin and Tap Water?
Jaliman suggests investing in a water filter “to help minimize the hard water damage to your skin.” When shopping for a filter, she says to first look for a dechlorinating one. Jaliman recommends the GaiaWaterFilter™ as it specifically filters out chlorine and other chemicals in hard water. Adding a filter to your faucet or shower head can “help to reduce the amount of calcium and other minerals that make skin dry.”