Your Postcode Could Be The Reason You’re Having A Break-Out

The truth is, hard water does ruin your skin

Your Postcode Could Be The Reason You’re Having A Break-Out

by Lucy Morris |

You can use all the hyaluronic acid you like but if you’re living in an area with hard water then you might be fighting a losing battle. We know the toll that pollution, alcohol and a lack of sunlight has on our complexion, but the impact of our postcode is so often overlooked.

Water, like phone reception, is dependent on your location. Some areas, like Leeds, Wales and Cornwall have lower levels of calcium and magnesium, which means their water is softer. While the South of England tends to be harder. It’s this temperamental mineral balance that can be the difference between the odd spot and a routine break-out.

‘Healthy skin looks calm, hydrated and even-toned,’ Dr Justine Hextall, Consultant Dermatologist on behalf of The Harley Medical Group, told Trilogy. Ergo, unhealthy skin looks irritated, dry and inflamed. Studies, like one by King’s College London, has found, ‘growing evidence of a link between exposure to hard water and the risk of developing eczema’. Dr Hextall believes the same can be said for rosacea.

There’s really no two ways about it, you have to wash your bod, your face and your hair. But, studies have shown that the skin, which naturally requires certain oils, fats and moisture pockets to look plump, can be undermined by harder water, which is drying. When your complexion is put under this duress little cracks between the cells appear, which allow in bacteria and allergens that can irritate your skin and make it appear and feel sore. To counterbalance we tend to turn to rich moisturisers that can exacerbate the problem by causing spots.

Your Postcode Could Be The Reason You’re Having A Break-Out

‘Hard water leaves alkaline minerals on the skin, which can cause dryness and irritation ’, Dr Hextall told The Debrief. The Body Shop’s dermatologist Dr Christin Choi Kim adds that ‘these minerals can cause hard, insoluble deposits on your skin surface leading to dry skin, clogged pores and skin irritation.’ Hextall keenly points out, ‘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.’

‘Squeak’ is not how your face should sound after cleansing. That feeling is an indicator that something’s not right. ‘I always ask my patients 'Does your skin feel tight after cleansing?'. If it's a yes then we look at changing their cleansing routine. I always suggest washing skin after a shower to remove any soapy residue from shampoos or shower gels.’ Says Hextall, ‘Some products contain Ethylene Diamine Tetra Acetate (EDTA) that helps to bond with the minerals and remove them from hair and skin a process called chelation .’ She warns: ‘If [your] hair has become dull in a hard water area it may be worth looking for this in shampoo.’

Yikes. But, it’s not all doom and gloom as both Hextall and Kim have found techniques to combat the water quality. Kim recommends the T3 Source Showerhead that filters out the ‘culprit minerals in your shower. She also recommends products rich in oil, ‘shea butter and hemp to soothe and protect your body’s skin.’

For Hextall, there is a holy trinity of components that any product used in an area of hard water needs to possess. For instance, not only should a cleanser clean the complexion but sooth, hydrate and protect it too. ‘I suggest starting with a humectant such Hyaluronic acid and then layering a protective cream or lotion depending on your skin type.’, she says. Of her favourites a few instantly come to mind: Dermaquest's essential B5 hydrating serum, La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 hyaluronic acid serum, Avene hydrating optimal intense serum, NIOD's multi-molecular hyaluronic acid complex, SkinCeutical's triple lipid restore, La Roche Posay's Toperiane ultra's overnight lotion and CeraVe's moisturising.

Hard water's not all bad. Yes, it needs more soap to lather and can strip away your skin’s natural oils but you can't deny it tastes a heck of a lot better.

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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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