Has the water in your home been clogging the plumbing pipes? This means you probably have been using hard water.
Hard water contains more than 50 mg/litres of calcium, magnesium and other mineral deposits. If it can clog the pipes, imagine what it can do to your skin. So we are here to tell you how you can determine your water’s hardness, how it affects your skin and what you can do to prevent it.
What Exactly Is Hard Water?
Water that has a high content of dissolved minerals such as calcium and magnesium is known as hard water. It is not a serious health risk, but it can leave a residue on your dishes and clothes after washing. It can also affect your skin and hair over a period of time.
How Does Hard Water Affect Your Skin?
Since hard water contains minerals, it can leave a build-up of soap residue. This in turn clogs pores, through which the body releases its natural oils. Clogged pores can lead to acne or even eczema.
Hard water can also leave your skin feeling dry, as it strips away the natural moisture from the skin. This may make you look older as dry skin leads to fine lines and wrinkles.
What Are The Effects Of Using Hard Water On Skin?
1. Long Term Effects
Hard water, which has traces of iron, magnesium and calcium, can form free radicals. These are known to break down collagen, which keeps the skin firm.
It leads to premature aging as the skin sags and fine lines and wrinkles are formed. Prolonged exposure to hard water can even aggravate skin conditions like eczema and cause flare-ups. 
2. Short-Term Effects
The short-term effects of using hard water regularly are dry, flaky and itchy skin, besides breakouts at times. Hard water also affects the hair, giving it a dull appearance and can lead to an itchy scalp.
How To Protect Your Skin From Hard Water?
- The easiest solution is to use a water softener which makes the soap easier to rinse off. This way, you won’t have any soap residue build-up on your skin.
- Use soap-free cleansers that are gentle on the skin. 
- You can also keep your shower time brief, and avoid extreme cold and hot water.
- Use warm water and avoid frequent washing of the face.
- Dab yourself gently with a towel post washing, rather than a brisk rub down.
- Applying a rich moisturising body lotion, especially when the skin is still damp, will trap the natural moisture and prevent the skin from getting dry.
- Those with sensitive or dry skin should use body washes and moisturisers that are fragrance free.
How To Test Water Hardness With Soap?
Take a clear and transparent bottle with at least 350 ml of water. Fill it with water and add 10-12 drops of liquid soap (the handwash soap variety is best) to it. Close the bottle and shake it vigorously. If the bubbles are very few, it means the water is hard.
You can repeat the process by adding a few more soap drops (up to 50) and shaking the bottle. If the bubbles don’t increase, it means you have hard water. Also, if the water has a cloudy appearance, you most probably have hard water. 
Hard water can be a problem and affects your skin, hair, clothes and plumbing. To prevent its damage in the long term, especially for the skin, we recommend you use a water softener and mild, soap-free cleansers to prevent further damage.
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