Do you have concerns about your skin and how your showers might be influencing the condition of it? You’re not the only one. Skin care is essential to maintaining the integrity and youthfulness of your skin. If you or your child is one of the 35 million Americans that suffer from Eczema, you know skin care is a must when treating atopic dermatitis. While habitual regiments, expensive lotions, clinical treatments, and avoidance of the sun can curb symptoms of dry skin, your household water could be having a major impact on your condition. Dry skin can be uncomfortable and as a parent with a child that has eczema, you want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to minimize the problem.
What are dry skin and eczema symptoms?
Individuals with dry skin often experience at least one of the following:
- Skin tightness, especially after showering or bathing.
- Redness and itching.
- Flaking, scaling or peeling.
- Fine lines or cracks that may cause bleeding.
- Excessive use of lotions and moisturizing soaps.
Sufferers of eczema can often experience the same symptoms in addition to severe itching, rough, leathery or scaling patches of skin, swelling and inflammation, and crusting.
What causes dry skin and eczema?
It is unknown what causes chronic dry skin and eczema but according to the National Eczema Association: “researchers do know that people who develop eczema do so because of a combination of genes and environmental triggers.” Some of these environmental triggers for dry skin and eczema can be weather, heat, hard soaps and detergents, and other skin conditions such as psoriasis. One environmental catalyst to dry skin and eczema that tends to get overlooked is the water we shower in.
4 things to know about your water
Whether you or your child are suffering from eczema or you’re looking to maintain your skin’s elasticity, softness, and hydration, it’s important to consider the quality of the water you’re bathing and showering in. Here are the top things to consider:
- Showering too often and in extremely hot water. Showering too often as well as hot showers will strip your body of its naturally occurring oils that work to moisturize and protect the skin.Similar to spending too much time in the sun, extremely hot showers have the potential to burn the skin, damaging skin cells. Helathline.com’s Cold Shower vs. Hot Showers, claims that “hot water causes damage to the keratin cells which are located on our most outer layer of the skin — the epidermis. By disrupting these cells, it creates dry skin and prevents the cells from locking in moisture.”In a culture where showering every day is expected, experts claim showering less is actually better for your skin. An article by Press Association, Could a daily shower actually be bad for you?, quotes John Oxford, Professor of Virology at Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry, “As long as people wash their hands often enough and pay attention to the area of the body below the belt, showering or bathing every other day would do no harm.” Lowering the temperature and occasionally withstanding a cold shower is something to consider when it comes to the well-being of your skin.
- pH levels in the water. According to an article on hard water and eczema by the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, studies have concluded that pH levels in your water will have an effect on the characteristics of the skin. The pH level in water indicates how alkaline or acidic the water is. Water that is alkaline or has high pH, should be controlled to avoid complications in the skin’s ability to adjust to its environment. Since minerals in water with a high pH don’t dissolve as well, you may notice you’re having a hard time rinsing soaps away from your skin and hair while showering.
- The amount of chlorine. Municipalities will add safe levels of chlorine to city water in order to prevent disease-causing pathogens, like bacteria and viruses, from contaminating the water as it travels to your house. Once the water reaches the home, chlorination isn’t necessary but the chemical remains in the water. Chlorine is a known irritant to the skin, stripping it of its natural oils that protect and keep moisture in. Some homes on municipal water can even smell like a swimming pool due to the amount of chlorine added to their household water.
- Showering and bathing in hard water. Hard water contains excessive amounts of naturally occurring calcium and magnesium. These minerals reduce the effectiveness and solubility of soaps. When you shower in hard water you’re left with a layer of soap scum on your body that when left over a period of time, can dry out and irritate the skin. The Journal of Investigative Dermatology’s article on hard water and eczema concludes through a series of studies that washing the skin in hard water debilitates the function of skin’s ability to protect and moisturize itself especially in people with existing skin conditions such as eczema. The article also states that studies have shown an increase in eczema cases in children and infants who live with hard water compared to soft water.
Soft water is soft on skin.
You can continue to spend hundreds of dollars on lotions and clinical creams but there is a solution to treating the culprit right in your home that’s making your skin condition worse. Softening your household water removes the hard minerals that can be abrasive to your skin. By removing these hard water contaminants, you’re likely to use less soaps too, because it cleans better. The soap you do use does not stick to the skin as it does with hard water, leaving you cleaner and free from any soap scum that otherwise would dry out your skin. Soft water is less damaging to the skin allowing it to protect itself and retain moisture throughout the day.
How do I treat the water I shower in for better skin health?
If you want to do everything you can to maintain skin health, you should certainly consider treating the water you shower and bathe in. The Journal of Investigative Dermatology explains that ion exchange water softeners can help reduce the risk of developing skin conditions by reducing the nuisance metals exposed to the skin when washing.
If you think you might be showering in chlorinated or hard water that’s causing your skin to dry out, you can invest in a CareSoft Elite RC®. The RC system is a unit that treats your chlorine water and softens it at the same time. It’s ideal for those on municipal water that believe their hard city water is drying out their skin and hair. The CareSoft Elite Softener is ideal for those who want to treat their homes for hard water that does not have chlorine additives.
How do I take the next step?
A professional can test your water for hardness and set you up with a treatment that fits your home’s individual needs. Call us for your consultation and start treating your skin, you deserve it.