If you’re upset hard water is ruining your crystal glassware, wait until you see what it’s doing to your skin.
Yes, those same white spots on your wine glasses are on your skin.
You just can’t see them. But if you saw yourself after a shower under black light…
… you’d be freaked out!
That’s how I felt. My jaw literally dropped.
Hard water is water that contains high concentrations of minerals, especially calcium and magnesium. Other dissolved metals can also cause water hardness such as aluminum, iron, zinc and manganese.
These other dissolved metals tend to become salts when they react with water.
Soap reacts with the calcium in hard water to form “soap scum”.
This means that you need more detergent or soap to make things clean, to get rid of the hard water residue.
You may see this as spots on your glassware, solid deposits in your faucets and shower knobs and scale in washing machines and dryers.
Hard water can also clog pipes, electric water heaters and build-up in your coffee maker.
However, some diseases like cardiovascular problems, diabetes, reproductive failure, neural diseases and renal dysfunction can be partly attributed to the consumption of hard water, as an etiological factor (just like smoking is an etiologic factor of arteriosclerosis) because of the presence of the salts formed from other dissolved metals.
Groundwater percolates or passes through porous stones containing minerals, usually calcium and magnesium, generally from limestone and dolomite.
This is how water becomes “hard”.
Most public water systems channel groundwater into their treatment plant and then deliver to homes. As groundwater moves through rocks and soil dissolving trace amounts of minerals, they enter our water systems where they end up being consumed at home and slowly produce scale buildup.
Some industries have to soften their water to protect equipment. For the regular Joe, hard water can even shorten the life of fabrics and clothes.
Historically, water was hardened to raise the pH (acid level) to reduce the leaching of lead from lead pipes, which could cause lead poisoning. More info here.
Interestingly the Water Quality Association, explains that hard water was termed that way because it was water that was ‘hard to wash in’. Hard water prevents soap from lathering because it precipitates into a curdy substance known as soap-scum.
Hardness in water is expressed in grains per gallon (ppm).
It dries up the skin barrier.
Mineral deposits and soap scum (even though not visible to the naked eye) are stuck to the skin making it itchy and soar.
That’s why people resort to moisturizers and lotions to soothe skin. But the answer is easy: get a shower filter.
A shower filter will not only filter out the hardness in water and soften it, it will also filter out chemicals such as chlorine which is highly gaseous.
Without a shower water filter, you are dowsing in chlorine while at the same time breathing in its fumes on top of subjecting your skin to the harshness of minerals in water. Minerals in water are great for drinking but not for showering with them.
Imagine stepping out of the shower with your skin feeling hydrated and soft, your hair clean and light.
Skin, your largest organ, is like a sponge, absorbing whatever it comes into contact. Its natural peptide barrier, which protects the skin against the elements, is usually striped away by commercial soaps and water from your water supply.
About 15 years ago, I started having rashes in my arms that were pretty irritating and itchy. I could not for the life of me figure out why I had these scars.
I went on to use a whole bunch of moisturizers, oils and lotions but the rashes did not go away.
Thankfully, my boss at the time suggested I go and see her dermatologist. And sure enough, I went there and to my surprise, she said that the irritation was caused by my laundry detergent(!)
I was shocked, I didn’t know skin could get so irritated with the residue of the laundry detergent I had used for many years. But hey, people change, and products change too…
I started using “free and clear” detergents and the rashes disappeared. However, the constant dryness and flakiness of my skin was still bothering me, although it wasn’t painful.
You can check for white spots on your skin after showering with hard water by using your smartphone.
For this experiment, use the flashlight feature on your phone.
Where the light is emitted you will place several layers of tape like this: stick a piece of magic tape, color it with a blue sharpie. Take a second piece of tape and color it with blue sharpie again. Place a third piece of tape over it and color it with purple sharpie.
Now use the flashlight, in a pitch-dark bathroom and check out your skin! You should see all the stains from hard water!
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National Institutes of Health, Potential health impacts of hard water, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Water Quality Association, Scale Deposits, www.wqa.org