Hard Water and Acne

hard water and acneDid you recently move into your new home and start to notice shiny new pimples on your face? Or while on vacation, feel your skin become dry, cracked and itchy? You use the same lotions, creams, soaps, even the same makeup – and yet your face has red, irritated pimples. The culprit may be your water – hard water to be exact.


Hard Water Effects on Your Skin

Acne Clogged Pores from Hard Water
Hard Water scale can trap your oils

Hard water is a term used to describe water that is rich in minerals. Your water has minerals because it travels underground and dissolves rock, such as limestone. And limestone is actually made of calcium and magnesium carbonates that make your water “hard”. The real problem isn’t that the minerals are dissolved in your water – it’s when the minerals want to come back out as rock and leave rock deposits, called “hard water scale”, on your face and skin. Your moisturizing pores are trapped beneath this layer of rock, causing your skin to feel dry, flaky, and irritated.


Another BIG problem with hard water is its negative reaction to soap, body washes, and face cleansing products. Common soaps that normally form a gentle cleansing lather are transformed into a waxy, gummy residue called soap scum or soap curd.

Hard Water Soap Scum
Soap scum in tub drain

If you have hard water, you are already familiar with soap scum. It’s that ring of scum that’s left behind in your sink and especially your bath tub. That same soap scum now clings to your face and body and blocks your pores. And blocked pores trap the natural flow of your oils that normally moisturize and nourish your face and skin.

Most people think they need to use MORE soap because they can’t get it to lather. But that won’t work, it will just cost you more money in products AND make more soap scum. It’s like adding fuel to the fire.

The Consequences of Hard Water

  • Clogged pores
  • Bacterial infections
  • Red and inflamed skin irritations
  • Trapped oils in your poreshard water effect on skin
  • Waxy, gummy “soap scum” clinging to your face
  • Soaps and cleansers rendered useless
  • Dry, cracked, irritated skin
  • Itchy, flaky skin
  • Acne breakouts
  • Make up won’t wash off
  • Rashes
  • Eczema (See our blog on Hard Water and Eczema)

Dr. Dennis Gross, a board-certified dermatologist and dermatological surgeon with research distinctions, states that hard water minerals (and other impurities such as iron, copper, lead and zinc) can create “free radicals”, or unstable and highly reactive molecules. These will destroy healthy skin cells, resulting in:

  • Acne
  • Wrinkles
  • Fine lines
  • Redness and irritation
  • Beak down of collagen (a protein that that binds our skin cells together)

Hard Water and Your Home

Keep in mind that that hard water doesn’t just affect your face and skin. Hard water minerals negatively affect EVERYWHERE you use water:

  • Leaves white scale on your fixtures, heating elements, appliances, pipes
  • Creates soap scum every time it comes into contact with soap
  • Makes your bath water dingy and cloudyHard Water Stains Shower Walls
  • Turns your white laundry looking grey and dingy
  • Shortens the life of your clothes
  • Creates more lint from your dryer
  • Makes your clothes stiff and rough
  • Leaves gummy, sticky, waxy residue
  • Clogs your shower heads leaving you with little water pressure
  • Deposits a white film on your dishes
  • Voids warranties on your dishwasher, furnaces, ice makers, dehumidifiers
  • Renders your appliances less efficient

How Prevalent is Hard Water in CT?

All water has minerals in it. It’s impossible to have PURE water unless it has been treated. But CT well water and city waters have between 3-15 grains of hardness – about the equivalent of 1-3 aspirin-sized amounts of dissolved rock in a gallon of water.

What’s The Solution?

The best solution is to NOT expose your skin to all of those minerals and “soap scum”. A Water Softener is the only system available that will truly remove hard water. Your skin will feel smooth and silky. Read more about Water Softeners.