A Word On Water On The Skin

Feb 4, 2023 | Skin Care

An important factor to consider when trying to achieve the optimum skin care regime at home is knowing what type of water is available from your tap, as it can greatly impact the skin health.

It’s such a big investment to purchase a comprehensive, high-quality range of skin care products to use at home, but it could be money down the drain if the water used alongside them is having a negative effect on the skin.

The Skin PH
The pH scale measures the acidity or alkalinity of a water-soluble substance. This includes the surface of the skin. The lower the number on the spectrum the more acidic, the higher pH number the more alkaline.

The natural average PH of the skin is 4.5 to 5.5 acid balanced, 4.7 is perfect. The average PH levels of tap water are PH 7. Tap water is not within the skin’s PH parameters, thus can disturb the surface of the skin and NMF (Natural Moisture Factor), the protective barrier which is composed of natural oils and moisture.

The consequences of stripping the NMF can lead to the sebaceous glands producing more oil than necessary in an attempt to re-build the NMF, whilst moisture escapes leaving the skin oily but at the same time dehydrated, even irritated, as it becomes exposed to nasty environmental pollutants and bacteria.

It is imperative to hydrate and moisturise immediately after using water on your skin, especially as water can potentially cause this PH disturbance.

Hard Water
Hard water has a high alkalinity, which means it can raise the skin’s surface pH and disturbs the NMF (Natural Moisture Factor), the skin’s natural barrier as described earlier.

Hard water contains high volumes of minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and other heavy metals. Whilst usually fine to drink, these elements may contribute to skin ill health such as breakouts, skin dryness, irritations, dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis. 

Oxidative activity of the skin occurs in the presence of these heavy metals, which in turn cause free radical damage to the skin’s cells. Prolonged exposure could lead to the breakdown of skin cells and the collagen and elastin fibres within the skin, resulting in premature ageing, fine lines, wrinkles, and lack of tone.

Soft Water
Soft water contains little to no calcium or magnesium or other heavy metals, making it much gentler and definitely better for the skin. The lower these heavy metals, the softer the water.

Check Your Water’s pH
It is easy to ascertain how hard the water is from your tap. Notice if it is difficult to create a foamy solution when using a soap-based product (PH balanced of course). The easier it is to create a lather with a soap-based products, the softer the water. On the contrary, the more difficult to create that foamy consistency, the harder the water.

Living in the central London, the South of the UK, I struggle to get a good foamy lather with my soap-based cleanser. However, when I visit my family in Yorkshire, in the North of the UK, I am consumed by bubbles.

If you want to be absolutely certain of your water’s PH, use an at-home PH Test or ask your water supplier. There are solutions / options to modify the PH of your water, or use alternatives as described later.

Water Can Be OK…. Providing…
Whenever I ask my skin care clients how their skin fares using water to cleanse, the response varies considerably from person to person.

Some are exposed to swimming pool water, which has a pH between 7.2 and 7.5, or seawater which has 8. These too can affect skin health similarly to hard tap water.

My recommendations are always to hydrate and moisturise immediately after exposing the skin to water, which will replenish the rebalance of the its PH. Also, include the applications of products containing anti-oxidant ingredients to combat the free radical damage that might have occurred from exposure to water.

These simple steps help to safe-guard your skin against the negatives of water exposure.

There are other solutions and options you can consider….

Solutions / Options
If you are in any doubt that the tap water is a skin stressor during your ritual daily skin care routine, then consider the use of distilled, or purified water, or even invest in a water softener. This would be beneficial for your skin, as well as for your hair, nails, even your taps and pipes.

Water softeners are specifically designed to eliminate harsh minerals found in hard water, such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and other heavy metals.

Water derived from home water filters has an approximate pH of 7.5, the same as tap water so not advised.

Distilled water has a pH of 5.4 and 5.7, so closer to your skin’s pH balance.

Other options are to use alternative types of water, such as organic rose, chamomile, or lavender water.

Viridian Supplements can support skin health.
Available at Emporium Treatment Clinic.

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Skin Care products I trust & recommend:
Dermalogica & Mesoestetic


Author: Angela Taffinder the founder of Emporium Treatment Clinic. A practising Aesthetician for 35+ years, holistic and wellbeing advocate and yoga instructor.

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