When it comes to locking down a skin care regimen, there are plenty of things to take into consideration: the environment, one’s skin type, and, as it turns out, the type of water running through the faucet.

The question of hard versus soft water for skin isn’t one we discuss often, but it makes a big difference in how products work, what products you need, and even certain skin conditions that might start to creep up because of hard water.

Here is why: Hard water contains certain metals like calcium, copper, magnesium, and lead that build up and act like free radicals when they hit your complexion. So, despite well thought-out skin care plans to fend off or fight outside pollutions in our world from your skin care protocol, hard water is introducing problems onto your complexion. 

The good news is that knowing what type of water you have, and adjusting that water, can safeguard your skin care routine.

Hard water is caused by calcium and magnesium buildup in the tap water, and that causes damage to your skin because those metals are rough on your complexion. Hard water and chlorine dry out the skin and causes your skin to lose luster and might have bad long-term effects on your skin. 

Hard water minerals build up on your complexion to disrupt proper function of your pores and outer skin layers. These hard water mineral build ups can lead to inflammation and irritation of your skin. This buildup of hard water minerals is particularly worrisome if you suffer with dry skin conditions or conditions like eczema. 

In short, hard water makes up a barrier on your skin, preventing natural body oils from working, and leaving your skin vulnerable.

If you have soft water, this means calcium and magnesium are removed and replaced with softer minerals to allow natural body oils to work.

When you bathe with soft water, it can leave your skin with a slippery feeling. People tend to mistake this for leftover soap residue and react by over-washing their skin. But in fact, it is your natural body oils coming out to make for a softer, silky, clean complexion.

Local PSD annual tap water quality test results are public record and posted on each PSD’s website. You can also research your tap water supply on EWG’s National Tap Water Database at ewg.org/tapwater. 

Regardless of your tap water source, we recommend having it tested at the kitchen sink to ensure your family has high quality, safe water.  And when choosing a filter for your home, make sure the filter is certified to remove any contaminants or hardness found in your tap water.

For more information on how you can safeguard your home’s water supply, visit the Water Quality Association at wqa.org or call a local water treatment professional.

Chris Lane is the owner of Culligan Water Conditioning of the Lowcountry, serving Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton counties. culliganhhi.com