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How Damaging is Tap Water To Our Skin?

You don't drink tap water, but is it okay to wash your face with tap water?


How Damaging is Tap Water Towards Our Skin?

There are millions of skincare products out there today, promising to cure skin woes and help skin conditions. We’ve seen face washes, foams, gels, balms, oils, lotions, elixirs, creams, serums, and etc; but no one seems to be focusing on an important aspect that comes before putting products on your skin: the water you wash your face with.

Across the world, there are many different places where the tap water is known to harm the skin. Some Parisian women only use micellar water because the tap water is too hard in the city, and some Korean women only use sparkling bottled water to wash their face (both are expensive and environmentally unfriendly). So why is it that these women are staying away from tap water?


an old chrome sink faucet tap covered in lime scale and sediment deposit

What’s in your tap water?

Officially, your tap water is pretty safe to drink and wash your face with. However, this is actually due to chemicals and minerals that are artificially added in to ensure it meets health guidelines. These added chemicals include chlorine- a disinfectant used by water companies to ensure hygienic conditions in the public water supply..

“Tap water is probably the simplest thing you can use to clean your face – but there are some drawbacks, particularly with hard water (i.e. water that has a high mineral content),” says skincare specialist Dr David Jack. “In certain areas, tap water can contain high levels of dissolved chemicals such as chlorine, copper, zinc and iron.” 

It gets even worse. There are additional clandestine poisons in our tap, such as lead and plastic microfibres that could be causing even more skin concerns. The former is thought to have found its way through old lead piping, and is treated with another chemical, phosphoric acid, by water companies in order to counter those harmful health effects. The latter is believed to have come from many different sources, including clothes made of synthetic fabrics, car tires, paint, and microbeads from cosmetics. 


So how does it affect your skin?

Whatever issues you had with your skin, it’s safe to assume that tap water is not the thing that you were considering as the biggest culprit. However, it could very much be the issue. “I often remind patients of the state of their kettle, or their shower doors” facialist Renee Lapino explains. “The same metals and chemicals that lend to limescale are the same agents that we’re leaving on our skin when we bathe leading to breakouts, clogged pores, blackheads and red patches, whereas the metal in the water will weaken our skin’s barrier function, which can cause irritation, acne, rosacea, eczema, as well as hyperpigmentation. Low levels of poisons in the water will damage our skin microbiome (our pre- and probiotic levels) which shows up as dry, dehydrated, dull skin that’s still oily yet flaky.”

In fact, if you are taking medication, have dehydrated or fair skin, or gut issues, you are more vulnerable to the elements as well as more susceptible to the effects of aging. “Research suggests that chlorinated water actually accelerates the aging process, similar to the effects of extended exposure to the sun which include pigmentation and loss of elasticity,” explains Dr Rekha Tailor, a cosmetic doctor and skin specialist. “Chlorinated water can deplete the skin of its natural oils and hydration which in turn can exacerbate skin conditions such as eczema.” 

Dr Ophelia Veraitch, a consultant dermatologist at The Cranley Clinic, explains that several studies have shown “an association with hard tap water and the development of childhood eczema due to the presence of protein, filaggrin, which is associated with eczema." It could very much be your tap water that is causing you these issues.



How can we minimize the damage?

In order to minimize the damage, it becomes necessary to try and stay away from tap water in certain areas. “We need water to cleanse our skin and boost our cellular turnover – every time we wash we are removing dead skin cells, germs, pollution, and excess oil and telling our skin to produce new healthy cells,” Lapino explains. “When I have a new patient in the clinic with any of the aforementioned issues I always first guide them to purchase a water filter. After your very first shower you’ll notice a difference in your skin and followed by an increase in growth of your lashes, brows as well as plump and soft lips. Your entire physique will be that much nicer because you are no longer leaving metals, chemicals, and hormones on the surface of your skin every time you attempt to clean it.” 

The best way to get rid of these contaminants is to use a Filterbaby Filter. The FilterBaby has a three level filtration system which does a phenomenal job in making sure that you will get the best water to use on your face. It eliminates many of these harmful elements so that your skin can be properly washed, without the need to worry about these chemicals and minerals. 

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