If you’re lucky enough to live in a country where you have easy access to clean drinking water, thank your lucky stars.
However, there are some downsides to drinking and using tap water on your skin that you need to know about.
So, here we go.
To prevent the buildup of dangerous bacteria in our tap water, which could cause illness, disease and even death, water companies must add certain chemicals to tap water, to prevent all these things from happening. This is a good thing, but for those with skin conditions your tap water could also be a trigger for your reoccurring eczema and other skin conditions.
There are of course chemicals that don’t have to be added to tap water which can further exasperate your skin issues, such as fluoride, but that is a whole other blog on its own.
Whether you are drinking your tap water or washing with it, all these different chemicals added to our supplied water can affect your skin. Also, as tap water travels to our homes through miles of pipes, other chemicals both naturally occurring and through accidental contamination, can also be picked up along the way. If you find that you are reacting to tap water, it is definitely worth considering how you can make changes that will help your skin.
The way your skin reacts to water, can also be affected by whether you live in a soft or hard water area. The University of Sheffield conducted research, which showed that hard water had a worse affect for those with eczema, than those living in a soft water area.
Here’s what you need to know:
Whether you live in a soft or a hard water area of the country, there are certain precautions you can take before using your shower;
- Moisturising with an emollient, preferably a natural emollient before water touches your skin is a big help. A natural butter or an oil on your skin before you have a bath or a shower can be anything from your kitchen: shea butter, coconut oil, cocoa butter, avocado oil, olive oil, etc. These oils or butter helps protect your skin by creating a barrier between the skin and the water.
- Once you are in the bath or shower make sure you only use warm water as hot water can strip the skin of its natural oils and also dry out the skin. Spend no longer than 20 minutes in the bath.
- Consider buying a shower head called an ionic shower head. The head of the shower has little mineral and negative iron balls, which help to filtrate and strip out some of the chlorine and impurities from your water. It is particularly beneficial to those with sensitive skin and skin conditions, especially, if you live in a hard water area.
- If your preference is to have a bath, you can add salt to the bath, as this really helps soothe the skin. In my household, we switch between using fine Pink Himalayan Salt, Dead Sea Salt, Epsom Salts and Sodium Bicarbonate/Bicarbonate of Soda. These easy to find salts help to soothe your eczema and skin. You then have the choice to use them all together or separately. Either way, using a cup of each of these in your bath will benefit your skin, instead of using over the counter bath foam which can irritate and dry out the skin because of the chemical ingredients and the chemical fragrance.
- If you’re happy to sit in a bath with cloudy water, then also consider adding Bentonite Clay. This is a fantastic detox, that draws impurities from the skin. It can also be used as a face mask when a little water is added.
- To dry your skin, pat yourself dry, then moisturise straight away to lock the moisture in…remember not to rub the skin too aggressively. I would suggest that if you’re having a bath or shower more than a couple of hours before bedtime, make sure that before you get into bed, you moisturise again. You are definitely worth the time you spend on yourself,
- Another option for those living in the hard water areas of the South of England, is to have a water softener fitted to the main supply of your water system at home. The softener works by stripping out the calcium and the sodium from the water as these irritate, inflame, and cause the skin to become too dry.
- Now as a last tip, one thing we do in our household specifically for my son and myself, because we can sometimes get dry itchy skin, or just as another way to treat the skin with care, as a preventative measure, is we create our own colloidal oats. Colloidal oats is used by those with eczema or sensitive skin because it helps to calm inflammation, create a protective barrier between the skin and skin irritants, soothe the skin and alleviate itching. It is also used by anyone who simply wants a natural way to look after their skin. Again, I use ingredients from our kitchen. Specifically, gluten free organic oats that we eat for breakfast. You can use a food processor, or if you have a clean coffee grinder, you can put some of the oats into the coffee grinder to make it into a fine powder, or just leave it as it is. You can either mix it directly into the warm water as the water is running in the bath, or I prefer to stuff some of the fine oat’s powder into the foot of tights, stockings or a muslin bag. With the opening knotted I hang the stuffed stocking foot/muslin bag on the tap or leave it in the bath where the water is running and let the water hit the filled bag of oats (or stocking foot). It’s really soothing for your eczema, and it works a treat.
- If you’re using colloidal oats, adding the different salts and/or bicarbonate of soda to your bath, then moisturising yourself with natural butters and/or oil, this should work fantastically well to soothe and protect your skin from the outside. So then all you now need to do is take care of yourself from the inside.
I hope you’ve found this useful. If you know of other natural tips that you want to share, please do let me know.
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