Helping People Achieve Clear Skin Since 2007

Helping People Achieve Clear Skin Since 2007

How Tap Water Causes Acne And What You Can Do About It

By Dr. Jaggi Rao, MD, FRCPC, Double board-certified dermatologist

Most people who experience acne have their own version of the particular causes that lead to their breakouts. Some blame it on stress, others on their unhealthy diet, or even on their genes and general bad luck. If you are fighting acne, too, then you probably have an elaborate story prepared for anytime someone asks you about your woeful tale of battling breakouts.

Nevertheless, there is one factor that most people dismiss because of its seemingly unlikely side effects. Because it is such a straightforward explanation, people tend to shrug it off as inconsequential to their intense, drawn-out battle with pimples. Still, it is quite likely that your acne may be caused by the very substance you use to cleanse it – tap water. Yes, water and acne can be linked.

Making a habit of cleansing your face daily to avoid skin impurities can be a good thing but unconsciously, the water you are using might be the reason for your breakouts.

Don’t believe us? You may have noticed that, for instance, your acne diminished during a vacation to a different region of the world. Or perhaps you developed acne after you moved to a new city? That could very well be because of that city’s tap water which your skin may not be used to.

We’re breaking down the effects your water type can have on your acne and sharing the number one thing that affects your acne—establishing a simple, repeatable skincare routine with proven results. (We recommend the Exposed Skincare routine, but more on that later.)

How Water and Acne Are Related

Tap water can cause skin-related problems in those with sensitive skin. More often than not, acne is caused by environmental factors – a much more simple explanation than beauty product companies would have us believe. As tap water is one such factor, it is useful to become better acquainted with its properties and the possibility that they may be causing your frequent breakouts.

Water can either be soft or hard. Hard water, in particular, has been blamed for various skin- and hair-related complaints. That is because it carries large amounts of minerals and metals. Specifically, hard water is often full of magnesium and calcium, which are normally helpful for your body, but can also mess with your epidermis (aka, your outer layer of skin). These particles can cause all sorts of unpleasant conditions. They have been blamed for more minor problems like dry skin and dandruff, as well as for major issues like severe acne and eczema.

Can this problem be dealt with? Some cities try to release softening agents into water pipes in order to minimize the problems that hard water causes for its citizens. Softeners help remove the minerals that cause you to break out. However, these agents do not deal with the potential acidic pH of the tap water you are using, which could result from the particular pipes through which it flows. Softeners also do not reconcile with potential germs that may be floating in the water, which perhaps happened to be too minuscule or not harmful enough to be detected by cleansing agents.

How can you know if you are dealing with hard water? Check your faucets – if they sport a light-colored, crusty material called limescale, then your sink or shower may be plagued by hard water.

How To Reduce the Impact of Tap Water on Your Skin

Don’t worry – there are various ways in which you can help your complexion battle hard tap water. Check out the tips below for some simple solutions that could help significantly improve your skin.

Boil Your Water

The easiest way to ensure that the tap water you are consuming and using to cleanse your face is good enough is to simply boil it before usage. No, we don’t mean boiling water before you take a bath. Even if the tap water in your city is hard and acidic, you can still safely shower with it. After all, the skin on your body is tougher than you think and hard water is nothing that a few layers of lotion can’t deal with. Unfortunately, your facial skin presents a different story.

Your face has a thinner, smoother and, generally, more sensitive surface. It is also more regularly exposed to dirt and bacteria, while the rest of your body remains safely tucked into your clothes. If you want to make sure that the water you use to wash your face on a daily basis is not bringing any harm to your face, simply boil a few pots of water and keep them refrigerated for everyday use. This method is quick, easy and completely free.

Turn Down the Temperature

Another easy and free method is to simply pay attention to the temperature of the water you are using to cleanse your face. The temperature you need to use on your face entirely depends on your particular skin problem, skin type, etc. You should use cold water if you need quick protection against a particular kind of tap water that is harming your complexion. That is because it keeps your pores shut tightly, blocking any access to your skin. Using cold water also helps fight under-eye circles and puffiness.

While cold showers may have their own benefits, it is recommended to use hot water if you, for instance, urgently need to make a zit disappear. However, do beware of the dehydrating effect of hot water on your skin.

Cleanse And Moisturize Your Skin As Gently As Possible

Never skip cleansing your skin, and if your acne is extreme, do this at least twice a day. Choose gentle products that won’t further irritate your skin.

Particularly if you happen to have hard water flowing through your home, make sure to support your skin by using a mild cleansing product on a daily basis. Look for a product with a low amount of salicylic acid to unclog and shrink pores. This ingredient is potent, so only a low amount is necessary to have an effect on the skin while still being gentle. We like Exposed Skincare Facial Cleanser because it combines a low, yet still effective amount of salicylic acid with pro-vitamin B5 and sage extract to prevent irritation. Plus, it’s soap-free and hypo-allergenic, so it leaves the skin cleansed without stripping its natural moisture barrier.

For hydration, we recommend oil-free moisturizers. A water-based, oil-free moisturizer will hydrate without further clogging pores. We like this Moisture Complex because it checks all of those boxes, plus it contains caffeine to help reduce redness.

Use A Filter

One way to purify your tap water is by using a store-bought filter. Nowadays you can find filters for all kinds of faucets and sinks, including for your shower. If this seems like an expensive option, make sure that you really need it by getting some actual data on the components of your tap water.

Dealing With Different Water When You’re On Vacation

What is worse than breaking out right when you finally get to that new holiday spot you have been researching all winter? If the local water happens to be the source of your troubles, simply wash your face with bottled water for the duration of your stay. This might seem like a costly solution, but might be worth it in the short-term.

The Number One Way To Get Rid Of Acne

Fixing your hard water is an important step toward clear skin, but the best way to get rid of acne permanently is by employing a gentle acne treatment regimen every single day. We think simpler is better, which is why we recommend the three-step Exposed Skin Care routine. Their Basic Kit starts off with just what you need to clear your acne in 30 days (or you get your money back—seriously!).

acne treatment before and after with exposed skincare
This Exposed Skincare user saw these results in only 24 days of consistent use.

We recommend Exposed because it works, and we like the company’s philosophy of using low levels of acne-fighting ingredients combined with natural botanicals. This combo helps clear up acne without irritating your skin.

By combining these tips to deal with hard water with high-quality products from Exposed, acne could quickly become a thing of the past.

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