How crazy is this. Where you choose to live could be effecting FIRST, your risk of developing eczema and SECOND the severity of eczema flair-ups! Saaay what? It’s not a question you’d think to ask when your perusing houses with an agent ‘eh! Does this house come with a risk of eczema? I mean if I were your agent, I’d totally have your back, but I can’t promise the same skin savvy advice from your Jo-blogs salesman.
HOW YOUR POSTCODE EFFECTS YOUR RISK OF ECZEMA
This is the find – last year a skincare company polled the demand for eczema treatments ‘n remedies vs. hard water. Guess what. There was a pretty pattern that showed if you live with hard water you live with a higher risk of developing eczema and if you already have it, a higher risk of eczema flairs.
They are not the only ones to discover this, back in 1998 Nottingham University fond the same thing in little’uns.
If you live with water and you are A-OK right now, you could still be at risk of developing it down the line.
Hello? Can you hear me? Yup – even celebs cannot escape eczema. The beautiful Adele recently revealed she developed eczema from all the watery activities that come with sanitising every darn thing in site that goes into your babes mouth…
The more you use hard water, the more your risk of eczema shoots up like a rocket.
So how the heck do you know if you have hard water?
Well if you pay attention to things like the inside of your kettle (is there white build up?) or your roll-top tub (in my dreams roll-top *winks*) after you’ve drained the bath water (is there a weird scum left on the side?) then you’ll have some good indicators that you have hard water.
If that is too much effort because your already curled up on the sofa reading this post, then click over to here and enter your postcode for a speedy ‘don’t need to move from the couch’ answer.
PRO-TIP: Heat speeds up the effect of hard water. Imagine how long it’d take you to brew a cuppa tea at room temp. Like seriously, longer than watching paint dry! Heat it up and your brew-ready in 5. Use hot hard water and your eczema risk rocket gets a turbo boost.
WHY HARD WATER INCREASES YOUR RISK OF ECZEMA
What the heck is this hard water malakey ‘eh? Well lovely, hard water is all about the amount of minerals you have in your water. Have you ever looked at the back of a bottle of ‘mineral water’? There’s that calorie type chart thing that as well as confirming you are paying for a bottle with zero calories *winks* you also get a stated dose of magnesium, calcium and sodium and a load of other minerals.
The more minerals there are in your water, the harder it is. #BellyflopTerritory
When you wash in hard water 3 things can happen,
- First your waterproof skin barrier gets a little diluted and it lets a little water in… which also means it’ll be letting some more water out if it’s not protected. It’s a 2-way street yo!
- Second, there’s an invisible layer of minerals deposited on top of your skin. This can irritate your skin and make you want to scratch like mosquitoes had feasted on you. It pushes your skin pH to alkaline which is not skin healthy.
- Some shower gels, soaps and shampoos just don’t foam or work well in hard water. That means you end up using more of ’em and they leave more residue on your skin. The ‘base’ ingredients in products like shower gels are ‘surfactants’ these dudes are not your skin friend, get a read of, ‘Why You Should Use The Tiniest Amount of Shower Gel.. Ever’.
All of that can leave you with irritated ‘n itchy skin. Oh and because that means your skin barrier is scrambling to repair itself, your skin risk of eczema is climbing that ladder.
— Cheryl Woodman (@HonestyForSkin) 5 April 2016
This happened to me when I went from a ‘hard water’ area to a ‘very hard’ water area all those years back when I waddled off to university. Literally every term I would go back I went through a 3-4 week period of skin irritated itchiness. Luckily mine didn’t sprout eczema but it was pretty uncomfortable. I mean itching is not a sexy look *winks*.
WHAT CAN YOU DO IF YOU LIVE IN A HARD WATER AREA?
Want to disarm your risk of eczema from sky rocketing? Thought so. Mix ‘n match these eczema skin saving tips like you were superwomen and hard water was your arch nemesis.
- Invest in a water softening feature for your shower. You can grab a softening filter that plugs into your shower, and says ‘stop right now’ to all those minerals that harden up your water. You can try an ‘Inline Shower Filter’ (which start from £20) or if your real serious about blitzing your water hardness, you can get full on soften all the water in your house devices, mind, they are pricey!
- Never let your skin drip dry. Always pat off any excess water. The water might evaporate off, but those hardening minerals are gonna be depositing themselves on your skin.
- Use a cheap body cream as shower gel. Ever used a cream cleanser like the iconic Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser? As your skincare formulator pal, I can tell you that it has all the same ingredients as a conditioning body cream. The same things that help water & oil to stay together in a cream, also help cream to ‘clean’ you when you use it with water. Oh & it’s super skin friendly & conditioning.
- Always moisturise after the shower. Your skin barrier gets diluted while you’re hollering , ‘I’m every women…’ & enjoying that shower like it you were in THAT Herbal Essences advert *winks*. That means your skin loses its hydration levels more quickly. Moisturising straight after the shower adds back the protection skin needs to super-glue itself to hydration alley!
- Use a balm to seal eczema areas pre-shower. If you have any severe eczema areas or sensitive skin patches then load them up with a body balm before you get in the shower. Balms create a temporary second skin barrier which is what you need for flared areas already making themselves available to your hard water.
- Always wear gloves to do the washing up! Always, always, always. Plus whenever your hands have touched water, follow up with moisturiser. Nothing better than a physical barrier between you and your hard water arch nemesis. If your hands can’t see it, it really can’t hurt ’em *winks*.
Do you live in a hard water area? Have you seen your skin change when you’ve moved in the past? And.. Oh my goodness if you’ve ever washed your hair in a soft water area, shout me some of that *winks*.
Cheryl Woodman is a scientist & award winning skincare formulator who’s more friend next door than bow tie wearing professor. As creator of Honesty For Your Skin her aim is to help you care for your skin in the best ways possible. She’s founder of the natural & fragrance free skincare brand Honesty while also hosting 1 to 1 skincare coaching to help you get your best skin yet. Find out more here.