If you read last week’s blog, you know that there’s some debate as to whether it’s a good idea to wash your face and body with tap water. You know some studies show it isn’t, and others show it is. You also know the water in our taps is “hard,” which means it’s full of excess minerals and metals, as opposed to rainwater, which isn’t.

The minerals can strip the skin of its natural oils, affecting its balance and causing dryness and breakouts. It’s counterintuitive to consider that water -- the substance that makes your skin wet when you wash it -- is drying out your face. But we now have enough research to know that the idea is at least worth considering. 

A few weeks ago, we wrote about how important oils are for your skin, an idea that undermines the Clean & Clear commercials you might have grown up watching -- the ones that encouraged you to dry out your teenaged skin as much as possible, as often as possible. We know oils are good. The corollary, then, is that a good skincare routine doesn’t include hard water. 

People have attempted to solve the problem of hard water coming out of their taps in many ways. Some use distilled water from the fridge. Others have even resorted to using pasteurized milk to wash their faces.

But if you don’t want to be running back and forth between the bathroom and kitchen every time you wash your face and if you’re averse to the idea of bathing in milk, you could consider purchasing a softener, which removes minerals from the water flowing through your pipes. The problem with this solution is price. One unit can cost $2,000, and generally, running it will increase your monthly water bill. There are some less expensive options as well such as changing the shower head to one that can purify to some level (maybe not the highest) but it can help. You can also purchase filtration systems that work with existing sinks for your kitchen (this is great for drinking water, washing dishes, washing hands, washing produce, etc.) but they may not work with every existing sink. Investigate and explore what options are available for you at an affordable price.

There are other, cheaper ways to address the issue of your water. If you wash your face with soap, it’s being doubly dried out, first by your water and then by the soap. Consider ditching the soap and switching to a cleanser, and in the process adding a moisturizer, toner, and oil. All of these, if they’re designed with healthful ingredients, can restore the hydration to the skin that you’re likely losing. 

Some dermatologists recommend products that contain chelating agents, which bind to the minerals in your water, preventing them from penetrating your skin. It’s also a good idea to look for body washes specifically designed to moisturize your skin.  

Unless we’re really, diligently, meticulously careful, we can’t avoid hard water. We also can’t avoid pollutants in our air and exposure to chemicals; our modern, industrial societies are built in ways that make it difficult to protect our skin and health from enduring any damage at all. 

But there are a lot of brands (including Thyrst, but we’re biased) that work hard to ensure the ingredients in their products are restoring to your skin what it loses just by following you around. Stay thyrsty. Do your research.

Written by Allyson Welch

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