Hard Water Ruined My Skin!

This Wednesday, I bring you a horror story. If you follow me on Twitter you saw on Monday that I posted about hard water wreaking havoc on my skin. I wasn’t kidding! Keep reading for the full story and to find out what you can do in a similar situation.

Spring Eye Makeup 2

The week my pores shrank six sizes–but still not super model condition.

The Dry Skin Beginning: About a year ago, I moved to a new state. Not long after moving there, I noticed my skin began to flake. I’ve had trouble with flaky skin in the past and dismissed it as something that was just getting worse with age. It seemed like a pretty easy fix–time to switch up to a heavier moisturizer.

And Then I Saw the Pores: About a week or two after switching moisturizers, I looked in the mirror in saw something horrendous: pores all over my face. Yeah, yeah, I know, we all have pores. But I had never noticed mine before. I had been blessed my entire life with the most itty bitty pores and even in my worst acne days, they had never looked clogged. When my breakouts worsened about two weeks after that, I didn’t even wait until my moisturizer ran out to switch products.

When Even the Best Doesn’t Help: I switched to a deep cleaning cleanser. I switched to oil-free and gel moisturizers (both of which are great for acne prone skin and both of which I have never felt the need to use before). I began using facial masks every week. My skin improved, but it wasn’t in the condition it was several months prior.

A Suspicious Break: In the spring, I took a mini vacation to visit my parents for my dad’s 60th birthday. Between my regularly booked week and then my flight being delayed then cancelled, I was stuck in my hometown a total of a week and a half. During that time I broke out a bit, having tried to trade in my normal cleanser for a different, travel sized one, but dang did my pores look good. They were back to their normal selves, something I thought I would never see again. That didn’t last when I flew back home.

Putting It Together: I stumbled on the downsides of washing your face with hard water quite by accident. While perusing Twitter, someone posted a video with a woman who mentioned how hard water had made her skin break out. I did my investigating. Both my hometown and the town I went to college in only have slightly hard water. Where I live now has some of the hardest water in the country. And yes, hard water causes clogged pores, which can lead to increase breakouts AND some people discover they have drier skin. Guess my princess skin got hit with both.

What You Can Do: So there are a few things you can do in such a situation, which I’ll list below, even though some of these ideas just aren’t going to happen:

  • Unfortunately, the websites I visit say that at home filtration just doesn’t work. The minerals that cause breakouts are microscopic and pass through the filters
  • Washing with bottled water: This is so Paris Hilton, I don’t think I can bring myself to spend the money to do this.
  • Opt for products that contain chelators.
  • Try this face mask from Lush! This might be the first one I actually do. I mentioned before that this mask really clears my pores out, hard water be damned!
  • Use a toner after cleansing. Beauty gurus say you should do this anyway. This helps clear out the soap scum stuck in pores.
  • Start bottling that less hard water. Yes, this makes me sound crazy, but I was going to take advantage of the long Labor Day weekend to visit my parents anyway, so while I’m there, I might just bottle some tap water to wash my face. To see if, despite the circumstantial evidence, hard water is really my problem. For science.

So here is my skin horror story. I feel a little bit vain writing this, but someone has to spread the word. Have you ever experienced horrible (or on the flip side-fantastic) skin when vacationing or moving somewhere else? Let me know in the comments below!


34 thoughts on “Hard Water Ruined My Skin!

  1. How bizarre! I always assumed the change in my skin when I moved from Portland to Denver was due solely to the elevation and lack of humidity, but it looks like I’ve also gone from soft water to hard. Thanks for the tips!

  2. I had no idea hard water could do this! I live in Las Vegas and our water might as well be rocks its so hard! Is there any research on buying a water softener? I won’t be pulling a Paris Hilton either but there are those water stands all over town to fill your own water jugs up with…that I would do if it worked.

    • I’m not sure. I haven’t looked into it, because of the only water softener I’ve heard advertised is for a water tank and I rent so I have absolutely no access to that.

  3. I feel ya on the hard water situation, I grew up in a place that had excellent water, then when I moved in with my husband, I moved to a new county that had horrible hard water. And now, except instead of wrecking my skin, it’s wrecking my hair. Sigh.

    • I think I’m going to fill up a gallon with tap water next time I visit my parents. If my skin starts to improve after that I don’t know what I’ll do exactly, but at least I’ll be absolutely sure that that’s the problem

  4. I have never noticed my skin get that way having hard water. Maybe some people are more susceptible to it? I have notice since I have been using primer that I get these little hard white spots on my face and am wondering if it is the primer with primers being made from silicone? We put so many products on our faces and we don’t always know what’s in them.

  5. hmm?? very interesting ??? I have been on a health kick diet / a different way of thinking diet, if that makes any sense ? lol It jus means instead of the same old way some people think & look at diets in that old way then find later on that the diet is no longer working for them & end up quitting BUT…if U already say&Think to yourself? no this (has) to be *MORE & start to RE-THINK? & say: ok,,, this now…has to be a….LIFE-CHANGE,,,& so with that way of thinking.? tends to….make a difference as opposed to jus dieting OK So onto the subject of (HARD-WATER) because of my new way of re-thinking & trying harder to watch what i put into my body….WATER…I questioned the water that i drink? & so some solutions of a (cleaner) WATER was to *FILTER,, & because U only Rent…like u said…it cant be done..unless the land lord wants…too & place 1 in & call a plumber in & re-route the water to the new water system filter hmm? one other idea, comes to my mind ?? hmm??? Its maybe ? not the best (but) ??? well, I,ll jus say it: ready-??? lol to…distill your water…I know yrs ago when my uncle was also on his health kick diet like me& also juicing,,, yes I also juice too…& he also bought a distiller to distill water to Drink….so…who knows???? that’s my little / long story of putting my two cents in lol P.S. Perhaps look into buying a distiller CR AzY ha ? but hey….one never knows??? plezz keep us informed & enjoy your time with your parents Kelly / the 1 who writes too much at times lol

    • Aww, thanks so much Kelly. I like your long comments. I’ll look into getting a distiller. Who knows. My lease is up in a year. Maybe it will be to look into buying a house then

  6. Very interesting read. I feel like I’ve only been in places with hard water, so maybe that’s why my skin has been challenging. Lots of things set off a breakout (especially fragrance and sunscreen). I do have to say that using the Resist BHA 2% and 4% from Paula’s Choice has finally controlled my pore clogging and breakouts.
    Btw, I can see maybe using a giant jug of Poland spring to wash your face. That isn’t terribly expensive. Good luck.

  7. It’s knowned that we have hard water at my place too. A have some redness too. Thanks for this review!

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  9. Thank you for sharing your story! It just goes to show that absolutely anything can affect the way your skin looks. I never thought about using bottled water, I will recommend this to my acne clients. I would also suggest using a serum or product with antioxidants in it to help protect the skin. Retinol helps to unclog impacted pores, so you could try using a retinol scrub/wash on your pores under a bit of steam for a few minutes.

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  11. Hard water is definitely hard on the skin V! Luckily I live in an area with relatively soft water but I’ve travelled for business to places like Japan and Singapore, where the water was pretty terrible – your hair and skin really feel the difference. Your skin feels kind of rough and dry afterwards and hair almost sticky.

    If you’re faced with hard water at home, an easy way to deal with it are shower water filters or softeners. It helps to get rid of the hard water deposits (magnesium and calcium) that are left on your skin or hair and just make showering an unpleasant experience.

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