For several years, I had amaaaaazing skin. Radiant, glowing skin that rarely experienced breakouts was something that organically happened for me. I certainly didn't change any of my bad skin habits and I definitely hadn't swapped my harsh skin care products for gentle, natural remedies yet. In fact, for a little while I was known as someone with perfect skin and even though blemishes were very few and far between, I didn't count my blessings. I brushed off the compliments and secretly assumed that I had outgrown acne. Little did I know, water can cause acne, and my biggest problems were yet to come.
As it turns out, I didn't outgrow acne at all. When I moved out to Oregon, my face took a serious hit. Not that kind of hit, although the puffiness and inflammation may have fooled passersby. I couldn't be sure if it was the stress from spontaneously moving across the country and leaving most of my friends, family, and belongings behind or if it was simply my body changing. One thing that I was absolutely sure of was that my pores were unhappy and it was showing all over my face. I had a very serious suspicion that the problem wasn't stress — because let's face it, I was coming from Brooklyn. We wear stress on our sleeves and then take it off and throw it at strangers on the subway. No, my prime suspect was the change in water. Not only was my face suffering, but my already fragile straight locks were completely zapped of moisture. Eventually my face and hair began to adjust to the the new climate and water, but it sure was a rocky road.
Here's something I know now that I suspected back then: Changes in environment can cause breakouts, easily, and one major change that happens regardless of where you travel is what's in your water. According to SheKnow's website, US surveys have revealed that over 85 percent of the country's water is actually considered hard. Hard water has a high metal and mineral content that can make it harder to wash off beauty products, plus cause dry skin, acne, and even more serious conditions like eczema. Water softeners can be added to water systems in order to make the water healthier for drinking and body washing. Now, I actually left a borough known for somewhat hard water and traveled to a state with soft water with a more ideal pH level. Was it possible my face liked hard water?
Nope. Not at all. Another hidden factor with water and skincare is that even if your water is relatively soft and pH balanced, your pipes could be creating a more acidic level in your water can cause acne. That's not all: Impurities that are naturally present in water can also lead to excessive dryness and redness, regardless of how "soft" it is.
It's not a shocker that all water isn't created equal. While drinking tap water cuts down on excessive waste from water bottles and our bodies NEED water for survival, the quality of our water plays are large part in our skin and hair health. The good thing is that us water lovers can continue drinking water and reap all the benefits with at home filtration systems, should your water be less than ideal. Here are a few ways you can avoid letting water, one of nature's healthiest treats, get in the way of beautiful, clear skin.
1. Use Bottled Water On Vacation
I've got pretty sensitive skin so it's no surprise that if I travel even an hour outside of the city, my face starts freaking out. One thing that I believe helps ease the pain of change for my skin is using bottled water when I wash my face on vacation. This may sound excessive, but at the very least I chalk it up to mind over matter. You know your skin the best because you live with it every day. If you notice that each time you go on vacation your skin breaks out or suffers from dryness, try this method to rule out water as a cause for your problems.
2. Infuse Your Water
Personally, I'm all about infusing water for my face and my hair because it gives me extra nutrients and vitamins that regular tap water is lacking in. You can go for top-shelf treatments like rose water or lavender water (which is said to clear acne), or you can use a less time-consuming and costly method like infusing your water with baking soda or salt water: Trust me. Infused water is what's up.
3. Boil Your Water
If you've tested the hardness and pH level of your water and found that neither are desirable, you can boil your water and keep it in the fridge for safe face washing. Let's be real here, if your tap water isn't tasty enough for you to drink then you definitely shouldn't put it on your face. Of course, this can prove to be rather difficult when washing your whole body, but typically the skin on our face is more sensitive than the rest of our bod because it's exposed to various toxins on the reg. This especially applies in the winter when you're all covered up with only your face exposed.
4. Filter Your Water
You can get an at home filter system for your shower and really show that hard water who's boss. This is the most ideal way to ensure water doesn't stand between you and flawless skin. I definitely recommend testing your water out to make sure it's necessary, but if you have very sensitive skin and you've tried EVERYTHING else, a shower filter system is not as costly as the amount of cash and heartache it can take to get rid of acne.
5. Check Your Water Temperature
Here's the hard water truth: Hot water isn't bad for acne. In fact, steam is a great way to get rid of bacteria and open clogged pores. A hot compress on a pimple is a great way to bring down inflammation and redness. That being said, while I've had success treating blemishes with both hot water AND ice, I have noticed that washing my face with hot water strips my skin of natural oil, making dryness a very real thing. Since warm water opens pores, a colder water temperature will help your pores remain closed. Why is this good? You end up not absorbing any of the toxins that are naturally present in your tap water. According to Better Body Guide, washing your face with cold water can reduce dark circles under your eyes and reduce swelling. Here's what I think: Cold showers rule, even in the winter. I shower with hot water and then give myself a good cold rinse before stepping out. Believe it or not, I've actually gotten used to it and rarely have body acne since I've started. Just sayin...
As research on the correlation between water and acne continues to develop, often contradicting itself, I've found making mild changes and being aware of the water and environment around me helpful in maintaining clear skin. Chances are, not everyone is affected negatively by changes in water, but if you have sensitive skin that is often plagued with blemishes making safe changes with your water intake can only benefit your beauty routine.