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Hard water and acne

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#1 ms.brightside

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 06:29 PM

I don't know if this is a stroke of luck or if there's evidence that hard water can contribute to acne, but, I figured it's worth sharing if it helps just one other person. About a year and a half ago I moved into a new place and shortly after that my skin started going crazy, including my back, which usually only breaks out very mildly. I had huge, painful pimples all over my back after a couple months here. At the time I was pregnant so I just thought it was hormones but I my skin was still just as bad twelve months post-partum. I thought the face wash I'd been using for at least four years had just stopped working or something.

I spent a few months going through all kinds of acne products but nothing worked and the breakouts stayed consistent with a couple new pimples a day on my face and numerous back breakouts every week. My skin was extremely dried out and leathery all day but I'd wake up to oily skin and new pimples in the morning. Nothing was helping to balance it out and it burned and looked red all the time. For some reason I started thinking a few weeks ago about how the only time my skin started clearing up in the last year was when I took a vacation for three weeks. I decided that our hard water might be the culprit and, even though it might sound silly, I switched to washing my face with bottled water and a plain old cetaphil right away. Two weeks later and my face is almost totally clear of all the clogged pores, pimples, dryness, redness, burning and that nasty leathery/scaley look I was getting. Now I just have some red marks left and my usual large pores (nothing can fix that, I guess). My skin barely even gets oily now...which to me is REALLY strange because I've had combination oily skin since I was thirteen or so.

I don't know if this will help anyone but I just figured that with all the frustration some of us go through trying to find products that work and blaming all kinds of things that we put on our skin for our breakouts...we never really think about whats in the main thing we put on our face. Water. Hard water is tough on everything, even the water pipes! I guess it would make sense that it would be awful for the skin too. My back is still a complete mess so I'm going to try switching to washing it with Cetaphil in the shower and see if that helps. If it doesn't, I'll be 100% sure that it's the hard water.

Who knew something so simple could be what was breaking me out for over a year?!

#2 MichaelMorgan

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 06:56 PM

QUOTE (ms.brightside @ Apr 2 2008, 01:29 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't know if this is a stroke of luck or if there's evidence that hard water can contribute to acne, but, I figured it's worth sharing if it helps just one other person. About a year and a half ago I moved into a new place and shortly after that my skin started going crazy, including my back, which usually only breaks out very mildly. I had huge, painful pimples all over my back after a couple months here. At the time I was pregnant so I just thought it was hormones but I my skin was still just as bad twelve months post-partum. I thought the face wash I'd been using for at least four years had just stopped working or something.

I spent a few months going through all kinds of acne products but nothing worked and the breakouts stayed consistent with a couple new pimples a day on my face and numerous back breakouts every week. My skin was extremely dried out and leathery all day but I'd wake up to oily skin and new pimples in the morning. Nothing was helping to balance it out and it burned and looked red all the time. For some reason I started thinking a few weeks ago about how the only time my skin started clearing up in the last year was when I took a vacation for three weeks. I decided that our hard water might be the culprit and, even though it might sound silly, I switched to washing my face with bottled water and a plain old cetaphil right away. Two weeks later and my face is almost totally clear of all the clogged pores, pimples, dryness, redness, burning and that nasty leathery/scaley look I was getting. Now I just have some red marks left and my usual large pores (nothing can fix that, I guess). My skin barely even gets oily now...which to me is REALLY strange because I've had combination oily skin since I was thirteen or so.

I don't know if this will help anyone but I just figured that with all the frustration some of us go through trying to find products that work and blaming all kinds of things that we put on our skin for our breakouts...we never really think about whats in the main thing we put on our face. Water. Hard water is tough on everything, even the water pipes! I guess it would make sense that it would be awful for the skin too. My back is still a complete mess so I'm going to try switching to washing it with Cetaphil in the shower and see if that helps. If it doesn't, I'll be 100% sure that it's the hard water.

Who knew something so simple could be what was breaking me out for over a year?!


I strongly suspect that water supply has a lot to do with aggrivating my acne, but not particularly causing it.

When i moved from home to uni last year, my skin cleared up completely within one year. I attribute that to diet and exercise too, but the new water was well treated in that accomodation.

Then, when i moved home again for the summer, suddenly, i start breaking out like crazy. Since then i moved to another uni house on the other end of town and im still having problems with my skin. My time in London saw my skin get a little worse still, but i blame that on pollution too.

Basically, i think i've found that im acne prone, but with just the right water it can really help my condition. But there apparently isnt many "right waters" in this world.

Question - If you use bottled water, what kind, how big, how long is it in the bottle?


#3 Cecelia

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 07:07 PM

I'm thoroughly convinced that hard water exacerbates my outbreaks. I think there are a variety of products that you could use to treat the water. It'd probably be a lot cheaper than bathing in bottled water.

#4 hiding in the front

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 07:50 PM

i dont have any answers for you but...i am in the military stationed in north carolina..i am from florida when i go home my skin clears up..i was went home for two months and i was 100% clear. my wife moved to nc and she is blessed with perfect skin...well that was until she got in my shower soooo you might be on to something there..

#5 morrissey

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 08:05 PM

by "Hard Water" do you mean the pressure of the shower? or how hot the water is or something?

#6 ms.brightside

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 10:13 PM

QUOTE (MichaelMorgan @ Apr 1 2008, 06:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (ms.brightside @ Apr 2 2008, 01:29 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't know if this is a stroke of luck or if there's evidence that hard water can contribute to acne, but, I figured it's worth sharing if it helps just one other person. About a year and a half ago I moved into a new place and shortly after that my skin started going crazy, including my back, which usually only breaks out very mildly. I had huge, painful pimples all over my back after a couple months here. At the time I was pregnant so I just thought it was hormones but I my skin was still just as bad twelve months post-partum. I thought the face wash I'd been using for at least four years had just stopped working or something.

I spent a few months going through all kinds of acne products but nothing worked and the breakouts stayed consistent with a couple new pimples a day on my face and numerous back breakouts every week. My skin was extremely dried out and leathery all day but I'd wake up to oily skin and new pimples in the morning. Nothing was helping to balance it out and it burned and looked red all the time. For some reason I started thinking a few weeks ago about how the only time my skin started clearing up in the last year was when I took a vacation for three weeks. I decided that our hard water might be the culprit and, even though it might sound silly, I switched to washing my face with bottled water and a plain old cetaphil right away. Two weeks later and my face is almost totally clear of all the clogged pores, pimples, dryness, redness, burning and that nasty leathery/scaley look I was getting. Now I just have some red marks left and my usual large pores (nothing can fix that, I guess). My skin barely even gets oily now...which to me is REALLY strange because I've had combination oily skin since I was thirteen or so.

I don't know if this will help anyone but I just figured that with all the frustration some of us go through trying to find products that work and blaming all kinds of things that we put on our skin for our breakouts...we never really think about whats in the main thing we put on our face. Water. Hard water is tough on everything, even the water pipes! I guess it would make sense that it would be awful for the skin too. My back is still a complete mess so I'm going to try switching to washing it with Cetaphil in the shower and see if that helps. If it doesn't, I'll be 100% sure that it's the hard water.

Who knew something so simple could be what was breaking me out for over a year?!


I strongly suspect that water supply has a lot to do with aggrivating my acne, but not particularly causing it.

When i moved from home to uni last year, my skin cleared up completely within one year. I attribute that to diet and exercise too, but the new water was well treated in that accomodation.

Then, when i moved home again for the summer, suddenly, i start breaking out like crazy. Since then i moved to another uni house on the other end of town and im still having problems with my skin. My time in London saw my skin get a little worse still, but i blame that on pollution too.

Basically, i think i've found that im acne prone, but with just the right water it can really help my condition. But there apparently isnt many "right waters" in this world.

Question - If you use bottled water, what kind, how big, how long is it in the bottle?


So I'm not the only one and I'm not crazy? I had my water tested and it was one of the worst results the water guy had seen for a while, as far as hard water goes, he said. I'm no water expert, and I don't know the differences between bottled drinking water and water that comes out of the shower head...all I know is it's working. I just buy the 2.5 gallon drinking water with the dispenser on it, store brand. I put it next to my sink so that when it's time to wash my face I plug the sink and put just enough water to wash my face with. I'd say the 2.5 gallon container lasts me about one and a half weeks. It doesn't cost much...barely a few dollars for the container. I may look into some sort of water filtering shower head I think, just because it's not too convenient having to use special water to wash my face. But for now I'm sticking with whats cleared my skin up!
If you try it and it works let me know...I'm curious....

#7 Cecelia

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 10:33 PM

hard water = high mineral content

Britannica Concise Encyclopedia: hard water

Water that contains mineral salts of calcium and magnesium, principally as bicarbonates, chlorides, and sulfates, and sometimes iron. Hardness caused by calcium bicarbonate is known as temporary, because boiling converts the bicarbonate to the insoluble carbonate; hardness from the other salts is called permanent. The calcium and magnesium in hard waters form a hard, adherent scale on boiler plates, increasing fuel consumption and leading to deterioration through overheating. Home water softeners consist of tanks containing zeolite minerals or ion-exchange resins, which contain sodium ions that change places with the calcium and magnesium.


#8 ms.brightside

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 10:36 PM

QUOTE (morrissey @ Apr 1 2008, 08:05 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
by "Hard Water" do you mean the pressure of the shower? or how hot the water is or something?



I think it has to do with the mineral content of the water...calcium and such. Have you ever lived somewhere where theres build up on the shower head and you can see water spots all over the shower, even on your shampoo bottle? Most likely, it's from hard water.

I just found this article and it's interesting about the free radical thing:
http://www.dermstore.../article_83.htm



#9 whatarewethinking

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 10:51 PM

So....say i get a glass of the filtered water from the front of fridge and set it next to my sink and use that to splash my face a couple times. Would that eliminate most of the hard water impurity problems?

#10 Seekirus

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 05:46 AM

I'd say yes, as filtered water is pretty much what most of the bottled waters are, besides filtered water just tastes better. smile.gif

#11 Robynxo

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 05:56 AM

YAH YAH!! Our water at home is harder I'm sure. I've cleared up loads since uni, and seem to have worse skin whenever I'm at home for a period of time. Also my skin dries up tons more at home. I've always thought it was the water, but not done anything productive to solve the problem. Maybe I shall try bottled water.

#12 jaybin2

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 02:58 PM

I live in NJ where there is pretty bad water.... (northwest)

I look at my showerhead and it is white all over the place. I am guessing I have VERY hard water?

#13 junebug1991

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 03:04 PM

Besides all these minerals, tap water just isn't safe. There are so many drugs that the plants can't filter out - there are traces of antibiotics, anti-depressants, basically everything everyone is using that passes out of their body. It's worst to take a bath because your skin soaks up all these toxins, 10 minutes in the shower (or until just before you get wrinkly) should be safest.

#14 elijah

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 01:09 PM

I have the same problem. My moms house has hard water and everytime i shower there and maybe come home for the weekend i always end up with breakouts and it takes me a month or so to get my skin back to where it was. I never go home anymore for that reason lol. At my uni the water is hard and my skin always gets better showering here.

#15 theprinceofengland

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 06:52 PM

When I was house sitting my grandmas house they are on the city water and I am on.. well water at my house. And while I was staying there my acne cleared up considerably and I had no active pimples. And I had to go away for a weekend to another city and then I got back out and broke out. And ever since Ive been back at my house I havent been able to get the clarity I achieved at my grandmas sad.gif

#16 RatherBeSquatting

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 11:00 AM

I had this theory a couple years ago but never really considered it a real cause for concern until I read through this thread and researched the harsh effects of chlorine and mineral deposits from water. I was wondering where I might be able to buy good shower head filter besides the the internet. I live in Michigan BTW. Also for the people that said they broke out due to hard water was it just your face or your body as well?

#17 x__Tiff

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 02:09 PM

I noticed my skin breaking out more with harder water at our old place, didn't matter where it felt like anything that touched that water seemed to spaz out on me and form active breakouts just about every day.

Since we moved though a little over a year ago our current place has a water softener and I've seen quite an improvement in my skin! I'm thankful for it like no other. We've got some pretty hard water in our town, it's a rather nasty clean up when scrubbing off that build up. glare.gif

#18 jaybin2

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 03:04 PM

How do we know whether we have hard water or not?

I live in an urban town in Norther new jersey, by NY

I have some white buildup on the showerhead, but we owned the showerhead for months and months

#19 Ruthk

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 03:11 PM

I live in London which has got probably the worst water in the Uk and when I went up to Cumbria near scotland to my parents my skin cleared up within 3 days and i was not doing anything different..they have soft water ..the kind of water you dont need to use hair conditioner with ! my face was so soft and smooth it was unbelievable..so I agree !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

#20 chaosorc

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 06:02 PM

Thanks for the information.