Suddenly my face is much more irritated
Since I moved, I noticed that my face had a tendency towards greater irritation. By irritation I mean patches of red, flaky irritated skin along the sides of my nose along with dryness and irritation between my eyebrows. Those were the primary spots of irritation. Additionally, to my surprise, I started getting an occasional sort of cystic bump. The bump was not a traditional pus-filled pimple. It was just a red and sort of hard bump. The type of bump that lingers and lingers and lingers.
How to explain new irritation
I thought all of this was quite strange and difficult to explain. After all, I hadn’t had this type of issue for many years. For a very long time I’ve been cruising through life without much of this stuff. I’d get a little tiny white-head pimple here and there. The type that you could just sort of scratch off, and it’d be gone without a trace quickly. But, I wasn’t having too much of the red and flaky skin on my face. And, I’d almost never get those sort of cystic bumps.
Past facial skin problems
I’m not saying that my facial skin was perfect by any means! For instance, in high school I definitely had traditional acne pustules. That wasn’t a very pleasant experience. But, even then I didn’t have these cystic bumps. And, I also didn’t have much of the eczema or psoriasis or dermatitis or WHATEVER it is type of red and flaky skin.
Hard water and soft water
Let’s talk for a minute about hard water and soft water: what it means and why it might matter.
The short answer is that water is considered “hard water” if it has a high mineral content in it. Much more could be said, but it’s really that basic fact that’s our main interest. Different areas of the world have water that differs in respect to its “hardness.”
“Some of the minerals in hard water, such as calcium and iron, form ‘free radicals’. These attack your skin and damage healthy skin cells. Hard water minerals also prevent the natural oils in your skin from doing what they’re meant to do.” source
Hard water contains dissolved calcium, magnesium, and often, iron.
Is hard water my problem?
Is they say, “correlation is not causation.” Nonetheless, this is how the human mind works. My skin wasn’t irritated. I moved. Now, my skin’s irritated. I’m going to say there’s a connection there. Doesn’t have to be! But, I’m human, and this is how the human mind works. And, it works this way for very good reason.
So, all things being equal…the main variable that has changed, I believe, is the hardness level of the water! It just sort of stands to reason…basic common sense…that if your water now suddenly contains a bunch of calcium, magnesium and iron…well, it seems like that could be responsible for skin irritation. Not necessarily! I GET THAT! But, it’s a reasonable hypothesis I think.
From my reading, I see it’s also possible that the shower head has limescale and mold on it (and/or in the hose). This is actually a consequence of hard water. I’m listing it as another possibility mainly because it can be treated in a different manner (cleaning the head and hose).
There are guides about how to clean your showerhead. Additionally, there are shower head replacements. I’m still looking into the best option for me.
Here is a video that shows how to install a filtered water softener shower head by yourself:
Washing with hard water may be making our acne worse
A Guide to the Effects of Hard Water on Skin