Water, in its nature, can pull moisture from the skin. Your natural moisture barrier, or hydro lipid barrier, consists of oils and sits on the surface to protect your skin from over drying. This keeps everything in balance, as long as water is the only liquid coming out of the faucet. Unfortunately, there are other chemicals and minerals that find their way into the water system. These minerals can be very harsh on your skin, causing dryness, irritation – even premature aging!
Among the main contenders are:
- fluoride – this ingredient is added to tap water to help prevent tooth decay. However, it is not necessary and has some side effects, including skin dryness and sensitivity which can lead to skin rash.
- chlorine – another skin and scalp irritant. this ingredient can also deplete the skin of certain proteins (like collagen). Believe me, you want all the skin proteins you can get – and you want to avoid exposing your skin to anything that depletes you of it.
- barium – an inorganic salt that is a known neurotoxin for humans. Used as a coloring agent in some cosmetic products (except in Europe where it is banned.) It is allowed in minute amounts by that are not seen as threading but is regulated and tested in water systems in the U.S.
- lead – the harmful (poisonous) effects of this ingredient should be obvious
- uranium – a known carcinogen. Human exposure is allowed by the government in small doses
mmm…sounds good, huh? Not really. Many consumers are buying filters and bottled water for drinking, but what about what goes on to the skin and in the pores during a shower?
Here are some suggestions for safeguarding your skin:
- Buy and use a shower head filter. Like Britta for your body. These will help weed out those pesky minerals and keep your skin feeling clean – not parched.
- Apply a fatty based vitamin C to your skin, like Topical C from Sanitas, post shower. Be sure to apply after washing your face as well. The powerful antioxidant, hydrating and healing benefits in Vitamin C will help counteract the aging and drying effects of fluoride and chlorine. For more information on Vitamin C, read “Vitamin C: Ingredient to Love“.
To find out the levels of these ingredients and more in your area, check out this great tool from the EPA website.