Symptoms of unfiltered water damage
Dry, sensitive skin
Dry skin occurs when your skin barrier loses water and oil.
Minerals and heavy metals found in unfiltered water leave a residue or "scum" on our skin, which contributes to irritated and sensitive skin.
Chlorine strips our skin of it's natural oils and destroys the skin barrier, leaving our skin dry and prone to infections.
Symptoms include scaling, flaking, peeling skin, skin that feels rough, tight-feeling skin after showers, itchiness, and cracks.
Eczema and psoriasis
Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that causes dry skin, itchy skin, rashes, scaly patches, blisters, and infections.
Showering in unfiltered water can raise the pH of our skin, which effects our skin barrier and in-turn worsens eczema.
Studies suggest that water high in minerals reduces skin hydration, increases skin redness, increases the level of cytokines, which are proteins that drive inflammation.
A 2020 review of 16 previous studies concluded that exposure to hard water could worsen symptoms of atopic dermatitis (AD) and may increase of the risk of eczema in young children. “Patients with eczema are much more sensitive to the effects of hard water than people with healthy skin,” said Dr. Simon Danby from the University of Sheffield’s department of infection, immunity and cardiovascular disease in a statement.
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin disease with raised, inflamed patches of skin that appear red on light skin and brown or purple on dark skin, and feel sore to the touch.
While there are no studies done on the effect of unfiltered water on psoriasis, the minerals have a drying effect on the skin and can worsen psoriasis and other issues.
The hot water combined with chlorine in your shower water breaks down the skin barrier resulting in a red rash on the skin. This may be itchy or sensitive to touch.
Chlorine strips the skin of it's natural protective oils, and, as a result, the skin can overproduce sebum. This excess sebum can clog pores and cause acne on the body as well as the face.
Hair and scalp
Dry hair develops when your hair doesn't get or retain enough moisture. Similar to the skin, chlorine strips the hair of moisture and causes dryness. Your hair may feel straw-like or look frizzy. When your hair is dry, the outer layer breaks down, causing it to appear dull and unhealthy.
Hair discolouration can be affected by the colour's chemistry, hard water, chlorine, and overall hair health and dyeing history.
In hard water, chlorine and copper can bond together to form a film that sticks to the proteins in each strand of hair, causing hair to turn green.
Iron and manganese content in hard water are oxidisers that cause lighter hair to look orange and create a coppery red hue for darker hair.
Dry, itchy scalp
An itchy scalp feels tingly and sensitive. Symptoms may include bald patches, dry flakes, irritated skin, redness, scales and dry patches.
Hard water can upset the oil balance on your scalp. For fine, straight hair prone to grease, hard water can dry the scalp where it becomes dehydrated and oily, as sebaceous glands tend to produce more oil to make up for the 'lack of it.' If your scalp is on the dry side, hard water can dehydrate it further and cause flakes.
Additionally, alkalinity in unfiltered water (pH7.5+) can disrupt the scalp's naturally acidic pH, making it prone to irritation.