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We all know that drinking water is the ‘elixir of life’. We’re reminded to consume 2 litres of the stuff every day. It gives us a clear complexion, boosts energy levels and removes toxins from our body. It’s a thumbs up for drinking water, but what about washing with it?
What’s in your tap water?
Your skin’s natural pH is just under 5, around 4.7. If your tap water is particularly alkaline with a high pH (hard water), it might not be the best thing to splash your face with.
We are lucky to live in the UK with clean water constantly available that meets strict regulations. However, to adhere to these rules, chemicals and minerals such as chlorine and fluoride are added to our water sources. There’s also the presence of lead through old piping in houses older than 50 years, offset by the water companies by adding another chemical, phosphoric acid. The most recent affliction in our water supply is plastic microfibres originating from anything from car tyres to microbeads. Not stuff you want to be washing your face with!
In addition, many areas of UK have what’s referred to as ‘hard’ water, or high alkalinity. Hard water contains a lot of minerals, such as calcium, magnesium and iron, which sounds beneficial if you’re drinking it, but when you’re rubbing it into your skin everyday it can actually be the cause of irritation and dryness. It can make eczema and psoriasis worse. Yes, tap water can actually stop you from showing off your natural beautiful glow!
I tested my tap water at home with a pH kit that I use in the I Am Natural workshop and found the results to be quite alarming.
Watch the video where I test my tap water vs organic floral water on YouTube here.
Watch the video demonstrating the results on the pH scale here.
Can water from your tap upset your skin?
The inside of my kettle is absolutely covered in limescale. My shower door is pocked with limescale after just one shower. If this is a familiar scene in your house too then you have hard water and you can be confident that your skin is paying the price for it. Those metals and minerals causing limescale are also guilty of clogging your skin pores, causing blackheads and red patches. The metals in the water weaken your skin’s barrier function leading to irritation, acne, rosacea, eczema and hyperpigmentation. Damage to your skin microbiome leaves an overall appearance that is dull, dry & dehydrated.
Chlorine in our water supply is accused of accelerating the ageing process; removing your natural oils and sensitising your skin creating a greater loss of elasticity & collagen…even leading to eczema.
If you suspect your tap water is causing stress to your skin, you might want to consider the mantra that many women swear by: “cleanse, tone, moisturise”.
Cleanse, tone, moisturise
In my 40’s my skin began to change as I entered the perimenopausal stage of life. The flawless complexion I took for granted in my twenties has gone, sob! Now the pores on my chin appear large and greasy one week, and the next week feel super dry and tight, especially after washing with water. During this stage of life I want and need my skin to feel good. As I discovered in my video above the water where I live is has a pH of 8. It’s hard and alkaline and far from the natural pH of my skin, so no wonder my skin is extra unhappy and changeable!
But… I love soap! I don’t want to stop using it and the wonderful essential oils it contains, but you can’t very well use soap without water. I also don’t want to ‘up sticks’ and move in the search for soft water!
So I have adopted, and adapted, the “cleanse, tone, moisturise” mantra to fit my routine. Remember, it’s ok to shake things up a bit and find what works for YOU.
My nightly 2 minute skincare routine
Step 1: I tie my hair back and using a cotton wash cloth and soap, I wash my face with soapy water, gently removing dirt, pollution & dead skin cells using a circular motion, then rinse and pat dry. You can opt for a soap free option by using a creamy oil-based cleanser like the Organic Avocado Hemp Cleanser. If you’re wearing waterproof mascara squirt a bit of this cleanser on a bamboo or cotton pad and gently wipe away your make-up. The mascara will glide off and be gone in a jiffy! NB. Once a week I give my skin a special treat and use the soap free Organic Cacao & Orange Sugar Scrub.
Step 2: After washing I use the Organic Orange Blossom Toner which is an alcohol-free floral water. Some people like to keep their toner in the fridge for a really fresh experience that minimises pore size, but I’m happy with it at room temperature. I spritz the floral water toner all over my face, and then then wipe away the residue with a bamboo or cotton cloth. I love the freeing release it gives my skin. I know that sounds a little ‘hippy’ish’ but stick with me. The toner removes the mineral residue from the tap water and protects my natural moisture barrier, eradicating any feeling of tightness or dryness. My skin feels alive and refreshed!
Step 3: I wait a minute or two for the nutrients in the floral water toner to be absorbed before applying my current moisturiser, the Organic Avocado Face Cream. My skin feels calm, settled and at ease. No random blotchy patches or redness. Phew!
Whatever your skincare routine, finishing with the right moisturising cream, balm or oil is an absolute must. Choose a high-quality cream containing therapeutic essential oils and active antioxidant ingredients e.g Vitamin C, will be incredibly beneficial to the long-term health of your skin, particularly if your tap water is hard.
I'm ready for bed now. Goodnight.