If your home has hard water — water with a high mineral content — as many homes do, you are no doubt familiar with its downsides. Does this sound familiar – spotty glasses, soap that doesn’t lather, dry skin, dull hair, stains on porcelain, and gunky-looking buildup around faucets and pipes. Hard water occurs when there are magnesium and calcium ions present in your plumbing system—hard water may cause a number of issues that while not necessarily unhealthy, can have a negative impact on your quality of life, as well as the health of your plumbing system.
Drinking hard water has no negative effects on your health. Even drinking “very hard” (<100 milligrams per liter) water is not considered a health risk. In fact, calcium and magnesium are important parts of a daily diet, so drinking them can actually have minor positive health effects. Very hard water could actually be a major contributor of calcium and magnesium to your diet, though it may taste or look strange.
How hard water affects your skin and hair?
Hard water can hurt hair and skin in two different ways. One: it tends to leave behind “soap scum” when you use it to wash. This happens when the ions in the calcium and magnesium particles combine with the soap. Soap scum is a sticky, clinging residue that can clog pores on your skin and scalp. Clogged pores can’t release their natural oils, which can lead to acne and eczema.
Hard water can also wear on your skin and hair for the simple reason that it’s coarse. The minerals in the water aren’t large or rough enough to actually scratch you, but they do generate some amount of friction. This friction can rub away at your hair and skin, distressing and drying it out over time. Using it to bathe may result in a drier scalp, dry or broken out skin, and skin or scalp discomfort.
Can drinking hard water cause health problems?
Drinking hard water is generally safe. In fact, it may actually have beneficial health effects. The benefits of hard water include fulfilling your dietary needs of essential minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. Several studies have reported that calcium and magnesium in drinking water have a dose-dependent protective effect when it comes to cardiovascular disease. There is also some evidence that calcium and magnesium in drinking water may help protect against gastric, colon, rectal cancer, and pancreatic cancer, and that magnesium may help protect against esophageal and ovarian cancer. Hard water may also serve a protective role against atherosclerosis in children and teens.
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Basically, while hard water can be hard on appliances and pipes, it is not hard on the body, and can actually give the daily intake of calcium and magnesium a nice little boost.