Our skin is our primary defense against the world's environmental hazards. While it keeps us healthy, it’s also a signal to others of our health and well-being, as it’s the first thing people see when they meet us.
When our skin glows, we stand out. Unfortunately, blemishes and pimples also stand out. For many, skin conditions like acne and eczema can cause physical discomfort, lack of confidence, and even strain our social lives.
While acne is simple to understand on the surface, it can be challenging to treat and has many causes. For people with acne-prone skin, one possible cause could be the impurities in tap water.
With people all over the internet swearing by their water filters and water softeners as the best thing they’ve done for their acne, we decided to take a deeper look. This article will address the popular question, “Can a water filter clear my acne?”
And, of course, the answer is maybe. Let’s explore what acne is, its major known causes, and how impurities in your tap water could further irritate skin issues.
Acne occurs when natural oils and dead skin cells clog a hair follicle under otherwise healthy skin. The clogged pores get irritated, causing lesions and pimples to form. These skin irritations usually develop on the face, chest, back, and shoulders.
Once the oils and skin cells build up, bacteria can grow inside the pore, which is inflammatory to the surrounding skin. These bacteria can spread under the skin as pores break down, causing further damage to your skin health.
Acne breakouts are a common problem that no one is immune to. While they can strike at any age, skin issues like these are most likely to pop up during our teenage and young adult years. Usually, males are more susceptible during the teen years, and females deal with it more as young adults.
Acne and all of its causes aren’t fully understood. The mechanical cause is the pores becoming clogged with natural oil (sebum), dead skin, and bacteria. The reason it happens is less cut and dry.
In puberty and pregnancy, it is thought that hormone changes can cause the sebaceous glands to increase in size and activity. These glands secrete the natural oils meant to fight dry skin, but when they aren’t released, they can wreak havoc under the skin.
Hormones can also be affected by changes in diet, exercise, stress, and sleep cycles, among other things, but many of these are not thought of as causes of acne. However, they may irritate an existing condition.
It’s also thought that some medications, as well as family history, can play a role in causing acne.
Keeping your skin clean and hydrated while minimizing irritation is a common recommendation for reducing your chance of acne breakouts.
A quick search will point you to thousands of articles and social media posts claiming that adding a water filter cleared up a lifetime of acne when nothing else worked. Some of these are well-designed ad campaigns, while others appear quite sincere. Currently, there is no scientific evidence that shows acne being successfully treated with the use of a filter system, but that doesn’t mean that a water filter can’t help with your skincare journey.
Unfiltered water is filled with contaminants that could contribute to skin problems. These include chlorine, heavy metals, hard water minerals like calcium and magnesium, pesticides, fluoride, sediment, and more.
Most drinking water supplies today are disinfected with chlorine which is known by dermatologists to cause skin dryness. Sediment and heavy metals can irritate your skin and clog your pores.
But the biggest culprit of all is probably hard water minerals.
Water hardness is a measure of the concentration of hard water minerals (calcium and magnesium) that are found in water. The higher the concentration, the harder your water is.
Hard water minerals are dissolved and picked up when groundwater passes over rocks and soil on its way to your municipal water supplier.
While these minerals aren’t bad for you to ingest, they can cause a lot of problems in your home. They clog your pipes, get stuck on your surfaces, strain your appliances, ruin your clothes, and even damage your skin. Eczema, for instance, is now known to be caused in some cases by hard water.
Not only can these minerals clog your pores on their own, but they can dry your skin and even change the pH balance of your skin. Hard water is more alkaline than your skin, which is meant to be a little acidic. Making your skin more alkaline can make it more susceptible to bacteria growth.
If you have hard water like many people in the United States, you’ve most likely also noticed your soap doesn’t lather that well unless you use a lot of it. This is because the hard water minerals combine with the soap in just a few seconds to create the gunk we know as soap scum.
This scum coats your skin and can clog your pores. And as you know, acne is caused by clogged pores.
As with water filters, there isn’t a lot of study on the topic, but it does seem to be a pretty widely held belief by many dermatologists that soft water is best for your skin.
By eliminating hard water minerals that tend to dry your skin, alter your pH levels, create soap scum buildup, and make skin care products like lotion less effective, a water softener could potentially lower the occurrences or severity of acne breakouts. This could be especially true if your water is also filtered for other chemicals and skin-drying culprits like chlorine.
An All-In-One Whole Home Filter and Water Softener Combo removes hard water minerals and skin-irritating contaminants like chlorine from every tap and shower in your home.
It’s important to look at what poor-quality water means for your skin if you’re trying to answer the question, “Can a water filter clear my acne?”.
Poor-quality water often contains chemicals that can dry or damage your skin and make it unpleasant to drink. Your skin needs to stay hydrated, and while creams and lotions can help, the primary way your body hydrates your skin is by drinking water.
Your body is over half water, and each of the trillions of processes your body does each day requires fresh water to get it done. In addition to eliminating toxins, being properly hydrated helps your skin and immune system fight inflammation. It’s also vital for clearing dead skin cells, a primary cause of acne.
Keeping your body and skin properly hydrated keeps your skin smooth and elastic. Dry, cracked skin has a harder time keeping out germs and irritants, including bacteria.
If your poor water quality is irritating your skin or causing you to not properly hydrate your body, it could contribute to your skin problems.
The skin on your face can be sensitive. Washing your face in lukewarm water that has been filtered to remove drying chemicals like chlorine and chloramines is best. It’s also a good idea to use soft water to avoid clogging your pores or throwing off the pH balance of your skin, which could encourage bacteria growth.
A shower head filter like the Rainshower Restore Shower Filter can remove 90% of skin-drying chemicals like chlorine from your shower water. Keeping your skin well hydrated can protect it from damage. Healthy skin will keep out irritants while staying smoother and younger-looking. It will also likely lower the chances of acne breakouts.
Acne is a common skin condition that plagues many people but isn’t yet fully understood. It happens when a hair follicle gets clogged by dead skin cells and natural oil, allowing bacteria to grow inside the pore. Severe acne can take a physical and emotional toll on those who deal with it, especially if they can’t find a cure.
There's been a lot said about the effects of filtered water on skin conditions like acne but not a lot of research to back it up. Although thousands of people on the internet swear by it, the lack of research makes it a little challenging to definitively answer a question like, “Can a water filter clear my acne?”
What we can say is that many dermatologists agree that hard water minerals and drying chemicals like chlorine can leave your skin worse off than fresh filtered soft water. That’s enough for us.
If you’re ready to reap the benefits of top-quality soft water, HomeWater can help.
Our UPSTREAM™ 4-Stage Whole Home Water Filter protects every faucet and shower in your whole house from contaminants like particulates, pesticides, heavy metals, chlorine, chloramines, volatile organic compounds, PFOS/PFAS, microplastics, and more. Add a salt-free water conditioner to get rid of your hard water problems too.
Take our Filter Quiz to get the best water filtration system for your home.