How To Tell If You Have Hard Water & What To Do, From A Derm

Hard water is basically water that contains a high amount of minerals, namely calcium and magnesium. Those minerals can change your skin’s pH balance, which can then affect your skin microbiome (remember: Our skin microbiome prefers a slightly acidic pH of about five). “Hard water tends to make skin drier and more sensitive,” says board-certified dermatologist Loretta Ciraldo, M.D., FAAD, especially if your skin barrier is already compromised (which, alas, is more common during winter).

However, assessing your skin shouldn’t be the only way to tell if you have hard water; dry, itchy skin can stem from a range of concerns, after all, and it doesn’t always shed light on the shower. That said, Ciraldo shares a simple, at-home test:

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