Why is normal tap water bad for our skin?


In some of the books on natural beauty recipes, I noticed that still bottled water is recommended to wash the face and this got me curious.  Is this better for our skin?  And what’s wrong with using normal tap water?

Chlorine water is drying for our skin
We all know that tap water contains chlorine which is a chemical used almost universally in the treatment of public drinking water because of its toxic effect on harmful bacteria and other waterborne, disease-causing organisms. Its extremely reactive nature makes it an effective agent for disinfecting water.

However, it appears that chlorine in shower water can rob our skin and hair of moisture and elasticity according to this source.

Numerous scientific studies, however, report that chlorinated tap water is a skin irritant and can be associated with rashes like eczema. Chlorinated water can destroy polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E in the body while generating toxins capable of free radical damage (oxidation). 

What’s even more damaging is that by taking a warm shower with normal chlorinated tap water, we’re allowing our pores to be opened up which actually accelerate absorption of chlorine and other chemicals in water. No wonder there are some calling for people to shower in cold water.

According to those marketers of filtered water, our hair and skin retain moisture for a longer time if they are not exposed to harsh tap water laced with chlorine.   Chlorine can dry our skin which sometimes cause rashes.  Using filtered water “acts as a smoothing agent for our skin which can prevent skin damage, premature wrinkles, and signs of ageing.”  I suppose it’ll be beneficial if we can use filtered water on our skin but I’m not too sure that normal water is altogether THAT harmful.  Perhaps it’s more damaging for those with sensitive or dry skin?

What about bottled water?
However, it seems that not all bottled water are not necessarily purer than water from the tap.  According to a 4-year study done by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), some of the 1,000 bottles of 103 brands of bottled water tested were contaminated.  “About one-third of the waters tested contained levels of contamination — including synthetic organic chemicals, bacteria, and arsenic.”  So it really depends on the brand of bottled water you’re getting.  I suppose if you use upscale brands like Evian, theirs should be of high quality.  

So do I see gals rushing out to get the Evian mineral water to wash their faces?  Before you do that, perhaps you want to explore installing filtered shower heads instead which would give you more cost savings in the long run?  And if you’re already using filtered water for drinking, those drinking water can also be used for your skin!


  1. cowsandlemonade says:

    I was reading about this as well, that drinking it actually causes a lot of health problems, particularly for women, the ‘chlorine’ disrupts our endocrine system and does dry out our hair. Don’t know how far I want to venture into the ‘natural’ remedies without getting into hysteria. It seems like everything is becoming bad. ?

    cowsandlemonade: Yup, I know what you mean…but this filtering thing is something I would go for if it wasn’t that costly. Hopefully, it’s something I can look at next year.

  2. prettybeautiful says:

    yeah i read about tht too. but then, how much can we avoid the use of normal tap water on our skin right? Diamond company has this ‘diamond spa’ water heater that claims to filter chlorine and etc, not sure if it is really true tho

    prettybeautiful: I think there should be some truth there. Anyway, I’m going to have a look around and see what sort of filters I can find out here.

  3. nyc says:

    just to share with you what i experienced. yah clean filtered water is good for skin. but once you start you can’t stop. like in cases where you gotta travel or outstation and switch back to normal tap water, your skin will have breakouts as it’s already used to being washed by clean water.

    NYC: Hey, that’s good information you’re sharing! You’re right. The skin could suffer adversely if exposed to normal water again. Definitely something to think about for those contemplating using filtered water.

  4. Edith says:

    We use a shower filter and a water purifier in our home. Helps to keep skin looking younger and helps give relief from dry skin. The drinking water is something called alkaline ionized water and it is the best tasting water.

    Edith: Wow, you’re lucky!

  5. Jo says:

    Uh oh. For me I’ve been using tap water for shower and cleansing ever since I was born. Good advice on using mineral water on the face, I definitely try it out but as for me I don’t have any water purifier or filter in my house due to financial difficulty I guess I have no choice but to continue doing so.

    Jo: Maybe you can try it just after washing your face, clean with mineral water mix with toner on a cotton pad. That’s what I do now.

  6. Theo says:

    Another important thing to note is that most tap water in the United States is hard water (has a high mineral content). These minerals reduce water’s efficacy as a cleaning agent (you can experiment by trying to lather soap under the sink, hard water has a difficult time making soap lather). The minerals can also irritate your skin. Flourinated water is another concern. Flouride has been linked to a number of skin conditions, including acne. I would recommend washing your face with distilled water. It is slightly acidic (pH is a little under 5) – which is a good thing considering your face’s acid mantle is also slightly acidic, and doesn’t contain chlorine or minerals. You will find that your face feels amazingly clean after washing with distilled water.

  7. Isabelle says:

    A cheap solution could be to let chlorine evaporate by itself. Just leave the tap water sit overnight and use it in the morning.

  8. sesame says:

    That’s a nifty idea. Just that it’s not too convenient for daily usage.

  9. Jason says:

    how is it not convenient, get some empty bottles and fill

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