Water & your skin

After a recent trip to Turkey, I discovered the effect that water can have on your skin. In particular, salt water, and “hard” and “soft” water. Being in London for the last six months has caused my usual summer ocean swimming habits to take a steep downward plunge. So, when I swam off the side of a Turkish goulet for a week, I realised what my skin had been missing. For the first time in half a year, it was completely clear, baby soft, and looked visibly younger.

My skin has suffered since I moved to London in February, and I recently found out the possible reason for this. A friend who accompanied me on this trip advised me that London has hard water – water than contains extra metals than usual. The conclusions from this trip went as follows: salt water = good, hard water = bad, too many J├Ągerbombs = me jumping off a boat fully clothed. So, why do salt water and hard water affect our skin the way they do?

Salt water

Salt water can be great for oily, acne-prone skin, as it turns out. It is a physical exfoliant that can work to clean your pores and reduce excess oil production. Your skin can also feel softer, smoother, and more bright as a result, due to these exfoliating effects. It doesn’t stop there. Magnesium, a mineral found in salt water, helps to lower inflammation and redness. With that being said, I’m not about to go and run a daily salt water bath, now that I’m back in London. I think I’ll stick to the ocean. For those with dry and sensitive skin, it may be best to stay away – salt water can be drying and irritating for some skin types.

Hard water

Ah, hard water. You could be the villain of my time abroad. Hard water – found in your taps at home, if you are in certain locations (London, I’m looking at you) – is water that contains hard metal buildup. This water causes damage to your skin – we’re talking irritation, inflammation, and lasting disruptions to your complexion. What we want for our skin, ideally, is soft water. This type of water contains low concentrations of these minerals and is much more gentle and suitable for use. Although it’s hard to avoid the water streaming out of our taps and showers, there are solutions. Implementing shower filters or opting for certain cleansers that combat hard water are the best options.

It’s important to keep an eye out for environmental factors when thinking about skincare. It’s not always about what products you use. All I can say is, if you have oily skin and regular access to a beach, please for the love of all that is good in the world, go swimming every chance you get. And I will happily live through you. And / or move to Brighton. Still haven’t decided yet.


Kait x

Cover photo by Andr├ęs Ladera