Are metals in water damaging your skin? Here are 4 signs to watch out for

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We’re used to thinking that water is pure and cleansing, and who doesn’t feel much better after a long day of washing with a nice hot shower? But the reality is that the water in our homes often contains all kinds of dissolved minerals, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, many of which can be bad for our skin.

One group of these water contaminants that you may not be aware of are metals. Although most metals are considered harmless, they can actually affect the skin in many negative ways, including causing permanent inflammatory conditions that can seriously affect your quality of life. So let’s take a closer look at how metals can damage our skin and what we can do to protect ourselves.

4 signs that metals in water are damaging your skin

Metals in water are never good news for the skin. Some people may tolerate these contaminants a little better than others, but prolonged exposure will sooner or later cause skin problems. Here are four signs that metals in your water are damaging your skin:


The resulting dryness and irritation are often the first signs that something is wrong with your skin. If you experience sudden dry patches and your skin becomes irritated, uncomfortable, and sore, especially upon contact with water, it could be a sign that the metals in your water are damaging the skin barrier.

This may be due to calcium that has seeped into the water from old metal pipes and ends up in your shower or sink water. Although hard water is not necessarily a health risk, it can certainly be harmful to the skin due to the drying and damaging effect it can have on its moisture barrier.


Acne is another skin condition that can be made worse by metals in water. This often happens because of magnesium, which is another substance that, like calcium, makes water hard, abrasive, and irritating. Magnesium can also change the composition of our sebum, which is the oily substance that lubricates our skin, and turn it into a waxy, comedogenic substance that can clog our pores and lead to breakouts, according to Dr. Dennis Gross, dermatologist and founder of Manhattan. of the Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare product line.

Therefore, if you find that you are breaking out more than usual after moving to a new home or city, it might be worth checking the water quality to see if hard water might be the culprit.


Besides dryness and irritation, redness can be another obvious symptom of a compromised skin barrier due to toxic metals in the water. Iron, copper and even some more toxic metals like lead and mercury can cause sudden reddening of the skin which is often accompanied by itching, burning and even blistering.

Excess calcium and magnesium can make water hard, abrasive and irritating.


Flaking can be a sign of dryness and a compromised skin barrier; however, when accompanied by itching and redness, it may be an early sign of contact dermatitis, an inflammatory skin condition caused by contact with an allergen.

Hard water often contains high levels of chlorine, which is added to our water supply to kill harmful bacteria; however, it can also be harmful to our skin because it can trigger the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria that is already present on our skin to produce toxins that cause the immune system cells in the skin to react with dermatitis-like rashes. Additionally, one of the most common triggers of eczema in adults and children is nickel, which is also found in small concentrations in water.

Contact dermatitis can take a long time to develop, and it’s not necessarily something that happens immediately after exposure to an allergen. Therefore, if you suffer from dryness, flaking and itching, these could be the first signs of a more serious condition that could show up much later, so don’t ignore what your skin is trying to tell you.

How to protect your skin from dangerous metals in water

While there’s no way to completely rid your water of all metals that can be harmful to your skin, there are some things you can do to minimize your exposure, protect your skin, and prevent more serious conditions. to develop oneself.

Install a water filter

Water filters work by removing impurities, including metals, from your water supply and can be a great way to ensure that the water you use for showering and washing your face is as pure and clean as possible. possible. Water filters can also prevent small particles from rusty pipes from entering your water, which can further protect your skin from damage.

Product to try: T3 – Source Handheld Mineral Water Filter, $150

Get regular facials

This is something many people don’t realize, but one of the best ways to keep your skin healthy and in good condition is to get regular facials. During a facial, your esthetician will cleanse and exfoliate your skin, removing dirt, impurities and dead skin cells that could be clogging your pores.

Deficiencies in vitamins B, B-6 and C are associated with poor tolerance to heavy metals.

Additionally, estheticians are trained professionals who can notice the first signs of irritation, inflammation, or other skin conditions waiting to occur. They can help you take the necessary steps to prevent more serious problems from developing and can help keep your skin looking and feeling its best.

Have a great skincare routine

As with regular facials, having a great skincare routine is one of the best things you can do to keep your skin healthy and free from the harmful effects of metals in water. Daily cleansing, exfoliation and moisturizing can help remove impurities and keep your skin hydrated while helping to repair and protect your skin barrier from further damage.

Product to try: Dermalogica – Ultra Calming Barrier Repair Balm, $49

Watch your diet

Although metals in water are found in small concentrations, that doesn’t mean they can’t have potentially serious effects on our general health and, of course, skin. In addition to limiting our exposure to heavy metals as much as possible, it is also important to be aware of the foods we eat. Certain foods, such as leafy greens, including spinach and kale, seafood, such as oysters and shrimp, and certain fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries and broccoli, can help remove heavy metals of our body.

Additionally, foods high in antioxidants can also help protect our skin from the harmful effects of metal exposure by encouraging damage-fighting enzymes to improve the health and function of our cells. Deficiencies in vitamins B, B-6 and C are associated with poor tolerance to heavy metals and easier toxicity; therefore, supplementing our diet with them may also help improve our body’s ability to deal with metal exposure.

Heavy metal test (blood test)

Finally, if you suspect that you have been exposed to dangerous levels of metals in your water and are experiencing symptoms of heavy metal toxicity, or even just skin conditions that you cannot understand, it may be helpful to take a heavy metal test. a good idea.

A heavy metal test is a simple blood test that can measure the levels of metals in your body and can help determine if they are the cause of your symptoms. If you have high levels of metals in your system, it’s important to work with a doctor to develop a treatment plan to minimize damage and protect your health.

Final Thoughts

Metals in water can cause major skin problems, ranging from dryness and irritation to more serious allergic reactions and even permanent conditions like dermatitis. While it’s impossible to completely avoid exposure to metals, we can certainly try to minimize our exposure by adopting a few simple habits like taking good care of our skin, eating a healthy diet, and using water purifying filters.

Do you have any tips for protecting our skin from the harmful effects of metals in water? Share them with us in the comments below!

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