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The University Star


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Students can easily combat hard water

Illustration by Devon Crew

Damaged hair and dry skin are the classic results of hard water. Hard water is high in mineral concentration and can have effects on one’s outward appearance and living space. Hard water is extremely prevalent in San Marcos.

Residents of San Marcos should be aware of the problems caused by hard water and the simple practices that can be used to solve these issues.

The city of San Marcos and Hays County get a majority of groundwater from the Trinity and Edwards Aquifers. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, these aquifers contain water that is “generally hard and contains excessive nitrate.” With its hard mineral content, this water is used in taps across San Marcos and Hays County.

Hard water can sometimes be detrimental to one’s skin. According to Skinkraft Laboratories, it specifically causes “dry, flaky, itchy skin [and] breakouts at times.” These problems come from the minerals within hard water that clog up natural skin pores, leading to a lack of oil secretion, exacerbating dry skin problems.

Thankfully, hard water is not a terminal problem, and its effects on the skin can be mitigated fairly easily. The most direct solution is to put a water softener, a filtration device that lessens the mineral content of water, on shower heads or faucets.

Quality water softeners can be easily found online, and while those who live in dorms and apartments may not be able to replace their shower head altogether, residents can still attach a filter onto their shower heads. However, these softeners are not cheap, with Guardian Water Services reporting that “most quality water softeners … cost [around] $100 for the initial purchase… [and have] ongoing expenses for replacing the filter cartridges.”

In addition, skincare professionals, such as those at Skinkraft Laboratories, recommend that individuals take brief showers that are of moderate temperature – avoiding both extremely high and low heat that damages the skin. In addition, it’s recommended for individuals to “[gently] dab [themselves] with a towel post washing … [and to apply] a rich moisturizing body lotion” while the skin is still wet. These solutions are affordable and efficient in addressing the problems caused by hard water on the skin. 

Hard water is also known to cause problems for hair care. Much like on skin, hard water is known to block oil secretion in the scalp; this causes flakiness and dry hair, which is more easily damaged than healthy hair, according to the Culligan company – a group specializing in water filtration.

The Hairclub, a professional group dedicated to hair maintenance, recommends that individuals living with hard water use “a clarifying shampoo once a week… [and] naturally acidic rinses” to help remove mineral buildup in the hair. There are specialty shampoos, such as the Malibu C hard water wellness shampoo, that are designed to be used for problems related to hard water.

The minerals found within hard water also cause problems for individual living spaces.

When hard water evaporates, it leaves behind a hard mineral build-up called limescale. This build-up, besides looking unsightly, creates problems for piping and, according to Tissino, “[effects] the flow and drainage of water in [one] sink, bath or shower, as well as clogging [one] hot water pipes.”

Thankfully, limescale is the easiest of hard water problems to solve. Good Housekeeping said individuals can use a simple mixture of lemon juice and vinegar to wash off limescale build-ups.

The water in San Marcos can cause many issues for residents, especially those not used to such high mineral levels; however, by using simple methods, the problems of hard water can be both mitigated and treated.

-James Phillips is an international relations junior

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