Hard water is tap water that’s high in minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Hard water isn’t harmful, except the minerals prevent your soap from sudsing. Some people think that hard water is more likely to cause a rash than soft water.
Take a recent patient of mine: He moved his family to San Diego from the East Coast (good move this winter, no?) After they moved here, they noticed their skin became dry and itchy. He blamed San Diego’s notoriously hard water and installed a water softener in the main water line. It was costly, but did it improve their skin?
A recent study from the UK looked at this question: Does hard water worsen eczema? The answer was no, it doesn’t. Water hardness did not seem to have any impact on eczema, the most common skin rash.
What’s more important than the hardness of the water is the type of soap you use. True soap tends to strip the skin of its natural oils, leaving it exposed and irritated. Non-soap cleansers, of which Dove is the prototype, leave more oils on your skin, keeping it hydrated and protected.
My patient and his family didn’t get any better after installing a water softener (although he said they could drink our tap water without gagging now.) I advised him to change to a moisturizing soap and to apply moisturizer daily.
San Diego is drier than most of the country, and the low humidity can be a shock to skin accustomed to humid air. Many people who move here find they have to moisturize more often than they did back home. When they complain, I suggest they could alternatively move back to the East Coast this winter — no takers so far.
*This blog post was originally published at The Dermatology Blog*
Steve Silberman and Rebecca Skloot just pointed out to me an editorial from science writer Chris Mooney that has appeared online and will be in the Sunday, January 3rd edition of The Washington Post.
In the essay, “On issues like global warming and evolution, scientists need to speak up,” Mooney continues his longstanding call to scientists to take ownership in combating scientific misinformation, invoking the very weak response of the scientific community to the aftermath of e-mails and documents hacked from the Climatic Research Institute at the University of East Anglia.
The central lesson of Climategate is not that climate science is corrupt. The leaked e-mails do nothing to disprove the scientific consensus on global warming. Instead, the controversy highlights that in a world of blogs, cable news and talk radio, scientists are poorly equipped to communicate their knowledge and, especially, to respond when science comes under attack. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Terra Sigillata*
This year the topic of Blog Action Day is climate change, so I have decided to briefly mention the link between population control/contraception and climate. This connection is finally getting attention again. It was discussed when I was in college in the 70’s but became a political hot potato when China limited the number of children their citizens could legally have.
My roommate in college, KB, was an environmental science major. She and I had many discussions (arguments) over how many children a family should have. My mother had 8 children. I also had two half-siblings from my father’s first marriage and 5 step-siblings. She came from a family of 2 children. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*