Clean Water, Cleans Better
Bacteria, heavy metals, harsh minerals, chlorine, pesticides, antibiotics, other pharmaceuticals, they are in your water and they ARE messing with you!
Its no secret that chlorine and other harsh mineral salts are damaging to our skin and hair even in small doses. They are really good at oxidizing and stripping the protective fatty layer off of microbes to neutralize them, making the water safe from gastrointestinal harming microbes. Which is important! BUT these hard water salts do more harm than benefit when it comes into contact with your skin and hair. Just like our microbe brethren, we too are covered in a protective fatty layer that creates a barrier against opportunistic invaders and damaging oxidation. This is the most common contributor to hair fall and an overly oily scalp.
Heavy metals find their way into our ground water via runoff from industrial sites and automotive exhaust as well as naturally occurring deposits that are present underground. Things like lead, mercury, aluminum, and arsenic are very common in our water supply. Heavy metals are able to pass the skin barrier, clogging important lymph pathways and overburdening your detox organs. Small exposures add up over time!
You wouldn't believe the level of antibiotics and pharmaceuticals that are discarded from our bodies every time we consume them, or feed them to livestock. Its extremely hard to filter these chemicals out on a large scale once they are in the supply too! It's these persistent low levels that wreak havoc on our microbiomes and disrupt body chemistry. Its like taking the incorrect dose for a disease you don't have. Reverse osmosis is the most effective method for removing antibiotics and most pharmaceuticals from your water and should seriously be considered as your main source of drinking water (we have several locations locally that provide reverse osmosis refill stations). As far as skin exposure these chemicals are less likely to absorb transdermally but they do disrupt your external microbiome which is likely what triggers skin issues like eczema, certain types of acne, and fungal over growths (persistent dandruff anyone?)
So What Can We Do?
First and foremost awareness is key! Read your city's annual water report, familiarize yourself with the specific contaminates in your area and consider advocating for changes in policy regarding the above mentioned sources. Water quality reports are conducted annually and are available on your city's government website.
Change happens at home, avoid pesticide and herbicide use, choose nontoxic building materials, minimize exhaust production, lean on herbal and folk preventatives to obviate the need for pharmaceutical intervention, and choose sources of meat and dairy that do the same.
Next invest in filters. You can opt for a whole house system like reverse osmosis or choose in line filters at your most used taps. Definitely most economical is at the tap filters running from $30-$100 each. A whole house system will set you back several thousand dollars. Each option, and there are many, has pros and cons. Personally I choose to source my drinking and cooking water from reverse osmosis refill stations and attach a multi layer filter to my bathtub and shower. I have been using this one from Hello Klean for 3 solid months and have noticed a significant difference in the health of my skin, fullness of my hair, and general well being.
Last and maybe not so obvious, choose skin and haircare products that do not exacerbate the above mentioned contaminates. There are several common ingredients that increase permeability of your skin or act as vehicles to cross the barrier for these contaminates. To name a few, triclosan or other antibacterial additives kill off your native microbes as well as the "germs" they promise to annihilate. Harsh surfactants like sodium laurel sulfate are also guilty of this and should be minimized. Remember your microbiome acts as a shield of armor! Chemicals in the propylene family invite undesirables in, physically moving them in and letting them loose on your unsuspecting cells. This is especially worrisome for pharmaceutical and pesticide heavy water. I've been loving the clarifying scalp soak from Hello Klean to take the place of my normal clarifying sulfate shampoo. All it takes is a few minutes to soak in and a good massage with a stimulating scalp brush to remove all the excess product, leaving my hair shiny and voluminous.
One last note, this information is meant to empower. Knowing what is present in your water supply gives you the opportunity to make better choices for your community. You have the power to turn this around, all it takes is mindfulness when we are at the store, pharmacy, city council meetings, etc.. Fear and blame will not fix the problem, so don't even waste your time there.
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