Most of us do not think about the water we use or drink on a daily basis.  Often we turn on the tap, wash our faces, hands, and hair a never question the effects it may have on our skin.  Hard water has a high mineral content from calcium and magnesium which have accumulated when water percolates through deposits of limestone and chalk.  According to the Water Research Center, “it interferes with almost every cleaning task from laundering and dishwashing to bathing and personal grooming.”

London Oculoplastic Surgeon and Aesthetic Doctor, Maryam Zamani, shares, “Hard water makes it more difficult for cleansers and other soaps to work effectively, reducing your ability to​ rinse product and makeup ​off your skin.” By using even more product, it creates a soapy build-up which, in turn, irritate​​s skin and clogs the pores.  Additionally, using excess amounts of soap to wash the skin can exacerbate sensitivity, often resulting in acne, dryness, and even eczema.  Finally, tap water can affect the pH of the skin.  “Our skin is slightly acidic and acts as a barrier,” Dr. Zamani explains.  “If this pH is disrupted, it can cause a flare up.”  Because hard water tends to be more alkaline, it makes it harder for the skin to retain moisture and causes a dry, tight sensation.

Dr. Zamani suggests several ways to counteract hard water:
  • Use a water softener or a water filter, which will filter out heavy metals.  Water softener treatments remove certain materials from hard water by using lime softening or ion-exchange resins, making the water softer and more compatible with soaps.
  • Use a slightly acidic cleanser to combat alkalinity in hard water.
  • Try a “no-rinse” cleanser.
  • Use cleansers which do not include sulfates.
  • Eat a diet high in antioxidants to help counteract any potential issues.
  • Avoid substituting tap water with a micellar water or thermal water spray which, contrary to belief, many not make a significant difference.


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A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows an increased risk of breast cancer among those using hormonal contraception (from an IUD or birth control pill).  Funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation of Denmark, 1.8 million women, ages 15-49, were followed on average for 10.9 years.  Within the study, 11,517 cases of breast cancer occurred.  This translates to approximately thirteen additional cases for every 100,000 women using hormonal contraception (based on 68 cases found among those using the form of birth control versus 55 cases from non-users) on an annual basis.

While it was previously believed that more contemporary forms of hormonal birth control (with lower doses of estrogin) were less dangerous than previous generations, this study debunked the myth.  It also showed evidence that progestin-driven devices (specifically the IUD) had an even higher rate of breast cancer occurrence than traditional birth control pills (which combine estrogen with progestin).  Speaking with The New York Times, Dr. Marisa Weiss, a well-respected oncologist not involved with the study, shared, “This is an important study because we had no idea how the modern day pills compared to the old-fashioned pills in terms of breast cancer risk, and we didn’t know anything about I.U.D.’s,” adding, “Gynecologists just assumed that a lower dose of hormone meant a lower risk of cancer. But the same elevated risk is there.”


What is worse than the onset of an unsightly skincare emergency the day of a big event such as a wedding, high school reunion, business interview, or first date?  Only one which erupts during the holidays, interfering with holiday pictures, Christmas parties, and family gatherings.  That’s why we turned to New York dermatologist, Dr. Margarita Lolis, to help us handle these common emergencies within the first 24 hours.

PROBLEM:  CYSTIC ACNE BREAKOUT  Solution: Resist the urge to squeeze and soak the breakout in rubbing alcohol. “This is such a common response and people end up making the pimple worse not to mention scarring their skin,” shares Dr. Lolis.  Cystic acne is found deep beneath the skin.  If treated correctly (beneath the surface) it can remain a bump and not a red, scabbing mess, she warns. “The secret to destroying a deep cystic pimple is to get a steroid or cortisone shot.  Within one or two days of injection into a cyst, the steroid will shrink the inflammation producing relief of pain and almost immediate cosmetic improvement,” explains Dr. Lolis. If you cannot get to the dermatologist, apply a paste of baking soda with water then remove it within 20 minutes. Natural clay or a sea salt compress can also work very well (and quickly!).  Sea salt only requires 20 minutes to dry up skin.

PROBLEM:  HIVES, REDNESS, AND ALLERGIES  Solution: “When you realize a certain food, beverage, cream, or cosmetic triggered an allergic reaction, immediately discontinue use or consumption.” As for treatment Dr. Lolis suggests using hydrocortisone cream which can be purchased at the drug store and should always be on hand. Also take an allergy medication such as Claritin or Zyrtec or try a cotton compress of apple cider vinegar (a natural antiseptic and anti-fungal that pulls any toxins out of the skin) or whole milk, which soothes the skin. Read more of this story »