How many of us realize that the steamy shower which we all enjoy so much, or that relaxing bath after a long day, may be wreaking havoc on our skin and bodies? Did you know that the average person receives 50 percent of their chlorine exposure from bathing? Chlorinated water can have some serious long-term effects on your body, and your skin.
Almost all municipalities today use chlorine to disinfect their fresh water. This is in an effort to protect us from bacteria as the water travels from the municipality to our homes. While the chlorine can help prevent us from getting sick from bacteria, it also comes with a host of other health concerns. This is especially true when we are regularly bathing in it.
A hot shower turns chlorine in the water into a gaseous vapor that assaults our skin, as well as our respiratory system, kidneys, and various other organs in our bodies. When we luxuriate in that steamy shower, we are being inundated with this chlorine gas. That steamy water opens our pores and allows the vaporized chlorine, now in a much more concentrated form, to enter our bodies. When we breath in that vapor, it goes directly into our blood stream at a much higher concentration than if something were consumed through our digestive tract. It is estimated that you absorb as much chlorine in a 10-15 minute shower as you would drinking 8 glasses of that chlorinated water!
The human body’s largest organ is the skin. The outermost layer of your skin contains a dense network of protein and keratins that help keep your skin hydrated and prevent water evaporation. Your skin essentially acts as a sponge, and these cells absorb water and help skin achieve its “springy” natural shape. Chlorine reacts with these skin cells and leaves behind a layer on top of top skin. When you exit the water, your skin is still essentially covered in chlorine that can leave you with dry, flaky, itchy skin. It does this by stripping the skin of its natural oils and protective layer, causing it to dry and crack.
In addition, when chlorine is consumed in our drinking water, it doesn’t just kill the bad bacteria that can make us sick. It also kills good bacteria on which our our skin relies. Chlorinated water can destroy the intestinal flora-friendly bacteria that helps not only with the digestion of food, but with the production of vitamins B12 and K. It can also destroy vitamin E and polyunsaturated fatty acids. All of these factors have been shown to result in acne and other skin irritations, including eczema and rashes.
There is strong evidence that chlorine alone in our tap water may be causing skin conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis, rosacea, or eczema. Moreover, chlorine may be causing various health problems due to it’s possible effects on our internal organs, respiratory system, and gut flora. So eliminating chlorine in your home’s water supply through shower and and tap filters, or entire home water filtration systems, can improve your health and do wonders for your skin.
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