People who have hard water know the damage it can do to taps and dishwashers, but it can affect your hair and skin as well.
Hard water has its benefits; as it often contains a lot of calcium, zinc and magnesium, it can help provide the body with vital nutrients that it needs to stay healthy.
However, these aspects that make the water healthier to drink can also harm your skin by drying it out, clogging pores and causing flaky, irritated skin. This can intensify the symptoms of conditions such as atopic eczema.
Calcium, a common mineral found in hard water, stops soaps from properly lathering up and dissolving, meaning that soap residue is left on your skin, which can dry and damage the skin barrier.
This can, over the long term, cause blemishes, spots and other skin conditions that can be rather uncomfortable.
However, as with other problems caused by hard water, it is possible to use a block salt softener to reduce the hardness of the hot water you use in your shower, sink and dishwasher.
There are several ways to soften water, with one of the most common ways using an ion exchange resin that replaces magnesium and calcium with sodium and potassium.
As well as this, certain commercial treatments use lime to soften hard water, as has been used for over 250 years to treat water in the River Thames.
Along with this, reverse osmosis is also occasionally used, removing water molecules using a semipermeable membrane, leaving a soft water supply free of calcium and magnesium.