Skin Blog

Tap water:  friend or foe for sensitive skin?


Michel Le MaitreScientific Advisor for Vichy dermatology


While some dermatologists believe that tap water dries out the skin and advise against it, others recommend it for skin without any precautions. Which is right?

The voice of reason

Dermatologist Michel Le Maître says, “tap water should be used correctly. The important thing is to preserve the optimal quality of the hydrolipidic film that creates a protective barrier on the skin’s surface.” There is only one way to way to make sure of this: observe how your skin reacts! After washing your face with tap water, do you get a pulling feeling? Can you see redness? Does your skin feel tight?

Lime scale and chlorine, which are commonly found in tap water, can act as irritants and make your skin feel even tighter or appear irritated. But this doesn’t mean that tap water should be avoided completely. “Applying cold tap water to the skin can help tighten pores and give you a bright complexion,” Dr. Michael Le Maître advises.

Control the hardness of your water

Unless you live in the mountains, where tap water is significantly purer, you may need an alternative solution. If you live in a town or city, water softeners are an ideal option. They can help purify hard water from chlorine and other irritants by using a filter system.

How to care for your sensitive skin

Given that most dermatologists recommend cleansing twice a day, in the morning and the evening, it’s important to do it properly. If you have sensitive skin, you should opt for products that don’t require rinsing in order to avoid needing tap water. Consider using products such as Micellar solutions or a combination of cleansing milk followed by a toning lotion – the gentlest way to cleanse your skin. Top off your cleansing routine by gently spraying your face with a soothing thermal water to help dilute any lime scale deposits that were left on the skin’s surface.

Those who regularly apply eye make-up should also use a two-phase lotion to gently remove eye shadow and then mascara. Place a cotton wool pad moistened with make-up remover on your eyelids, then dab it and press down for around ten seconds until all the make-up is dissolved. For your eyelashes, soak a cotton pad with make-up remover and fold it over and under your lashes. Push the pad together for a few second, and then very gently slide it towards the edge of your eye to remove all traces of mascara.

Michel Le Maitre
Scientific Advisor for Vichy dermatology