Years ago, I made my way into a dermatologist’s office for a check-up. When I inquired about some dry patches of skin that were becoming more than a nuisance, I was told "welcome to Lubbock" and that my newly developed adult eczema was inevitable.

What kind of comment is that?!

Unfortunately, this chronic condition can be genetic, but it's also triggered by environmental factors. It's no shock that Lubbock's wind and dry climate play a big role in setting off this dermatological issue, but did you know that weather isn't the only natural element that could be making your skin suck?

The Other “W”

While weather is an obvious cause for eczema and other dry skin issues, an unsuspecting trigger that you expose yourself to multiple times a day is Lubbock’s water.

In case you weren’t aware, we have what's called "hard water." However, it's not just hard. It's considered "very hard." Literally, that is the official terminology.

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The U.S. Geological Survey defines water hardness as "the amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium in water." This is what makes our water a little cloudy when it comes out of the faucet and gives your hands that slippery feeling even after you've washed off the soap.

There are four levels of water hardness, with the highest having more than 180 mg/L of calcium carbonate present in the liquid. The most recent water quality report put out by the City of Lubbock in 2020 found that our average levels are at 240, with the maximum levels at 264. Clearly, these figures are way above the minimum threshold for this category. So why does all of this matter?

City of Lubbock Water Tower - 104th Street and Milwaukee Avenue
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Interestingly enough, research shows that exposure to hard water can actually worsen atopic eczema. Moreover, exposure to hard water early in life has been shown to increase the likelihood of developing this condition. This is likely one of the reasons why many Lubbock parents find their children suffering from this very uncomfortable ailment.

How to Limit the Impact of Lubbock’s Weather and Water on Your Skin

Removing environmental factors is near impossible, but you can limit your exposure. Thus, stay indoors on windy and exceptionally dry days, invest in a humidifier to keep your home’s air more comfortable, and shorten bath and showers times.

Additionally, when getting out of any water, pat yourself or your child dry. Never rub the skin. Also, apply lotion to problematic areas to help trap in the moisture. This includes after washing your hands.

Lubbock residents should also consider investing in water softener systems for their homes. These machines work to filter your water to remove the calcium and magnesium deposits that make it "hard."

While these are not permanent solutions to dermatological issues, they can greatly lessen the number of flare-ups that you and your children have, making life here in Lubbock a bit more comfortable.

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