Sunday, November 4, 2012

Filter Your Shower Water to Reduce Toxins & Improve Skin & Hair Health

Well, I'm back...back to expose one more area of your home where chemicals might be lurking. Sometimes I feel like a "Green Ghostbuster" as I research, question and learn more about the things I do on a daily basis and if they contain any toxins. Some people (aka my husband) may call it an obsession, I call it a hobby. ( : Once I find an area that contains a toxin, I aim, shoot and resolve the threat... okay well I usually just find a green alternative, but the other way sounds much more exciting!



Now I've already shed some light on the toxins in traditional soap and personal care products, the dust and dirt on your shoes, and Teflon in cookware, and BPA in plastic water bottles, so you're head may be spinning. But today I'm going to harness my inner-Erin Brockovich and tell you about one more area that needs some inspection...your shower. We all like a nice, long, hot shower but did you know that one nasty little chemical may be lurking in your shower water? This little fella can cause dry skin, dry and unruly hair, and increased toxin load in the body?  What is it you may ask? It's chlorine.

Chlorine is used to treat public water supplies and kill bacteria, microorganisims, and other germs...which is a good thing. But trouble we run into is that it's not so kind to our body, especially our skin. While in the shower, our pores are open and much more absorbent to the chlorine. Did you know that your body can absorb more chlorine in 1 minute in the shower than it can drinking 8 glasses of the same water?! (source)

What's so bad about chlorine anyways?
Getting water clean is about all that chlorine has going for it. Once it hits our skin, side effects start to rear their ugly head in the form of dry and irritated skin, dry and damaged hair, dry scalp and dandruff, and even eye irritation. Unfortunately chlorine's rap sheet gets even worse because when vapor from the warm shower water is released into the air, so is chlorine. This lovely chlorine-mist then gets absorbed into our lungs and sinuses, which could aggravate asthma and allergies. (read more here)


What can we do about it?

Rest assured my fellow "Green Ghostbusters," the answer to a greener, healthier shower or bath is very simple, we just have to filter our shower water. To do this all you need is a shower filter. A few years ago, I came across the Showerwise Deluxe Shower Head ($59) and I have been using it ever since.
My Showerwise Shower Filter (big portion) and shower
head (smaller portion).

Once a year, I buy a replacement filter for ($33 ) and I'm good to go for another year with my clean, filtered water.
What a replacement filter looks like...

In today's video, I will show you how to install the shower filter and more reasons as to how it can improve your health...



Benefits of using a shower head:
  • Softer, less irritated skin
  • Softer and more moisturized, less dried out hair
  • Skin feels smoother during the shower...silky-like
  • Water smells sweeter
  • Peace of mind knowing I'm not breathing in or absorbing toxins from the water
  • With the Showerwise Filter other chemicals and toxins are removed like: lead, mercury, hydrogen sulfide, and iron. The water is cleaner since bacteria, fungus, and mildew are inhibited from growing.
Talk about being sprayed with benefits instead of toxins...
love it!
Now this is just one type of shower filter, there are tons on the market. So many in fact you may get a little dizzy just looking at them all. But you really just want to make sure it removes at least 90% of the chlorine from the water, and I always like to look at the reviews (sometimes those just make you even more confused). I say go for what works for your price range, and be sure to check how often you have to change  the filter and how much the filter costs.

My Showerwise Filter is sort of right in the middle, but here's a few other alternatives that I found based on my own research and some reviews from Amazon...

For a cheaper shower head: 
Sprite Slim-Line Universal Shower Filter-No Head ($17) replacement filter ($12)
Brandon uses this one in his shower, since my shower is too short for him. He's been pretty happy with it, and I love the cheaper cost. But you do have to replace the filters every 6 months instead of 1 year.

Or...Rainshow'r CQ-1000-MS Shower Filter with Massaging Shower Head ($38) replacement filter ($21). 

More expensive filter: Aquasana AQ-4100 Deluxe Shower Water Filter System with Adjustable Shower Head ($67) replacement filter ($52).

Now these were all linked to online stores, which is one of the best places to purchase shower filters, but you can also find them at your local hardware store.

What if I'm a "bath person":
I wish I was a bath person. I remember preparing for Avery's water birth by taking many relaxing baths by candlelight and listening to relaxing music. Does anyone have time for that on a daily basis? If so, you rock and I bet your body thanks you for that relaxing time. Most of us on the other hand use baths in one way...as a bath time for our kids.

No chlorine=a happy baby and a happy mama!

In our house, Avery gets a bath most evenings after dinner and before bed. So just as I feel it is important to filter my shower water, you can bet I don't want any of those chemicals (yes, you chlorine!) in her bath tub either. So what are your options:

Here's a fancy option: 
Buy a special filter just for bath tubs...
Crystal Quest White Bath Ball Water Filter ($49)

Simple option: (that only works if you have a bath/shower combo):
Just fill up the bathtub with water from the shower head. Yes, it may take a bit longer, but it's cheaper and uses the filter you already have! Plus, it can be somewhat entertaining for older children. Avery calls it her "Avery shower". 

One last note...sometimes when you install the shower filter, it may leak. As you can see from the droplet under the shower filter in the pic below. This usually seems to happen because the treads (the lines inside the filter that you use to screw it on to) do not match perfectly with the lines on the fixture mounted to the wall. The result? A little water dripping/squirting/spilling out of the side! 

Drip, drip...

One thing you could use to help with this is to buy some "tread seal tape" sometimes it may be called "Teflon tape". Now although we don't want to cook with Teflon, it may be helpful in sealing in the threads of the fixture to the water filter and preventing the water from leaking. Just an option if you are struggling with leaking. Because I'm just such a plumber pro you know...not!



So there you have it, one more toxic threat neutralized. All in a day's work "Green Ghostbusters"...all in a day's work. Have you ever used a shower filter before? If so, what's your favorite brand? What benefits have you noticed since you started using it? Share below.

Here's to a happy, green shower!
*Disclaimer: I purchased this product with my own money and this is my honest opinion of it.*

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