Back in February I started a test I called Chlorination Elimination Experimentation. I wanted to see if using a shower filter that removed chlorine could positively impact my skin. I was a bit skeptical, but it was too cheap of an experiment not to try. So do I have the skin of angel now? Nope. Everything is still the same. I still get a slightly dry spot above my right eyebrow. Nothing has changed.
I also speculated in the post update that the chlorine in the water could be a factor in my headaches. My average headache intensity for the 75 days using the filter is 1.4/5.0. The 75 days prior to the installing the filter it was a little lower at 1.1/5.0. So this experiment showed there is no measurable connection between chlorine and my sinus headaches.
My results are just that – my results. Two weekends ago I met a guy who is super sensitive to water and soap. He uses a filter and swears by it. His skin gets red and inflamed without his shower filter. So perform your own tests. I will continue to use the filter. Maybe the benefits take longer than 3 months to see?
Photo by Steven Depolo
May 15, 2012 — 6:43 am
I tried the same experiment a few years ago and it helped a lot! My skin was not only dry but peeling so much that I lost my thumbprint. At the time I was living in an old (1970s) building in the Northest though so my water supply was already questionable, chlorine or otherwise.
May 15, 2012 — 6:55 am
@Balor123 – How long did it take before you noticed benefits from the shower filter?
May 15, 2012 — 6:55 am
Not long… about a month I think
May 15, 2012 — 4:10 pm
MAS – This post and the last one got me thinking about your self-experiments. You measure sleep quality and headache intensity based on a subjective scale. There’s probably no cheap, more objective alternative. However have you considered that your subjective assessments might be influenced by your expectations? If you were hoping that the filter might reduce your headaches might you be inclined to rate the post-filter headaches as more severe? I can’t think of a way more objectively to measure headache intensity or sleep quality (and your subjective experience may be all that really matters). Do you think subconscious bias could be an issue?
May 15, 2012 — 5:56 pm
@Geoff – Not sure how to answer that other than by saying I have a vested interest in succeeding. Bias can work both ways. I discussed this a little in this post:
Speaking directly to the shower experiment, it was setup initially to see if my skin was affected by the chlorine. The headache part was an after thought and never a primary test. Actually I had forgot about this test until I went back in the archives to fix the spacing issue that affected several of the posts
May 15, 2012 — 9:12 pm
I’m willing to take your self experimentation results at face value regardless of the problems with measurement. You do enough of it that it’s pretty clear you’re chasing results one way or the other, and not rationalizing backwards from changes. That latter is what gets me into trouble- I slept really well last weekend, must have been all the booze…
Another point about subjectivity. There’s a pretty clear role that the brain plays in health so figuring out a way to kick start a positive mental reaction is useful even if your reasoning is faulty. Like if you believe living like a caveman is healthy and your understanding of that causes you to eat less, start exercising and make other positive changes, then maybe it’s not important on a personal level that nobody knows what cavemen really ate and that anthropologists find Paleo reasoning nonsensical. The Paleo way of thinking definitely helped me get started in the right direction regardless of what I think about it now. Maybe the best we can hope for is to stumble here and there onto something that works for us.
Although as I type that I realize how anti-intellectual that sounds. That was the whole ‘safe starch’ debate in a nutshell. There exists no scientific reason not to eat them, but there are still plenty of people in the paleo world who lay claim to a personal metabolism and happily ridicule the so called experts with their ‘biased, bought and paid for, obviously wrong because Taubes said so’ science.
May 16, 2012 — 3:05 am
Thanks for the linkback. I’d not remembered that post. I don’t think expectations or their impact, if any, are a problem – especially for something like headache intensity. In that context, as you pointed out, “a win is a win,” even if it’s a placebo or “nocebo” effect. The “follow on” aspect of this filter/headache test is a nice extra aspect to it. Since you were looking at it’s effect on your skin, the expectations as to headaches might have been less, negating any placebo like impact as far as headaches are concerned.