Vitamin C filters have recently been in the headlines with various celebrities endorsing new and colourful shower filters that contain Vitamin C as their filter media.
The health benefits of Vitamin C are numerous and undisputed – it protects against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular diseases, it’s a powerful antioxidant, reduces skin aging, and has many other health benefits.
But does Vitamin C really work as a filter material? Should you replace your trusted shower filter with one that contains Vitamin C?
Since Vitamin C shower filters have become all the rage, let’s see how they work, if they’re any good, and whether a Vitamin C-infused shower has any beneficial effects on your skin and hair.
Does Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) Neutralise Chlorine?
Vitamin C showers have become popular because of the chlorine neutralising properties of ascorbic acid. And since chlorine is harmful for skin, hair, and lungs, it’s no wonder that new ways to remove chlorine have become so popular.
Studies have shown that both ascorbic acid and sodium ascorbate – the two types of Vitamin C – are efficient at neutralising chlorine.
Of the two types, ascorbic acid will modify the pH of water (lowers it), while sodium ascorbate will not interfere with the pH of water. Therefore, in applications where a modification of water pH is undesirable, sodium ascorbate is used instead of ascorbic acid.
Since both types of Vitamin C are safe for aquatic life at levels recommended for dechlorination, they’re used as an alternative to chemical dechlorination when releasing chlorinated water into lakes and rivers.
Vitamin C can also be used to neutralise chlorine in tap water that’s used to set up a freshwater aquarium or to dechlorinate tap water used for water changes in aquariums.
Because pH values can be modified depending on which type of Vitamin C is used, water pH should be tested after treating the water with Vitamin C.
In terms of dosage, one part chlorine can be neutralised with 2.5 parts of ascorbic acid, which reduces residual oxidizing chlorine compounds. If sodium ascorbate is used, the recommended dosage is 2.8 parts sodium ascorbate to neutralise one part chlorine.
Do Vitamin C Filters Work?
Vitamin C-enriched shower filters have become all the rage after reports that Leonardo DiCaprio along with other Hollywood A-listers have installed them in their homes. Even 4-stars hotels started featuring them in their showers.
So, do Vitamin C shower filters work or they’re all hype? Should you stick with your old filter, or should you rush to replace it with a flashy new Vitamin C-infused shower filter?
While it’s true that chlorine can be neutralised by Vitamin C, experts worry that in the shower, the contact time of water with Vitamin C may not be enough for it to react with all residual chlorine.
Since there isn’t enough time for the neutralising reaction to occur, these filters have a limited efficiency, and may remove only around 50% of chlorine present in your water.
The purported benefits of Vitamin C showers include healthier skin and hair and less itchiness. In short, once chlorine is neutralised, its residual side effects (dry skin, frizzy hair, dandruff, itchy eyes, etc.) disappear.
What Other Ways are There to Reduce Chlorine in Your Shower?
It’s a widely acknowledged truth in water filtration that a single type of filter material is not enough to deal with all types of water contamination issues. It’s also true that with reduced contact time and contact surface, efficiency is also reduced.
So, while vitamin C shower filters do reduce some of the chlorine in your bath water, there are other ways to reduce chlorine too:
Activated Carbon Shower Filters
Activated carbon is perhaps the most widely used filter material in the industry. It’s featured in almost all filters including point-of-use and central water treatment solutions.
It has a large surface area and a high chlorine absorption capacity, being one of the most efficient methods to remove chlorine from water.
Carbon is an all-natural, sustainable and top option when it comes to removing chlorine from water. It doesn’t add anything to your water and it’s highly affordable.
KDF Shower Filters
Kinetic Degradation Fluxion (KDF) media process removes chlorine along with iron, hydrogen sulphide, and soluble heavy metals.
It also inhibits bacterial growth and prevents the build-up of fungi and algae, thus, extending the service life of activated carbon filters.
What Shower Filter Should You Get?
If chlorine is your only concern when taking showers and you’re looking to reduce some of the chlorine in your bathing water, Vitamin C filters can be a good option.
If, however, you’re looking for a more polished filtration or a more wide-ranging contaminant removal, invest in a filter that combines various types of filter materials.
Vitamin C alone can’t tackle all the contamination issues present in your water, therefore, for best results, you may want to seek out other filters.
For example, the Paragon SHF-1 Shower Filter uses KDF along with other filter media to offer a better protection against chlorine, heavy metals, and limescale.
The advice to get a filter which combines different types of filter materials holds true for every type of filter system you’re considering, be it a fridge filter or a kitchen water filter.
Vitamin C filters can be a good way to reduce some of the chlorine in your shower water. However, it has limited application since it only targets chlorine, leaving all other water contaminants untouched.
If you want to tackle multiple contamination issues, invest in a shower filter that integrates granular activated carbon, KDF or ceramic spheres for a more wide-ranging contaminant removal capacity.