Skin Health: Are You Drinking Enough Water?
The skin requires proper hydration in order to function and look its best. While applying moisturizer is important, it’s also very important to hydrate the skin from the inside. Unfortunately, many Americans are chronically underhydrated, which can rob the skin of the moisture it needs for optimal health.
Are you drinking enough water for youthful, glowing and healthy skin? Here’s how to know if you are not drinking enough water (along with tips to easily boost your daily water consumption).
Does Drinking Water Hydrate Your Skin?
Drinking water helps hydrate skin, but it may take more than you realize. Before hydrating the skin, the body’s largest organ, water passes through the intestines, gets absorbed by the bloodstream, and filtered by the kidneys. All the cells inside your body make use of this water before it reaches your skin.
So, while you may be drinking water daily, it’s possible you’re not getting enough for optimal skin health. Skin that’s not hydrated is more likely to be dry, flaky, and chapped. Dry skin is also less elastic and more prone to forming fine lines and wrinkles.
How Drinking Water Benefits Your Skin
It’s a myth that drinking water will minimize pores, smooth out fine lines or plump up skin that’s sagging. In reality, drinking water benefits the skin in the following ways:
- Improves Skin Thickness: Research published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science found that drinking over 9 cups of water every day improved skin density and thickness after one month. Thicker skin is less prone to fine lines and wrinkles because it’s more elastic.
- Improves Elasticity: Your skin is made up of 3 layers which act as a barrier, protecting your insides from the outside world. When you’re dehydrated, the skin’s outermost layer, the epidermis, loses its elasticity. Drinking more water can replenish this bounce for skin that looks smoother and more youthful.
- Increases Blood Flow: Researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia found drinking just 2 cups of water can improve blood flow to the skin. When circulation is running smoothly, oxygen and nutrients are better able to reach the skin. This helps us heal from wounds and acts as a preventative, providing a more youthful, overall glow.
- Boosts Overall Health: Good (and poor) health is reflected in the tone, texture and general appearance of our skin. Anything we can do to maintain good health in general will improve the look of our complexion. Drinking water may not get rid of your acne or wrinkles, but dehydration can certainly enhance these imperfections.
What Is The Optimal Amount Of Water To Drink For Healthy Skin?
When it comes to drinking enough water, a good rule of thumb is to take your body weight and divide it in two. This tells you how many ounces to drink daily.
For example, a 150-pound person should be drinking approximately 75 ounces of water each day. This includes the water you get from other drinks as well as your food.
Also, everyone is different. Those who are active, live in a hot or dry climate, or spend lots of time outdoors may need to drink more water.
Other Ways To Help Your Skin Stay Hydrated
Drinking water isn’t the only way to keep your skin hydrated. For best results, pair drinking water with the following skincare recommendations:
- Use a good moisturizer, day and night
- Apply sunscreen daily to prevent drying UV damage
- Serums that include hyaluronic acid can help skin absorb and hold water
Remember, even oily skin should be moisturized daily, as oil is not an indication of hydration.
How To Tell If You Are Not Drinking Enough Water
The following symptoms are your body’s way of telling you that you need more water! If you experience any of the following, you may already be dehydrated.
- Your urine isn’t clear, but yellow or darker
- You aren’t urinating as often as you normally do
- You’re constipated
- Your mouth is dry
- Your lips are chapped
- Your eyes are dry
- You feel thirsty
- You feel persistent hunger or cravings
- You’re getting muscle cramps
- Your joints are achy
- You’re unusually fatigued
- You feel dizzy
- You have a headache
- You’re moody
- You’re having trouble concentrating
In addition, the following may be signs of long-term persistent dehydration.
- Constant bad breath
- Body odor
- Weight gain
- Digestive problems
- High blood pressure or high cholesterol
- Persistent fatigue
- Frequent illness
Drinking more water can help improve these chronic conditions, in addition to perking up your skin. If you notice any of the above, try drinking more water and see if your symptoms subside.
Tips For Increasing Your Water Consumption
The following tips can help you keep your water consumption consistent.
- Maintain a Routine: Drink water as soon as you wake up in the morning, when you sit down at your desk, with every meal, or on your commute. Tying your water consumption to part of your daily routine can help you stay consistent.
- Keep Water With You: Buy yourself an attractive water bottle you love, and bring it with you everywhere you go. You’re more likely to drink water if it’s always easy to access.
- Track Your Habits: Use a hydration app or just take notes. But tracking your habits can help improve your mindfulness, and help you realize when you haven’t been drinking enough.
- Challenge a Friend: If you’re tracking your habits, turn it into a game. Make a pact with a coworker, family member or friend to help each other drink more water.
- Flavor Your Water: If you just don’t like the taste of water, try carbonated water, or flavor your water bottle with lemon, lime, cucumbers, mint or any type of fruit.
- Minimize Dehydrating Behavior: While drinking water is important, you can also minimize the things that cause dehydration. This includes caffeinated beverages, alcohol, and showering or washing your hands and face without using moisturizer.
Drinking More Water Can’t Hurt
It’s when you’re not drinking enough water that your skin will show it most. Topical moisturizers may reach the skin more directly, but drinking more water won’t hurt either.
Consuming more water on a daily basis won’t solve all of your skin issues, but it will improve your overall health, which everyone can benefit from.