We all know that water is vital for human life but did you know water plays an important role in the health of our skin? Our bodies are 70% water but as we grow older it can decrease to 50% by the time we're 70. It becomes harder for our bodies to retain water as we age which affects all of our organs including our skin. As the largest organ in our body, our skin is about 65% water so dehydration can seriously affect it. The water we ingest helps to keep our skin plump and moisturized. Without adequate hydration it can become dry, flaky, dull, sensitive and can age more quickly resulting in premature wrinkles and a loss of elasticity.
Drinking enough water is also important for flushing our system of toxins and bacteria that can increase the risk of skin problems. If you aren't properly hydrated your skin is unable to perform optimally. In the course of a day, our bodies lose a lot of water just through normal bodily processes including diffusion through our skin and even breathing! As a result, we need to replenish that water loss on a daily basis.
HOW WATER HELPS OUR SKIN:Wrinkles are less obvious:
When we are properly hydrated, wrinkles and fine lines are less prominent because hydration improves skin elasticity. Hydrated skin cells are softer and will give the skin a plumper appearance.Decreased Swelling:
Our skin can swell and become puffy when we are dehydrated because our bodies are trying to hold onto water. When the amount of water IN our cells is higher than the water OUTSIDE our cells, it creates an imbalance that leads to swelling or puffiness. Proper hydration helps to balance the water inside our cells with the water surrounding the cells.Flushes Toxins:
Toxin producing bacteria can lead to skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis. Drinking enough water will flush the nasty toxins from our body which ultimately can improve our complexion.Improves Dry Skin:
When dehydrated our skin will become more dry, cracked, irritated and can cause rashes/itchiness. I personally found this to be true: I once had a terrible rash all over my body. My doctor said I was dehydrated and that the rash would resolve if I drank more water. I thought that was ridiculous advice so to prove him wrong, I drank a lot of water that day. Later that evening the rash was gone! Lesson learned!ph Balance:
Maintaining proper hydration can help keep our body's ph balanced. This is important for many reasons but ph imbalances can often be a factor in skin conditions such as psoriasis, acne and eczema.
How Much Water Do I need ?
Well, that depends. The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends about 11.5 cups of fluid per day for women. This includes not only water but also fluids from other beverages as well as food. However this is just a general rule. Your individual fluid needs can vary based on variables such as :
Exercise: Activities that cause you to perspire will result in extra fluid loss so you will need more fluid intake to replenish the loss.
Weather: Hot climates and high humidity can cause sweating and fluid loss.
Illness: Vomiting, diarrhea and high fevers can cause dehydration.
Water isn't the only option for improving hydration. Sugar sweetened beverages are not a good option but if you're addicted to soda, try mixing half sparkling water with half unsweetened fruit juice. It's very refreshing and before you know it you won't miss that sugary soda. Coconut water, unsweetened juices, herbal teas and even milk are good fluid replacements. It used to be thought that the diuretic effect of coffee and tea caused dehydration. Apparently that has been debunked so coffee and tea can be counted as a fluid source but shouldn't be the bulk of your hydration plan.
Water-rich foods for hydration:
A variety of foods can contribute to your hydration needs. Some of the following foods contain at least 85% water:
cucumbers, leafy greens, watermelon, celery, strawberries, melons, spinach, oranges, broth based soups, zucchini, tomatoes and peaches. Smoothies from water rich fruits and veggies are another great way to increase fluid intake.
- Consistency is the bottom line. Proper hydration needs to become a priority to have long lasting effects for your skin. To help remind yourself to drink more fluids, get a nice water bottle and take it with you in the car.
- If you don't have good tap water and you're not a fan of buying bottled water, buy a water bottle that comes with a filter. Brita, Larq and Berkey all sell water bottles with filters.
- Measure how much water you're bottle holds so you can keep track of how much you're drinking.
- Keep extra bottles in your car in case you run out of water without a convenient place to fill up.
- If you don't like plain water, add some sliced cucumbers, oranges, lemons or limes. Strawberries give water a really nice flavor too. Herbs like mint or basil are another option.
- Get started early in the day. Have a glass of water when first get up or with your breakfast.
- Make sure you drink while exercising and immediately after.
To Sum it up:The importance of adequate water consumption to obtain optimum skin health can't be stressed enough. It can slow the aging process and improve the appearance of your skin. Proper hydration is one of the most significant factors in maintaining beautiful skin.
So lift your glass and cheers to beautiful skin!