Water is essential for every system in the body to function optimally and therefore drinking an adequate amount of water daily is important for overall good health and wellbeing. Water plays a vital role in digestion, blood circulation, the absorption of nutrients and the elimination of toxins. The body uses water to help heal from damage or disease, and to maintain a youthfulness and vitality that will help to carry you into old age in robust health. Even just a 5 percent drop in bodily fluids is likely to lower your energy levels, and a 15 percent drop can lead to serious health consequences.
Water is necessary for every organ in the body to function, including the skin. The skin is in fact the largest organ in the body and just like all other organs, the skin is made up of cells that are made up of, you guessed it, water. Without proper hydration, the quality and appearance of your skin is bound to suffer. The skin has its own natural mechanisms to maintain correct hydration levels, yet it is very easy for skin moisture levels to drop due to external factors. Excessive heat, pollution and air conditioning all affect skin moisture levels, while lifestyle habits such as alcohol, tobacco, coffee and poor nutrition can all have detrimental effects on the skin’s natural defenses, making it less resilient and more susceptible to irritation.
When moisture evaporates through the skin, it leaves your skin looks dull, tight, taut, scaly and shiny, and superficial lines, wrinkles and signs of premature aging are more visible. Proper hydration can help to maintain the skin's natural elasticity and suppleness, leaving your skin looking look fresh and more vibrant as a result. With these factors in mind, it becomes evident that hydrating your skin from the inside out, as opposed to simply replenishing the skin with external creams and lotions, is an important daily routine. The good news is, if you’re tight on cash or strapped for time, water can be your perfect inexpensive, no fuss, anti-aging treatment!
We naturally lose large quantities of water every day. The human adult body is made of between 55 to 75 percent water, the blood is more than 80 percent water, and the brain is more than 75 percent water. A typical adult loses about 2-3 liters a day through urinating, sweating and simple bodily functions such as breathing. Did you know it takes 300 to 500 milliliters of fluid a day just to breathe?! Topping up our water supply throughout the day ensures a moist, healthy environment for the body to function and thrive. While medical professionals differ slightly on their suggestions for daily water intake, a good rule of thumb is around 11 cups for women, and about 16 cups for men.
When the body begins to show even slight signs of dehydration, it will automatically begin to prioritize the areas of the body that are most important. The brain will take the greatest share of water, and unfortunately, the skin is the last organ to receive water.
So How Can Proper Hydration Support Our Skin?
1. Anti Aging
Studies have shown that drinking 9.5 cups of water a day for 4 weeks altered skin density and thickness and also increased blood flow to the skin.
When skin cells have adequate water, it causes the skin to appear plump, therefore reducing the appearance of wrinkles, pores and fine lines. When skin is hydrated and elastic, it is also less likely to crack and allow external particles to penetrate the skin that can cause acne and blemishes. Dull, dry skin can indeed worsen with age, so getting into a good habit to drink water from a young age will support you right throughout your life span and can help to avoid and reduce premature aging.
2. Breakouts & Blemishes
Water is essential to maintain the optimum balance of skin moisture and also deliver essential nutrients to the skin cells. When your skin becomes dehydrated, it sends signals to the glands to step up their defense by producing more oil. This increase in oil can often lead to blemishes and breakouts. While acne is not exactly caused by oily skin, most acne sufferers do experience a worsening of their problematic condition when their skin gets oilier.
An adequate water supply allows for efficient digestion and assimilation of nutrients. This also allows for toxins to be easily flushed out of the body and impurities to leave the skin. When the body is flushing out toxins and impurities steadily, your skin will appear fresher, healthier, and more robust. This is one reason why people who enjoy a period of cleansing or detoxification always mention ‘glowing skin’ to be a positive side effect.
4. Skin Issues
Drinking enough water can help to combat skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema. When the skin is dehydrated it can cause itching, irritation and general discomfort. Increasing your water intake can help to prevent irritated skin, providing relief to those suffering from sensitive skin conditions.
Top 12 Tips For Staying Hydrated
- Alkalize your system by starting the day with a large glass of water with a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
- Add your own flavor- add some lemon, lime or orange slices to your water. Try adding fresh herbs like mint or lemon basil. Store water this way in your fridge so it’s always on hand.
- If you really struggle to remember to drink up, use your phone! There are some great apps on the market that can help remind you throughout the day.
- Keep water on hand all day, every day. No matter where you may be- at home, work, in the car, at school – make sure you have a bottle within reach at all times. If you feel thirsty, it’s an indication that dehydration has already started, so make an effort to drink a glass of water at the first signs of thirst.
- Remember to refuel and rehydrate even more so after a sweaty gym session or on a hot day. When we lose water through sweat it is very important to compensate this extra loss. Higher require more water than lower altitudes. Pregnant and breastfeeding women also need more water per day than those who are not growing or nurturing a baby.
- Keep an eye on your caffeine levels. Being a diuretic, drinking more than a couple of cups of coffee a day can be dehydrating on the body and can also be further detrimental to your skin. Caffeine pulls water away from your body and also stimulates the body which creates stress, all of which can negatively affect the skin.
- If you’ve had a big night out, make sure to drink a good amount of water before heading to bed and throughout the next day. Ideally, remember to drink water throughout the night. Alternating between alcoholic drinks and water is always a good idea. Like coffee, alcohol is damaging for the skin also.
- If you’re on a budget, water is your best friend. Ditch the fancy over priced drinks when you’re out and opt for good old H2O. If you’re looking for something a little more exciting, try sparkling water with a little lemon or lime which is available at most restaurants and cafes.
- Aim for water-rich foods. 20% of your daily water intake can come from the food you eat. Opt for fresh fruits and vegetables especially watermelon, cucumbers, celery, leafy greens, and apples. And also light broths and soups, or yogurt and smoothies which are usually high in water content.
- Water is not the only option when it comes to staying hydrated. Herbal teas, sparkling water, cold pressed juices and natural coconut water will all help maintain and replenish body fluid levels.
- Try having a big glass of water whenever you are feeling hungry or before meals. Often we confuse the body’s call for water with a craving for food or sweets. Furthermore, studies have shown that drinking a large glass of water before eating can help you to eat less and therefore may be beneficial for weight loss.
- Invest in a good quality water filter. The quality of tap water differs around the world and to ensure you are getting the best quality water for your body, investing in a good water filter is money very well spent.