Written by Christina Storto on 2018/07/04
The oldest ingredient in the beauty book is making a comeback – water. One of the most important ways to achieve glowing, healthy-looking skin is actually as simple as good ol' H2O.
Water forms a major portion of our body and is the key to maintaining sufficient hydration in our skin. According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry "Up to 60% of the human adult body is water" and the amount decreases constantly as we get older. The need to increase water consumption as we get older should be crystal clear, but so many of us cannot stick to this good habit (including me).
In this post I will share with you the benefits of drinking water that I have learned from my dermatologist to cope with my skincare needs but more importantly, to help me increase my water intake.
I’ve always been told to drink more water, probably during all of my 20’s but I always struggled with it and felt, quite frankly, drowned whenever I tried to. Coffee has been my soulmate for as long as I can remember, helping me wake up early mornings and through study sessions but I soon came to realize it was doing more harm than good. Although I will never give up coffee, I know now how dehydrating it is for the skin and unhealthy on the nervous system. I started getting sallow, flaky skin and my lips were constantly parched. It was certainly a challenge getting on the water bandwagon but one that I can vouch has made a big impact on my lackluster and dehydrated skin.
Since skin is our largest organ, and our main barrier against the outside environment, we need water to keep that barrier intact. Dermatologist Jessica Weiser of the New York Dermatology Group explains “Water is also an important component of a few structures in the skin required for collagen production, one of the key building blocks of the skin that is lost during the aging process.” This can lead to dryness, flaking, eczema, and diminish skin’s healing and regeneration which lead to premature signs of aging. Without enough water, your skin can lose elasticity and become dry, making skin vulnerable to germs and contaminants. Proper hydration improves the health of your skin by keeping the surface moisturized and helping to prevent clogged pores.
Now, to get a little technical, water helps in removing the toxic material from your body through urine and stool. If water intake in sufficient, your kidneys work efficiently. I suffered from a kidney infection as a child and continued to get urine infections through my teen to mid twenty years and the number one advice I always received from doctors is to drink more water to help flush out the toxins that were in my body. If impurities are thrown out of your body, fresh blood is formed in sufficient amounts. Some causes of skin problem is impure blood, which is related to metabolism.
I found that no matter what shiny new products came out in the skincare world or how much I spent on expensive serums and oils, none of that mattered if my skin wasn’t properly hydrated. In fact, hydrated skin allows ingredients to penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin more easily than dehydrated skin does. By taking care of your skin, you will find that your skincare will absorb better giving you visible results.
A lack of water can even cause acne, if you're dehydrated, sweat and dead skin can clog your pres and cause blockage which turns into spots. Drinking plenty of fluids will ensure the toxins are getting out of your body and keeping your skin clear.
I know guzzling down 8 glasses of water a day sounds tedious but I have found ways that have helped me with my water intake and tips for a quick fix hydrating solution.
Drinking water in the morning
- You get bright, radiant skin because water removes all the toxins from the blood, leaving behind fresh skin. It helps in colon cleansing that leads to absorption of nutrients from the food you eat. This has also allowed me to limit my coffee intake thanks to water filling me up.
Use an app to track your cups
- Keeping up with how many glasses you’ve finished can be easy (and fun) with the help of a free app such as Daily Water free or Carbodroid to your phone to set daily reminders and alarms.
- Alcohol seriously dehydrates the skin and because of its high sugar content it can have fast acting reactions including next day breakouts. This isn't to say you can't enjoy a glass, two or even three of wine! No judgement here. The point is merely to educate on the affects alcohol can have on your skin and to be conscious of it. A trick that I learned was to avoid alcoholic drinks that contained syrups and fruit juices or that were too sweet and to make sure I drank water while enjoying drinks out with friends.
- Choose sparkling or mineral water over soda. Pouring this bubbly, zero-calorie drink is just as good for your body as drinking water—except it's got more pizzazz. Add a squeeze of lime juice, and it's basically like drinking a fancy cocktail (without the alcohol).
Livening up water
- Adding citrus fruit like lemon can make a huge difference in enjoying drinking water. This adds a tart and freshness that makes water more quenching. Add a bit of excitement by dunking fresh fruit (grapefruit, strawberries, lime), veggie slices (cucumber, ginger, celery), and herbs (basil, mint, lavender) or anything else you fancy! This will help you enjoy drinking water more making it a less boring and tasteless beverage.
Limit coffee consumption
- Coffee is also a skin dehydrator and limiting coffee throughout the day by switching it out for green, mint or herbal teas can be beneficial to your health. Not only is green tea an antioxidant but it also helps with digestion. With summer coming along, why not experiment by making pitchers of cold tea and adding whatever you want to it! Get creative and the results are bound to be delicious and satisfying!
Implement skincare products containing a high level of water and moisture
You can find amazing skincare products that have a high percentage of water like gel creams. Water cools the skin, including a hydrating mist as part of your daily routine can instantly calm irritated skin. This is what I call a quick fix and I will gladly spray my face throughout the day whenever I feel like I need it. It can especially be useful when you feel your makeup is looking a little worn out or dry, giving you face a little mist will help you regain that glow!
Invest in a humidifier
- During the winter time, heaters can really affect the water levels in your skin. When humidity levels are low, your skin can react by getting dry patches, flaky skin, cracked lips and not to mention, irritated sinuses. According to Stephen Canfield, MD, PhD, an allergist at Columbia Doctors Midtown in New York City, humidifiers can take the dryness out of your living space by adding moisture to the air and alleviating symptoms of dryness.
Let’s not forget about nutrient-rich, water-dense brightly colored fruit and vegetables
- One sneaky way to increase the amount of water you consume on a daily basis: eat your H2O. Add fruits and vegetables with a high water content to your grocery shopping list. Some top picks include cucumber (96% water), zucchini (95% water), watermelon (92% water), and grapefruit (91% water). They provide both nutrition and hydration to help your body utilize water more efficiently which according to Dr. Jessica Weiser "helps enrich cells, maintain proper circulation, ensure healthy internal organs and digestion, and support a bright, radiant complexion.