Water: The Unsung Hero for Your Skin

Cynthia Bailey, MD|February 18, 2015

Water One of the most underused and overlooked building blocks of good skin isn't a miracle drug or an expensive over-the-counter cream you buy in stores. In fact, chances are you have access to this right now for free. We're talking about the most common substance on earth -  water! Here are a few important (and helpful) facts about water:

  • While the daily recommended amount of water is eight cups per day, not all of this water must be consumed in the liquid form. Nearly every food or drink item provides some water to the body.
  • Soft drinks, coffee, and tea, while made up almost entirely of water, also contain caffeine. Caffeine can act as a mild diuretic, preventing water from traveling to necessary locations in the body.
  • Water helps to maintain healthy body weight by increasing the metabolism and regulating appetite.
  • Water leads to increased energy levels. The most common cause of daytime fatigue is actually mild dehydration (see caffeine bullet point).
  • Water naturally moisturizes skin and ensures proper cellular formation underneath layers of skin to give it a healthy, glowing appearance.

(For reference, these facts found on allaboutwater.org and water.usgs.gov ) Water consumption won't fix every skin issue, however, as Dr. Bailey points out in an earlier blog post. It is still an important building block for the health of your skin - both inside and out.  A person that is severely dehydrated (like "stranded in the desert" dehydrated) will have flaccid, limp and wrinkled skin that doesn't bounce back when pinched into folds.  If you are somewhat functionally dehydrated, your skin may be somewhere along that spectrum.  When you are well hydrated with your body satiated with health promoting water, your skin will be as firm and plump as possible.  What's not to love about that?! Dry and flaky skin is another issue that may result from a lack of water.  That's a problem with the outer skin layer called the stratum corneum.  To hydrate that layer, you need to lock water in from the outside.  You do this by taking a shower or bath to load this layer with water, and then prevent it from evaporating by applying a moisturizer.  These moisturizers can have water-binding ingredients like glycerin and hyaluronic acid as well as water trapping oils.  The combination of these ingredients works best.  Know that the stratum corneum is a great barrier and, as Dr. Bailey says:

Drinking water won't hydrate the outer layer of your skin any more than taking a bath will quench your thirst.

For beautiful skin, you need them both! And beware - if your daily beverage choices are usually caffeine and/or sugary drinks then you may not be getting enough water to keep your skin and health in top shape. If you suspect you might not be drinking enough water, take a few days to record what and how much you drink. You may be drinking less water than you realize. If you really just don't like the taste of water, find a way to make good, clean water tasty - without the sugar and caffeine.  Here are a few recipes to "doctor" your drinks without extra sugar. With these infusions, you'll not only want to drink water more, you'll also get more vitamins and minerals into your diet; and that's never a bad thing! 65729f46e7cd838b1693074fc7670a11 For more details (and gorgeous pictures) go to www.laurenconrad.com

 Photo courtesy of laurenconrad.com

Need a great skin moisturizer to prevent skin dryness and scale?  Click here to see the moisturizers Dr. Bailey recommends for your face.  Click here for moisturizers Dr. Bailey recommends for your body.  

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