Hydration Basics: 5 Ways Water is Good for Your Skin

Pretty woman drinking glass of water.
Drinking water is so important to our health and wellbeing.

Water: we know we need to drink more of it, and we know it’s the healthiest drink around. Aside from keeping us hydrated, water aids in toxin removal, as well as regulating all of your major organs. It can also help benefit the biggest organ of the body: your skin. While water alone isn’t a treatment measure for skin disorders, getting enough of it on a regular basis can help keep your skin healthy overall. Consider the five major ways water is good for your skin.

1. Hydration to Prevent Skin Problems

Dehydration occurs when your body lacks the water it needs to function properly. According to the Mayo Clinic, your body is made up of about 60 percent of water. Still, you need to drink water in order to replenish lost fluids and to keep every part of your body hydrated. In fact, dehydration can also affect the skin by causing dryness, dullness, and even discoloration.
Coffee—although it contains water—has a diuretic effect which can lead to dehydration if you don’t drink enough plain water. Once you swap other fluids for water, you will likely start to see smoother, supple skin.

2. Increased Blood Flow for a Healthy Glow

In addition to hydrating your major organs, water can also help increase blood flow by removing toxins and helping to spread nutrients: this includes your skin. When you have better blood flow, your skin is more likely to exhibit that “healthy glow” everyone wishes for. In turn, this will also help aging skin look more youthful.

3. Reduced Thinness and Wrinkles

Dehydration coupled with decreased blood flow can also lead to a thin appearance of the skin. When your skin is less supple, it may be prone to more wrinkles. Furthermore, using water-based skincare products can absorb easily into the skin and make your skin look thicker.

4. Improved Skin Cell Turnover

Your skin is naturally evolving every day by shedding old cells and generating new ones. Unfortunately, this process isn’t always perfect. Oils can clog your pores and also trap old skin cells, leaving your skin with dry-looking patches. Drinking water can help improve skin cell turnover by promoting the right oil balance.

Improved skin cell turnover also leads to a correct moisture balance—overtime, you’ll experience softer, less oily skin overall.

5. May Alleviate Skin Discoloration

In most cases, skin discoloration is the result of either a disease of the skin or sun damage. While water can’t necessarily cure skin discoloration, the other benefits can lead to better skin tone. For example, consuming more water may decrease the prevalence of undereye circles and redness of the skin.

Bottom Line: Getting the Right Amount of Water

Drinking water can certainly offer many benefits to the skin, especially when compared with dehydrating beverages like sodas and sugary juices. However, the key to getting all of the benefits for your skin and other organs is to make sure you drink enough of it. The Mayo Clinic advises drinking a total of eight glasses of total fluids per day, at roughly 8 ounces each. You might need more than this on hot days or when you exercise. While other water-containing beverages can count towards your daily intake, swapping these with plain water will be the best plan for your skin.

You should also choose skincare products that contain water over synthetic substances. Water-based products are healthier for your skin, and they also tend to stay put without greasy side effects.

On the flipside, it’s also important that you don’t drink too much water. While the overconsumption of water is largely a rare occurrence, it tends to happen most often in athletes who drink too much water on a regular basis. As long as you are staying properly hydrated, drinking more than the recommended amount won’t do your body—or your skin—any good.

Resources:

  • Fetters, K.A. (2015, February 26). Does drinking water really give you glowing skin? Women’s Health Magazine
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014, September 5). Water: How much should you drink every day? Retrieved from MayoClinic.org
  • The benefits of drinking water for your skin. (2016). Retrieved from UW Health
  • Water the magic drink: Learn how it helps glow your skin. (n.d.). Retrieved from Disabled World

Kristeen Cherney is a freelance health and lifestyle writer who focuses on preventive measures for a better quality of life. Cherney holds a BA in Communication, and is currently finishing her MA in English.

You Should Get A Facial…and other famous last words

facial

I received a gift certificate to a local spa as a Christmas gift two years ago. I’m not in the habit of ‘making time for me’ but I was worried that this card had expired which wouldn’t be very considerate to the person who purchased it for me. So after reminding myself for about six months, I finally called the spa to inquire about their policy. “They don’t expire. Why don’t you make an appointment for one of our services?”

Okay now what? I’m not a fan of massages; I’ve got this weird thing about people who I don’t know touching me. Their manis and pedis were probably overpriced. Hmm. Maybe I could get a facial. I told the girl how old I was and asked her what she would recommend. “Our anti-aging facial would be best for you.” Ouch. I’m at THAT age. I stressed to the woman that my skin is very sensitive and she said they have gentle products and I shouldn’t have any problems.

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My Meeting with the Nutritionist and the Secret to Losing Weight

weightscale

I’ve been trying to lose a few pounds on my own now for about a month. I’ve been eating about 1400 calories a day and I’m pretty active. But the scale barely moves. I decided I needed professional help.

I met with the nutritionist at my doctor’s office. She is a young girl, slight of build, pretty. I can imagine how many women meet her for the first time and think “how is THIS skinny little thing going to understand my weight problem”.

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Lemon Water Really is THAT Good

I know I talked about this last year, but I’ve been doing the lemon water thing for several months now and I can honestly say I see benefits. I find that it aids in digestion, wakes me up in the morning and somehow encourages me to make healthier choices throughout my day. The proven health benefits are numerous. This is an article by Jim Dillan for Healthy Ambition which spells it all out.

The Many Health Benefits of Lemon Water 11/13/2013

Lemon water is a simple and surprisingly healthy internal cleanser to start your day with. I certainly noticed a difference myself when I first started having the juice of a whole lemon in water first thing in the morning. I really like the way the sharp taste wakes you up and gets you going.

Some resources say that it’s good to have it in warm or even hot water. I suppose in this way you could use it as a healthier replacement for your morning coffee, but I personally prefer it in room temperature filtered water.
Continue reading “Lemon Water Really is THAT Good”

The Past Year: What Worked, What Didn’t

 

 

I’m always up for trying new things.  And those things usually involve my health in some way.  Be it trying new healthy recipes, herbs/supplements/diets or lifestyle changes, I want to be the best person I can be.  If I’m the healthiest I can be, that’s a good start.

Over the past year I’ve blogged about many of my adventures.  In the long run, some worked and some not so much.  Here’s what I’ve found.

Lemon Water – I blogged about this in Sept 2012.  The purported benefits of drinking water infused with lemon juice include weight loss, improved digestion, boosts immune system, balances pH (reduces acidity in your body), clears your skin, acts as a diuretic, relieves respiratory problems, freshens breath, reduces stress, helps kick the coffee habit, hydrates the lymph system, boosts energy, flushes toxins from your liver and kidneys, suppresses appetite, reduces cellulite (because it increases blood flow to the skin and helps your body flush out waste), boosts your body’s ability to metabolize fat, and lowers your risk for heart disease, strokes, cataracts and gout because of the high amount of vitamin C.  If drinking lemon water allowed me even one or two of these benefits, I had to try it.  A year later, I still like it.  I went off the wagon for a few weeks.  Got lazy I guess.  But I found that I actually look forward to my lemon water in the morning.  The idea is to drink it first thing upon waking, and not put anything else into your stomach for at least half an hour.  Easy enough.  I bought a pitcher which has an infuser attachment.  I chop up a peeled lemon (organic if possible) and put it in my infuser pitcher with filtered water.  It lasts a week (adding more water as needed).  Even throughout the day, I find I grab the lemon water pitcher before I grab my iced green tea if I want a quick drink.  If nothing else, this means I’m consuming less sugar.  And I seem to make better food choices throughout the day when I’m ‘on’ the lemon water.  Whether the benefits are psychological or physical, the lemon water thing gets an A+.

Juicing – I don’t think I’ve blogged about this yet.  This past summer, I bought a Vitamix.  I know I need to get more fresh fruits and veggies into my diet and, opting for the method of least resistance, thought “why not smash them up and drink them”?  My intentions were good.  And the Vitamix is awesome.  It even makes hot soup!  But back to my point.  I went to the farmers market and stocked up on lots of fresh fruit (berries and bananas mostly).  I also ‘bravely’ added kale, carrots (which I hate) and chia to my morning smoothies.  However, I was overly ambitious.  Using my American ‘the bigger the better’ mindset, I would juice a LOT of fruit and wind up with 30-40 ounces, which I would drink down throughout the morning.  This lead to a very bloated belly.  And too much sugar.  Being the blonde that I am, it took me a month to figure out that while my intentions were good, my methodology sucked.  So I stopped juicing.  Also bad.  Now that I’ve got my head out of my butt, I am going to make better juicing choices (less sugar, more veggies, smaller quantities) and see how that goes.  There is not doubt in my mind that moving to a more plant-based alkaline diet is better for the human body.  I just need to find a better way to make it work for me.

Yoga – I used to be a gym rat.  For about 5 years or so, I would be at the gym five or more days a week.  And not just to socialize.  I actually worked out.  And I liked the results.  Was I as thin as I wanted to be?  Will I EVER be?  But I did have good muscle tone which I knew was healthy.  And then I made some big changes in my personal life and wound up dropping the gym membership.  Just quit cold turkey.  In reality, my body needed a break.  And surprisingly, I didn’t gain weight.  But I lost muscle tone.  Having strong muscles is sexier (and healthier) than overall body weight in my opinion.  I needed to get it back, but was still mentally done with the gym.  Enter yoga.  If you haven’t done it before, you’ve got to try it.  There’s something for everyone, be it stretchy yoga, hot yoga, Barre yoga (which almost killed me!) or power yoga.  It works.  It can be a surprisingly difficult workout, a therapeutic muscle relaxer, a flexibility creator or a mental healer.  Yoga has so much to offer and I can’t say enough good things about it.  Try it.

Coconut Oil – I wrote about this wonder ingredient in December 2012.  One of our Facebook fans mentioned using it as a make up remover, so I tried it.  And then I read more about it and started using it daily.  Not only is it the best make up remover, but it’s a superior moisturizer and excellent cleanser.  If you missed my December blog article, go back and check it out for details.  I will never go another day without using coconut oil. 

Massage – I don’t think I wrote about this either, but it’s something I firmly believe in.  Now I’m weird.  We’ve probably already established that.  But one of my quirks is that I don’t like people touching me.  Between that and having had my back broken in a car accident when I was 19, you might say I’m NOT a good candidate for massage.  The trick to is finding out what works best for you.  Studies have found that massage can benefit the following disorders: 

  • Anxiety
  • Digestive disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia related to stress
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Paresthesias and nerve pain
  • Soft tissue strains or injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Temporomandibular joint pain

Beyond the benefits for specific conditions or diseases, some people enjoy massage because it often involves caring, comfort, a sense of empowerment and creating deep connections with the individual performing the massage.  If you are looking to strengthen your intimate relationship, I highly suggest massage.  You don’t have to go to school and become a massage therapist to make this work.  Pick up a book, or go on line to learn about a handful of techniques, and go from there.  I personally like using a massage bar instead of massage oil because it’s moisturizing, not messy and allows the hands to flow more easily along the body.  Honeybee will be coming out with our own massage bar very soon.  But you don’t need anything other than a comfortable quiet space, time and patience.  Give and receive.  Even if it’s just 15 minutes with your partner (or try self massage) before you go to sleep.  The physical and psychological benefits are amazing. 

Reducing Sugar and Dairy – This is a daily struggle, but one I truly believe in for overall health.  Sugar seems to be in EVERYTHING from the obvious coffee additive to the seemingly harmless banana.  Recognizing all the sources of sugar in your diet is step one.  Step two is either eliminating or finding substitutions.  And sugar is incredibly addictive: The more you eat, the more addictive it becomes.  Studies show that all the sugar in our diets either directly or indirectly contributes to diseases like osteoporosis, obesity, heart disease, and cancer.  I am NOT a fan of sugar substitutes in any form (xylitol, stevia, etc.)  There are articles on line you can read about recognizing sugar in foods (especially hidden sugar) and steps you can take to reduce it in your diet.  Same goes with dairy.  We are the only species that drinks another mammals milk.  That thought kind of grosses me out.    Our bodies weren’t made to digest milk on a regular basis. Instead, most scientists agree that it’s better for us to get calcium, potassium, protein and fats from other food sources, like whole plant foods: vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds and seaweed.  And let’s not forget all the  pesticides, hormones, antibiotics found in conventional milk CAN’T be good for you.  Will I give up cheese?  Nope, probably never.  But I will have very small amounts and only on the rare occasion. 

So what DIDN’T work for me over the past year?  A few things.

Dry Brushing – I wrote about this in January of this year.  Dry brushing is supposed to have several benefits, but I couldn’t find hard scientific evidence to back any of them up.  At least it will exfoliate your skin, if nothing else.  I have a dry brush.  I do it occasionally (more so in winter when my skin is ugly and dry).  But getting my butt into the shower in the morning is difficult enough.  Stopping to dry brush my entire body first just isn’t going to happen on most days.

Oil Pulling – I wrote about this unusual practice in April of this year.  I had read a few articles about it and again found a myriad of conditions is was supposed to help from arthritis to PMS.  It involves swishing oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes or so, and spitting it out.  The oil is supposed to ‘pull’ the toxins from your body.  Again, I didn’t find a whole lot of good scientific evidence to back up the claims.  And as with dry brushing, I don’t have the patience or energy to deal with this first thing in the morning. 

Dark Chocolate – I experimented with dark chocolate because 1) I love it, and 2) like everything else, it’s supposed to cure almost anything.  What I was really hoping is that it would cure my sweet tooth.  I thought if I could eat a small square of dark chocolate a day, I would eliminate my desire for sweets forever.  It didn’t quite work out that way.  While I still LOVE dark chocolate and think it’s a healthier alternative than having a donut, I don’t think it will ever be found as a cure for cancer, nor will it ever keep me from still craving a slice of cake. 

Tanning – I’ll admit it.  I tanned.  For around two years, about once or twice a week.  My husband convinced me that I looked better tan.  I was also convinced that cellulite would be less noticeable if my skin was darker.  Being naturally fair-skinned and therefore more susceptible to skin cancer, fast-forward three years and five skin cancer biopsies (two basal cell carcinomas).  Not to mention that it aged my skin incredibly.  I regret having done it.  Did I like the way I looked when tan?  Yes.  Is the skin damage worth it?  No.  Will I avoid the sun completely?  Nope.  But I will wear sunscreen, still tan naturally, but never burn.  I could use self tanners I suppose, but don’t have the patience to slather my body with something every day (not to mention the ingredients some self tanners contain).  So I will be pale most of the year.  Deal with it.