Drinking enough water and keeping hydrated is important for our general health, helping maintain proper body functions, supporting our digestive system, regulating body temperature and keeping the body and mind healthy. But what are the impacts of hydration for the skin?
The skin is the body's largest organ and is made of skin cells, and like all cells they are made up of water. Lack of water for this particular organ results in dry, tight, itchy and sometimes flaky skin. For skin that is naturally dry and sensitive (e.g. eczema or psoriasis) it is particularly important to keep hydrated as transepidermal water loss is increased.
According to Dr. Justine Hextall, "Anybody can suffer with dehydrated skin from time to time. When skin is dehydrated it lacks elasticity, fine lines and under eye circles often appear more pronounced and skin tends to look flat. Whereas hydrated skin just glows, looking plumper, calmer and reflects light better hence the term glowing skin."
So how can we properly hydrate our skin?
Make sure you are drinking enough water - you will know if you aren't because your skin will look dull and you may experience difficulty concentrating. Coffee and other caffeinated drinks do not count as part of daily water consumption as the caffeine acts as a diuretic. According to Dr Oz, "In order for the skin to protect our bodies from UV radiation, microorganisms and toxic agents, it must be kept adequately hydrated. Hydrated skin will remain flexible and allow our protective barrier to remain intact."
For some us the recommended 6-8 glasses of water a day is just too big of a stretch. In that case the recommendation is to eat foods that have a high water content. Fruits such as melon, oranges, apples are great as well as vegetables including cucumber, celery, tomatoes and carrots.
Make sure there is a balance between adequate fluids consumed and curtailing water loss; a natural moisturiser will help act as a barrier to the skin and help retain moisture levels within the transepidermal layer. I love Weleda Skin Food - it both protects and nourishes the skin, and feels amazing!
Supplements can be a superb addition to our skincare routine and help to keep skin hydrated. Vitamin C and zinc are important to support the healthy production of collagen and elastin, whilst omega 3 found in oily fish and flaxseed oil keep cells water tight and well hydrated, thus keeping skin looking its best.