The human body is composed of approximately 55 to 60 percent water with a possible variance depending on the geographic location, fat index, age, and sex. Water lubricates the joints, regulates the body temperature, and also nurtures the brain and the spinal cord. Although our blood contains most of the water proportion, other body parts are mostly comprised of H20 as well. Both the brain and the heart stand at 75 percent, lungs at 83 percent, skin constitutes 64 percent and even our seemingly dry bones are 31 percent water. Despite the fact that our bodies are mostly made up of it, we lose a great deal of water on a daily basis, so we need to replenish accordingly to stay hydrated and healthy.
It is common knowledge that maintaining proper hydration is paramount for our overall physical strength, after all we lose two to three liters of water every day. Interestingly, how much water consumption is necessary for healthy and glowing skin is often debated. Is hydration even linked at all to the cause? While the premise certainly makes sense, there is limited hard evidence as of yet to either back that theory up, or declare it as an urban myth. So instead, let’s take a closer look at the proven facts in order to find an appropriate balance for keeping healthy and hydrated skin.
Although we cannot discard drinking water as a method for hydrating the skin, we need to understand it’s not the only way, and certainly not the most effective. By regularly drinking water, our skin becomes more elastic which makes it harder for some particles to penetrate the epidermis and irritate our skin. Additionally, water consumption balances the oil proportion in the outer layers of the skin, which is crucial for a hydrated appearance.
We should also consider spacing out our water consumption throughout the day, rather than drinking lots of it just because we’re thirsty, or feel dehydrated. This could potentially lead to hyponatremia, a condition where our cells cannot absorb any more water so they begin to swell, which lowers our blood sodium levels. Common side effects include strong headaches, disorientation, vomiting, and even loss of consciousness.
There are other measures we can take to maintain hydrated and healthy looking skin. For example, we should avoid long exposures to rough environmental markers such as air aridity and hot or chlorinated water sources – Turkish baths, dry saunas, swimming pools, etc. Humidifiers, moisturizers, and proper seasonal clothing can also help to maintain a healthy and hydrated skin.
There are other ways to keep our skin hydrated that do not involve the direct consumption of water. Caffeinated drinks are diuretic in nature and can lead to dehydration, which is not good for the skin or body. Be diligent about the amount of coffee or other caffeinated beverages consumed daily. Small amounts are usually okay and won’t harm the skin. Some food sources are great at hydrating our skin while also providing valuable nutrients for example, strawberries, cucumbers, and broccoli are composed of 90 percent water.
The bottom line can be somewhat confusing, but the key to owning a healthy looking skin lies on staying hydrated both internally and externally. Internally, by drinking 2.0-2.7 liters of water a day for women, and 2.5-3.7 liters a day for men. Externally, by avoiding harsh environments, by having humidifiers set at our homes and offices, and by regularly using skin moisturizers enriched with stearic acids, emollient ceramides and cholesterol.