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  • Kim Van Tussenbroek

DOES DRINKING WATER REALLY HYDRATE THE SKIN?


I see in Facebook groups all the time, some group members advising others to tell their clients to drink more water when they claim their skin is dry. But... does drinking water really hydrate the skin?

We are told that drinking plenty of water is the key to youthful, plump, clear skin, but really is that the case? There isn't enough research to support the idea that drinking water will make a huge difference in the skin's appearance. So... it is actually a myth that drinking lots of water will improve the skin hydration and gets rid of dry skin.


The actual physics behind how water flows through our body is the issue. Drinking water is not the be-all and end-all we need for succulent skin, but it is necessary for our bodies to run optimally, and to help nutrients reach the skin through proper blood flow.


At the cellular level, drinking water is great as it flushes the system and hydrates our bodies overall. It is filtered by the kidneys and once it is absorbed into the blood stream it will hydrate the cells, but the truth is that when you drink water, it doesn’t automatically go to the skin, water will actually head straight for all of your essential organs first.


The main issue with dry skin is not that you aren’t drinking enough water, but that you are losing too much water via the invisible evaporation from the skin. Basically it’s like trying to fill up a bucket of water that has a huge hole at the bottom. You need to make sure you are fixing the leak first.


In order to fix the leak in our skins barrier function, we can take the necessary precautions to protect our skin.


Our sebaceous glands produces sebum, which is the bodies natural oils to moisturise the skin. This is what determines the level of moisture within our skin. Not enough sebum leads to dry skin, and an excess of sebum causes oily skin.

Our skin is mostly impacted by external factors. Our bodies are kept safe from the environment by our skin. As an example weather conditions ie low humidity, dry winds, cold air can make the skin feel and look dry. Cleaning agents, chemicals in swimming pools ad perfumes contribute to drying the skin. The same with a lot of body washes and soaps as they are formulated with a high (basic) pH. This can easily lead to dry skin and potential skin irritation as these products can strip the skin from its natural oils. Anything that causes loss of water and reduces the barrier function of the top layer of the skin can lead to the skin feeling dry.


Protecting the top layer of the skin is vital to maintaining moisture levels. This can be done by avoiding environmental irritants whenever possible and by using quality skincare products.

Avoid excess bathing and swimming and be sure to clean chlorine off quickly after going to the pool, and salt water when coming out of the ocean. Avoid direct contact with chemicals in cleaning products, detergents, and soaps.


Drinking water is not the answer for healthy moisturised skin, though it is important to stay hydrated. Take care of your skin by selecting quality products (steer clear of skin products that contain alcohol), and it will return the favour and take care of you.


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