The Impact of Hydration on Your Skin's Health
So picking up where we left things with hydration last week, I will start off by reiterating that proper hydration is crucial for keeping your skin healthy and happy. Adequate hydration levels help the skin plumpen itself up, and improves its elasticity, making it less likely to crack, become irritated, or develop blemishes. Oh honey, I'm just getting started!
Wondering how much H2O the average healthy adult living in a temperate climate needs per day to stay hydrated? Well, the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluid a day for men, and about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women. So, drink up buttercup.
What other things does drinking enough water do for your skin? Well, drinking enough water will also improve your skin’s tone. When you are maintaining sufficient hydration levels, you are also helping your body flush out toxins, which in turn gives you healthier skin. Researchers say that drinking just two cups of water can increase blood flow to your skin, giving it a nice, even tone.
As I mentioned earlier, staying hydrated helps boost that beautiful elasticity in the skin because it stays moisturized longer. The more elasticity your skin has, the longer it is able to stave off sagging and the premature formation of fine lines and wrinkles. Yay :)
Adequate hydration promotes faster healing times within your body. A good example of this can be seen anytime someone has been out in the sun for a prolonged period of time and develops a sunburn as a result. If this person were to stay hydrated, and continually maintained their fluid intake, this would quicken the healing processes within the body, drastically speeding up the time it takes the body to bounce back after an injury (sunburn) and also infections. Water helps your skin cells immensely, and your look will change dramatically once you properly hydrate yourself. Just try to keep that in mind if possible.
A great benefit to staying hydrated is that the water balances the oil and water content in the skin of your face. This serves to prevent excess oil and sebum secretion, which means your pores experience less clogging and acne. These days, however, many of us have become slaves to our busy schedules and lifestyles. Amidst all that running around during the day, many of us forget to monitor our fluid intake and wind up dehydrated. As a matter of fact, a recent study found that it’s these busier lifestyles, and the lack of hydration that tends to accompany them, that are to blame for the sudden spike in cases of adult-onset acne. That same studyfound that 4-6 people out of 100 in the age groups of 20 - 40 have adult acne.
If you’ve ever had dry skin, then you probably know how much it can tend to itch at times. This is especially true for the skin on your face, which can develop dry flakes and even crack due to low moisture levels. Can you guess what the best way to get rid of that itch? Hydration! When we keep ourselves hydrated, we ensure that our skin never gets dry enough to itch in the first place.
Drinking enough water also helps maintain your complexion’s pH levels. Many people who struggle with their sensitive, acne-prone skin, along with many other skin issues that stem from various other health issues, don’t realize that water, and water alone, has the ability to eradicate so many of these skin care issues and restore their complexion back to a healthy state. So if you’re sitting there on the brink of surrendering to your acne issues, take a deep breath, put your thinking cap on, and start researching ways you can use water to make your skin glow free of blemishes. Of all the things you’ve likely tried, and all the money you’ve probably spent, the most effective weapon against your problematic skin was right under your nose the entire time. Water. Dang water!
Moving right along…
To those of you that are heat sensitive, and who have a tendency of developing heat rash or heat boils whenever temperatures begin to soar or your activity levels increase unexpectedly, did you know that if you just drank enough water, it would prevent your body from heating up? The water serves to regulate your body temperature, and ensures that your skin doesn’t develop any of those embarrassing heat related issues, should you venture outside.
By keeping your body hydrated, you are also helping it maintain a healthy gut and aiding it in proper digestion. Your fluid intake also regulates your bowel movements, and flushes toxins out of your body in your urine and feces. The healthier your gut, the smoother this process will be. And a healthy gut also means healthy skin that is clear and free of issues!
Your skin contains 64% water, and while it’s not some magical panacea, or some sovereign remedy that is going to make all of your maladies simply vanish into thin air, increasing your water intake WILL have a positive impact on your overall skin health. And while it’s true, not everyone out there probably agrees that water consumption will improve their skin, it certainly isn’t going to hurt it. If you are reading this, and count yourself among the skeptics out there, consider this next part.
A 2007 study in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science took an in-depth look at the effects of long-term water intake on the skin’s health. What it found was that drinking 2.25 liters (that’s 9.5 cups of water) of water every day for four weeks altered skin density and thickness. To support those findings, a second study was conducted at the University of Missouri-Columbia. This second study found that drinking 500 milliliters of water (about 2 cups) increased blood flow to the skin, which in turn, improved its overall appearance. Mmmm science!
Weight Loss and Hydration
This next part is especially important for those of who are trying to lose a bit of weight, so listen up!
With sudden weight loss tends to come some skin sagging. The amount of sagging you experience will likely depend on the amount of weight you’ve lost and the time it took you to shed those pounds. Sagging skin is more likely to occur when weight loss is rapid (think about someone who has just had bariatric surgery). Some of the more prominent areas where sagging has a tendency of becoming especially noticeable are the upper arms, thighs, waist and jawline. One way to combat this issue starts WHILE you are losing the weight. To prevent your skin from sagging and to tighten it in areas where the sagging has become more obvious, just ensure that you are always drinking plenty of water, as it will help revive the skin’s elasticity and help it tighten up as you continue on your weightloss journey.
So now that we have covered all the ways in which hydration (or a lack of it) impacts your skin and body’s health, let’s discuss the best ways to to maintain it.
Best Ways to Hydrate Your Skin
When it comes to hydration, your commitment to being proactive is going to be crucial. What’s more, you shouldn’t rely on water intake alone to keep you and your skin healthy. To do that, you need a balanced, well-coordinated plan of attack.
Skin care products and water, when used together, will provide you with the best results, according to Dr. Steven Deliduka, a board-certified dermatologist with Forefront Dermatology. Dr. Deliduka suggests that the best time to apply your hydrating moisturizer is going to be immediately following a shower. This is because after showering, the skin is still porous and vulnerable to products, allowing for better absorption. He also says that when it comes to your water intake, you should aim to take in at least 8 glasses of water every day to keep your skin hydrated and functioning properly.
The following tips can help make staying hydrated less of a chore, so read them carefully!
Tip #1. It’s always best to use a gentle cleanser before you moisturize
Morning or night, the first step in your skin care routine should be cleansing your skin. One option that works well is a no-rinse cleansing one, like micellar water. Micellar water purifies while removing complexion killing impurities.
Tip #2. Make sure you’re using a moisturizer with hydrating ingredients
It doesn’t matter if you’ve got normal, dry, oily, sensitive, or combination skin, picking a moisturizer with hydrating ingredients is absolutely essential. Try to look for one that’s formulated with hyaluronic acid, which is known for its exceptional hydrating qualities.
Tip #3. Give water-based skin care products a try
When considering hydration, another great option is to use products with a water-based formula, as they will provide your skin with long-lasting skin hydration.
Tip #4. Always apply your moisturizer to damp skin
As we covered earlier in this post, the best way to apply your moisturizer is to do so when your skin is damp (like when you are just out of the shower). This allows for better absorption, and helps to lock in all that hydration. The same rule applies to your body also when applying lotion.
Tip #5. Don’t forget about your jawline
When it comes to your skin care routine, don’t forget about your jaw and neckline. When applying your products, remember to extend it past your jawline to help hydrate your neck and decolletage area as well.
Tip #6. Think outside the box and consider products beyond your moisturizer
Sometimes our skin needs a little extra help in the hydration department. If it seems like it's still thirsting for more, consider looking for a good hydrating serum to take things to the next level. If you decide to use one, remember that serums are always applied after cleansing, but before moisturizing, and that they can be used day or night.
Tip #7. Show your skin a little extra love by using a face mask
Face masks are a great way of delivering some extra hydration to your skin, and
require very little effort to use. The right mask can provide your skin with long-lasting hydration along with a variety of other benefits (it's all about using the right formula).
Tip #8. Don’t forget about the eye cream
If you thought eye creams were only for those with mature skin, you’re wrong. The skin around your eyes is still skin, therefore it too can lose moisture same as the skin found anywhere else on your body. Considering that the skin found your eyes is actually the most fragile skin on your body, it requires a little extra attention. Try to find a good eye cream, perhaps something with cooling properties in addition to the right oils to nurture and hydrate your skin.
Tip #9. Try a facial spray when you need to replenish your skin's moisture in the middle of the day
If it’s the middle of the day and you find yourself in need of a little moisture boost, or you just want to spruce your skin up for any reason at all, we recommend reaching for a facial spray to perk yourself up. Look for a product containing ingredients that will provide your skin an effortless boost in hydration while you’re on the go.
Tip #10. Avoid those long, steamy hot showers as much as you can
Oh believe me, if anyone understands how difficult this one is, it is me. Nothing feels better that a nice, relaxing, long, hot, steamy shower - especially after a long and stressful day, an arduous workout session at the gym, or when it is freezing outside. BUT those amazing, hot showers you are taking can actually zap all the moisture out of your skin, leaving you feeling dry and itchy. Try rinsing off with lukewarm water and apply your moisturizer when your skin is still wet post-shower. Doesn’t sound as amazing, I know, but trust me when I say your skin will love you forever.
Tip #11. Try getting a humidifier
This is especially a good idea for those of you that live in colder climates, as you’ll need one to combat those cold, dry, winter months. But it can also be of use to everyone year round if they live in a dryer, or more arrid, climate. Air with a low moisture content can cause our skin to feel very dry, so using a humidifier can help add moisture back into the air and help your skin retain its moisture.
Tip #12. Remember your hands and feet have skin too
I get it, truly I do. Sometimes we spend all that time on your face and body, and completely forget all about our hands and feet. I was always taught to moisturize both just before I got into bed at night. My dermatologist always told me to slather my hands and feet with a nice, thick cream, and to then slide on a pair of gloves and socks afterwards. Do this, and by the time morning comes, you’ll already have remarkably softer, significantly more hydrated skin waiting for you when you pull the gloves and socks off your hands and feet to get ready for the day.
Tip #13. Your lips count too
Your lips are another area that require a little extra love and attention to keep hydrated. Try to always keep a tube of lip balm in your purse, car, pocket, wherever, so that you can hydrate those beautiful pouty lips on the go. Applying lip balm is an especially good idea before applying lipstick.
Tip #14. Sometimes we need to rotate the products we use based on what season we are in
So, the level of moisture your skin requires in the colder, dry winter months, may not be what it requires in the summer. Many people find that their skin tends to be a lot dryer in the winter due to the air's low moisture content, so they use thicker, richer creams that help to provide their skin with the moisture it needs. However, come the summer, when it is hot and sticky outside, many find that they only require the use of a lightweight moisturizer to keep their skin nice and hydrated. Some people even have to invest in a matte moisturizer because they get overly oily during the warmer months. This is also something to consider before going on that vacation you have planned. Think about the climate you're heading into and plan accordingly.
The list goes on, but these are great places to start to ensure you get your moisture locked in and help that gorgeous skin of yours radiate with the confidence that you deserve!