Here in Colorado, with our low humidity, dry skin is a common problem. That’s why many people make moisturizers a regular part of their skin care regimen. Whether it’s face moisturizers, hand lotion, or other products, they apply them frequently and work them in to reach lower layers of skin. And, of course, ensuring your skin is well-hydrated is essential wherever you are!
But there’s another—arguably better—way to keep from experiencing the discomfort of skin dehydration. It’s an approach that works from the inside out: drinking more water.
Protecting Your Body’s Largest Organ System
It’s easy (and common) to think of skin as just sort of the body’s outer covering, with its primary purpose being to “hold us together,” so to speak. But skin is actually the body’s largest organ system. It plays a vital role in your health in many ways, including helping regulate your body temperature and preventing harmful substances from entering your body.
So, it’s crucial to keep your skin functioning as it should, including the outermost layer of skin cells called the stratum corneum. Drinking fluids (water in particular) helps. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t apply moisturizers. When combined with getting plenty of water throughout the day to prevent dehydration, they can be an important tool for better skin health.
How Proper Hydration Can Improve Skin Health
Your skin hydrates itself by pulling fluid out of tiny blood vessels called capillaries. If you let yourself get dehydrated, there’s less water available for that purpose. Consequently, your skin may become drier faster.
But if you drink plenty of water each day, your skin can access all the moisture it needs from your blood.
Moisturizers with hyaluronic acid can aid in skin hydration. They cause your skin to pull in more water from the capillaries. Applying other types of moisturizers, including after you bathe or shower, helps keep your skin soft by preventing moisture from evaporating. Moisturizers (particularly those that are fragrance-free and don’t have any irritating ingredients) can also reduce the symptoms of skin conditions for people with skin types prone to issues like atopic dermatitis.
Beware of Unrealistic Claims About Hydration and Skin Health
It’s a fact that staying adequately hydrated is good for your skin. But if you search online for information about hydration and skin health, you’ll likely find lots of misleading or inaccurate statements.
Claims that drinking water can eliminate skin wrinkles in older adults or make your skin glowing and radiant are hype. Your body has an ideal hydration level, and it will eliminate water that exceeds it. So, guzzling excessive amounts of water won’t “plump” your skin noticeably. Instead, it’ll just cause you to make more trips to the bathroom!
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t drink plenty of water daily. You absolutely should. And if the choice is being slightly over- or under-hydrated, it’s better to get more water than you need rather than less. But just understand that drinking large quantities of water won’t give you “movie star skin” or “take decades off your appearance.” However, it will have a positive impact on everything from the health of your skin to your blood pressure.
So, drink up, moisturize, and love the skin you’re in!