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H20 – Oh!

There is a surprising lack of studies on exactly how much water can help your skin – probably because unlike skincare ingredients, water cannot be patented!

Human beings aren’t like plants; we don’t just suck up and use available water. It really depends on how fast and when you drink it – if you have several glasses within a fifteen-minute period, you will just pass extra urine. If you spend more than two hours sipping the same amount, more liquid is retained.

All organs, including skin, need water

Though experts differ on how much we should drink every day, they do agree that dehydration has a visible effect on the skin. The skin is an organ made up of cells, just like all the other organs of the body, and as such must have fluid.

The body needs water for the most fundamental of processes – to flush toxins from the vital organs, carry nutrients to cells, provide a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues, keep the digestive and elimination functions going and if we barely have enough water to support the vital functions, it’s no wonder there’s not enough left over for our skin.

If you don’t drink enough, all of the aforementioned functions become impaired, and the body is forced to prioritise and divert liquids for the more vital mechanisms, leaving skin dry and wrinkled.

Moisturise from the inside out

You can get some idea of dehydration by assessing skin turgor – how fast it takes the skin to return to normal if you pinch some skin and lift it up- but that can be a bit hit and miss.

Most doctors agree that few of us do drink enough water, and that good old H2O that can make a huge difference to your skin.

As all of the vital organs in the body need quite a lot of water to function, lack of it means they don’t function to full capacity. This is then reflected in the skin, so it may look dry and dull; lacking radiance and absorbing light.

Slathering expensive moisturiser on your face is a waste of time if you’re not hydrating from the inside out- all you’re doing is pasting on dead skin cells that need to slough off. Skin cell turnover, which slows as we age, will slow even further if we are insufficiently hydrated.

How to tell if you are dehydrated

Most people don’t realise that poor digestive function and headaches are a direct result of dehydration. Your kidneys filter waste products from the blood before turning it to urine, so if you increase your water intake, they’ll feel the benefit. Ideally urine should be a pale straw colour, so if yours is a dark yellow, you’re definitely under-hydrated.

The majority of the body is made up of water with up to 75% of the body’s weight due to H2O. Most of the water is found within the cells of the body (intracellular space). The rest is found in the extracellular space, which consists of the blood vessels (intravascular space) and the spaces between cells (interstitial space).

If your skin is not getting the sufficient amount of water, the lack of hydration will present itself by turning your skin dry, tight and flaky. Try a little experiment- up your water intake and note the changes in your skin. You’ll be surprised at the visible difference after a couple of weeks.

Remember that dry skin has less resilience and is more prone to wrinkling, regardless of your skin type. We all have a protective lipid layer on the surface of the skin that keeps moisture in and germs and irritants out, and it’s important to maintain these natural oils by minimising exposure to elements that deplete it- sun; smoking; harsh weather; alcohol; over-cleansing.

Make sure you are eating enough essential fatty acids; drink at least eight glasses of water a day, and establish a good skin care regime- these steps will go a long way towards staving off the visible signs of ageing.

For advice on the best skin care regime and to book a skin consultation, call Cosmetic Doctor on 01 685 3100.

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