True or False: Drinking Water Will Hydrate Dry Skin
If you imagine 8 glasses a day go straight to your skin, read on.
There are many good reasons to drink water: It’s refreshing, and it helps your brain function, maintains energy levels, regulates body temperature, aids in digestion, and ultimately keeps your body healthy. (You couldn’t survive more than a few days without a sip.)
But “humans aren’t like plants. Our skin doesn’t perk up when we consume water,” says Katie Rodan, a dermatologist in the San Francisco Bay area and a coauthor of Write Your Skin a Prescription for Change. In fact, when you ingest it, “water doesn’t go straight to the skin,” she says. “It goes through the intestines, gets absorbed into your bloodstream, and is filtered by kidneys. Then it hydrates cells.” When it comes to moisturizing skin, drinking water falls short.
What Does Work
Your skin type, whether it’s dry, oily, or a veritable combo platter, is largely determined by your genes. That natural moisture level then fluctuates depending on what your skin’s protective lipid barrier is exposed to. This lipid layer helps keep moisture in and germs and irritants out. (That’s why dry skin can become red and itchy.)
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Minimizing your exposure to depleting elements―low humidity, harsh winds, dry heat, high altitude, sun, alcohol, long baths―and avoiding stripping soaps can prevent the loss of natural oils. “Diet can play a role in strengthening your skin’s ability to maintain moisture, too,” says Leslie Baumann, a professor of dermatology at the University of Miami.