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The (Underestimated) Beauty Benefits of Drinking Enough Water

If you always have a cup of coffee or other caffeinated or sweetened beverage by your side, you likely think you’re getting enough hydration—but the truth is, you’re probably not.

Your often tired, pale complexion (you work too much, we get it), your lack of energy throughout the day (you didn’t sleep well last night, understood), or your perpetually dehydrated and itchy face and hands (blame it on the dry air) might be signs that your body is trying to tell you something. 

Increasing your H2O is one of the easiest and most beneficial beauty secrets. Though it won’t mean you can stop buying skin-care products like moisturizers (they’re still essential, too), hydrating your skin from the inside out can improve your health and body in unexpected ways. Drinking water is necessary for your body to run optimally, which in turn affects our skin, but what is the right amount of water? Consuming enough fluids might not be at the top of your priority list each day, but there are a few reasons why you should make drinking water a regular habit (healthy immune system, we're looking at you!). We are happy to bring to you the (underestimated) beauty benefits of drinking of enough water.

This is an image of a pigeon sipping water. The pigeon is adorable.

1. Water improves skin problems

Drinking enough water can help you combat a variety of skin issues, including eczema and acne.

Though research on the relationship between water intake and skin problems is limited, studies show that adequate fluid intake can help keep your skin hydrated, support immune function and overall wellness, and promote natural detoxification by flushing toxins out of your body. Water consumption may also play a role in the health of your skin microbiome (the microorganisms that reside on the skin). These functions, in turn, can improve the health of your skin. So hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

2. Water prevents premature aging

If you’re constantly dehydrated, the collagen (a protein that helps keep your skin soft, smooth, and firm) in your skin begins to break down, causing fine lines and wrinkles to be more noticeable.

Drinking a gallon of water a day might not magically erase those fine lines and wrinkles, but amongst the health benefits, staying hydrated will keep your skin plumper and help maintain your skin’s natural elasticity and suppleness, as long as you're getting your proper daily intake. Maintaining the elasticity of your skin is key to keeping it smooth and looking younger.

3. Water improves your skin’s complexion

If you’ve ever noticed a difference in the appearance of your skin after a late-night party where alcohol was involved, you’ll understand your body’s reaction to dehydration first-hand.

One study by the University of Missouri-Columbia found that drinking just two glasses of water increased blood flow to the skin, which can help even out your skin tone and complexion. Being conscious of your hydration levels—and avoiding consuming too much coffee or alcohol—can keep your complexion glowing. Dermatologists agree that we should each drink plenty of water!

4. Water helps dry skin and lips

When you have dry skin, it can crack, flake, and itch, which is both frustrating and annoying.

The human body is delicate. While there are a number of factors that affect your skin type, such as genetics and lifestyle, staying hydrated, along with using topical moisturizers regularly, can help. One medical literature study concluded that increasing fluid intake enhanced the hydration of the outer layer of skin while reducing skin dryness and roughness. Nourishing your dry skin in a variety of ways seems to be the best way to help solve the problem, pointing to even more benefits of water. 

5. Water balances your skin’s natural oils 

Understanding and maintaining your skin’s natural oil production is important to your overall skin health.

If you have problematic skin, you know that maintaining the pH balance (your skin’s acidity level) as well as proper moisture level is key to keeping your skin clear and blemish-free. Drinking more water can help balance your skin’s natural oils (because dehydrated skin can lead to the production of excess oil), leading to the promotion of clear, healthy skin. So drink up!

So how much water do you need?

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Now that we know drinking water is key to good health—including your skin health—how much do you actually need to consume?

A suggested calculation is to aim for half of your body weight in ounces. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should aim for 75 ounces a day, which is about 9 cups. The easiest way to get this done is by carrying a large water bottle with you everywhere you go so that you can easily drink water, and sip it throughout the day. And keep in mind that hydrating foods like watermelon and cucumber help, too. 

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Nicole Axworthy is a Toronto-based writer and author of the vegan cookbook DIY Vegan.

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