Why Hydrating the Skin is Crucial
Did you know that our bodies are made of about 60% water? And that you can go for seven days without food but if you have no water for three days you will likely die? That’s just how crucial and necessary water is for our bodies to survive! Our organs are made up of many cells that are themselves made up of water and require water to carry out their daily functioning processes. These cells are the very building blocks of life that enable our bodily functions to operate. For example, think of blood as the river that flows through our bodies and which transports all the important nutrients and chemicals around such as oxygen. Blood is made up of 92% water, so without water, our very lifeblood (literally) would cease to function! There are numerous other processes involving water in our bodies that have water at the center of its operations. The kidneys for example, which aid in flushing out toxins from the body, are 79% water. In short, water is absolutely essential to our life.
If that hasn’t convinced you of the importance of water, maybe this will. The skin is an organ that consists of around 64% water. It is also the largest organ in our body. We often take for granted the numerous processes and functions the skin provides, and often just lament that we don’t have perfect, glassy skin. Well, one of the keys to having beautiful perfect skin is actually, you guessed it, water! Water keeps the skin hydrated, by plumping up the skin cells by imparting a lovely luminosity and glow. Fresh-looking skin requires water to hydrate, without it the skin will be dehydrated, dull, and can even result in flaking. Aging occurs faster when the skin is dehydrated and wrinkles can set in faster and be more permanent.
How does water hydrate the skin?
The skin is hydrated in numerous ways. The topmost layer of the skin is known as the epidermal layer, also known as the stratum corneum. It consists of a series of very neatly-organized molecules called lipids that resemble the top of a roof or a sidewalk. There are also molecules that are hygroscopic, which means they absorb water from their surroundings. It is through these molecules that the skin absorbs and retains water. Glycosaminoglycans, also abbreviated as GAGs, are molecules that support the hydration process of the skin by supporting the structural integrity of the skin proteins such as collagen and elastin. GAGs are very water-absorbent and enable the molecules in the dermis later to transfer water around the skin. This property is very important as it provides the skin the property of elasticity, which helps it bounce back when you make faces. A lack of elasticity is what results in aging and wrinkling skin.
What happens when the skin is dehydrated?
Dehydrated skin involves a lack of water in the skin cells. It is different from dry skin which is due to a lack of oil. It is not a skin type and can occur to anyone regardless of skin type. Dehydrated skin can occur if you are not properly hydrated, and is not caused by genetics. You can tell if your skin is dehydrated if there is itchiness, dullness, or sunken under the eyes. A simple pinch test can also tell you if you have dehydrated skin. Pinch the area under your cheek and see if it bounces back, or if it wrinkles. If it wrinkles and does not bounce back your skin is likely dehydrated. Dehydrated skin is pretty simple to treat with some targeted approaches in both choices of products and lifestyle changes. Here are some easy ways to combat dehydrated skin!
1. Make sure you drink at least 8 glasses of water a day
This is also just a general rule for keeping your body healthy. As noted above, we need lots of water to function and live a healthy optimal life. An added benefit is that drinking more water and keeping your skin hydrated will also improve the texture, tone, and clarity of your skin!
2. Use a hydrating serum to add intense hydration
If your skin is dehydrated it will definitely need an extra drink of water to boost the hydration content into the skin cells. Serums are very potent in injecting some much-needed hydration to the skin. Hyaluronic acid is one of the most effective ingredients in a serum. It is a humectant, which means it draws moisture from deep within the skin and the surroundings. The skin actually produces hyaluronic acid naturally but adding a serum will help stimulate and boost the production of hyaluronic acid. It will also be very beneficial to find skincare products containing antioxidants and other skin-restoring properties to improve the level of oxygenation of the skin that delivers nutrients. Another ingredient you should look out for is glycerin, another humectant. Finally, there are also molecules known as ceramides which are lipids that build and strengthen the skin’s barrier. The skin barrier protects the skin from moisture loss, by locking the moisture in. By reinforcing the skin’s barrier, you will keep the skin hydrated as it does not lose water.
3. Try to avoid alcohol in both products and beverages
Alcohol has a very dehydrating effect on the skin, so limiting your consumption of it will have a great effect on your skin. If you have ever woken up the next day from a night of drinking with tired, dry, and dull-looking skin, that is the dehydrating effect that alcohol has on the skin. But it doesn’t stop with just drinking alcohol, you should also avoid products that contain alcohol as well as they often have very stripping effects on the skin. Avoid all toners that have alcohol in them and opt for natural, alcohol-free ones like witch hazel.
4. Eat fruits and foods with high water contents
Enrich your diet with foods that have high water content, such as fruits and vegetables. Some of the fruits and veggies with high water content include watermelon, citruses like lemons and oranges, celery, cucumber, and lettuce. Make a salad, add fruits as a snack or juice them up into a green juice!
Hydration is super crucial, not just for beautiful skin but also for healthy bodily functioning! There are many ways to hydrate the skin, and you can very easily incorporate these methods into your daily life to see an improvement in skin texture and look!