Everyone says that you need to drink more water to stay healthy and hydrated. Of course, getting the correct amount of water intake is essential to our health, but how much of a role does water play when it comes to keeping our skin healthy? Can water really clear acne?
What is Acne?
According to WebMD, the main cause of acne is hormone imbalance, especially during puberty. Hormones are like the power that runs our body and when they get all out of whack, so does our skin.
The imbalanced hormones disrupt our skin’s oil production and cause it to go into overdrive. Then our glands create a lot of extra oil that stays on our skin and clogs it up, resulting in the inflammation that we know as acne.
Another common cause of acne is bacteria on the skin, especially p. acnes, the primary bacteria behind breakouts. Without enough water intake, our skin is more likely to trap these bacteria on the surface instead of flushing them out, and that increases the likelihood of a breakout.
Our skin is the home front when it comes to fighting acne. It is our largest organ, after all, and it’s the part of our body that we show to the world. It makes sense that we should want want to keep it healthy. Drinking enough water is a huge part of skin health, but how exactly does water influence acne?
How Does Water Impact Acne?
Since water impacts every part of our system, and especially helps to keep our skin healthy and clear, it’s important to make sure we get enough.
But let’s get something straight. Drinking water won’t change how much oil your skin produces. Since overproduction of sebum is a main source of acne for most people, water isn’t an effective way to stop acne breakouts at the source, like benzoyl peroxide is.
However, it does influence your acne by allowing your skin to get rid of toxins. The more water running through your system, the quicker and easier it is for your body to get rid of elements that could otherwise lead to breakouts.
Water and our Skin
Did you ever do that science experiment in middle school where you filled up a glass with water, oil, and corn syrup and watched the three layers separate? The three elements can’t mix together and must stay apart from each other. Minus the corn syrup, the same concept applies to water and your skin.
When we ingest water, our skin is flushed from the inside out and this helps remove toxins. But what happens when we immerse our body in water, like taking a shower or going swimming in the ocean? When we immerse our bodies in water for long periods of time, water starts to remove the oil our skin produces.
Temporarily, this is a good thing. If too much oil is the cause of acne, shouldn’t removing the extra oil help to stop the acne? Well, while it can cleanse your body, bathing or swimming doesn’t stop your pores from over producing oil, it just wipes away the extra that was already there.
This, in turn, can leave your skin dry, and that can lead to irritation that can make your acne worse when your oil glands start to produce oil again. So while drinking water is awesome for your skin, be careful when bathing or swimming for long periods of time and always hydrate afterwards.
How Much Water Do I Need?
One of the best things we can do to keep our bodies healthy and skin happy is to drink enough water. So what qualifies as “enough”? While there is some disagreement, a good rule of thumb is to drink eight 8 ounce glasses every day.
This is the 8×8 rule and is a good reference for the minimum amount of water you should intake daily. However, it’s always better for you to drink more water. According to the American Cancer Society, a healthy amount for women is 11 cups per day and for men, 15 cups per day.
It’s also important to pay attention to our bodies and learn its signals for when we need more water. At the end of the day, our body will tell us what it needs. Here are some ways to figure out whether or not you need to drink water.
Feeling hungry or thirsty. When you feel thirsty, that’s your body telling you it needs water. But maybe more surprising is that sometimes when you feel hungry, you might actually be feeling thirsty. Next time you get hunger pangs, drink some water first and see if that settles them!
Your Skin feels dry. If your skin is really dry, you may be dehydrated and need more water intake. This is especially true after a long bath, swim, or workout.
What color is your urine? Clear or colorless urine means that your water intake is good. If your urine is darker in color, you probably need more water.
Benefits of Water for our Bodies
One of the main benefits of drinking water is that it keeps our bodies running! We are 60% water, give or take, and we lose water everyday through sweating and using the restroom. That water needs to be replaced to keep us healthy and functional.
Flush Away! Our bodies use water to flush out toxins through our bladder or through our skin. This impacts acne because when we get enough water, our skin is able to get rid of toxins with ease. When we don’t get enough water, it becomes harder for our skin to remove this waste, and that raises the chances of those elements being trapped in our skin which can result in bacteria growth and acne breakouts.
It’s cheap. Water is free, unlike most acne medications. You can get tap water from your home, and even if you buy your favorite brand of bottled water, you’re still unlikely to break the bank. This makes it an easily accessible, simple solution to help cleanse your body and rid it of anything that could start another breakout.
No side effects. Water has no side effects. Everyone drinks water and no one has to worry about it causing any damage to their bodies. It’s a necessary element that doesn’t harm us.
Keeps us hydrated. Water is what keeps us hydrated. When we have enough water, all of our body systems run a little more smoothly and efficiently, which keeps them healthier and longer living.
Your skin looks better. This may come as a no-brainer, but drinking sufficient water keeps your skin healthy, and healthy skin is one of the first steps to acne-free skin.
Tips for Staying Hydrated
If just thinking about ingesting 8 cups of water everyday makes you feel queasy, there are some creative ways you can up your water intake.
Try getting water through your food! Foods like watermelon, spinach, cucumber, lettuce, and many fruits are high in or almost completely composed of water. While this won’t replace your bodies need for a glass of pure water, it can help replenish your sources and give you what you need for a time.
Add Healthy Flavor. There are some ingredients you can add to your water that are healthy for you and spice up an otherwise plain drink. In this recipe, add cucumber, mint, ginger, and lemon juice to a jug of water. Let it sit overnight and strain it before drinking. All of these ingredients have positive effects on your body and skin.
Take a Dip! Take some time to go swimming in salt water. This can be at a salt water pool or in the ocean, but don’t go blindly.
While swimming in salty water can help for a while, the cleanliness of the salt water and the amount of time you spend in it are huge factors to the impact your skin will get. Bathing in bacteria-laden water won’t help your skin, no matter how salty it is.
If you don’t have access to salt water or prefer not to or anything, you can make a salt water spray with sea salt and warm water.
Cool Off. One of the most refreshing feelings is a light mist of cool water on a hot day. Why not add some extra ingredients to a simply spray bottle for a bit of a healthy glow? You can make your own by mixing “2-3 drops of Azulene or chamomile essence, lavender extract or thyme oil” with water in a spray bottle. You can use this on your face as well as the rest of your body for a nourishing, hydrating refresher.
Form New Habits
As you drink water more frequently, your body turns it into a habit. This has several benefits for your skin. One of these is that drinking water can serve as a replacement for other beverages that aren’t as good for you.
For example, choosing to drink water over soft drinks gives you many health benefits. Soft drinks aren’t proven to cause acne but replacing them with water lowers your chances of other problems like diabetes, weight gain, insomnia, and digestive issues, all of which can lead to breakouts.
While water won’t cure your acne, drinking a sufficient amount can help your body fight off the inflammation and prevent possible causes of breakouts.
It also gives you many health benefits with the rest of your body, and who doesn’t want that? Drink enough water, and your body will thank you.