The impression that you’ll have a better complexion if you remain hydrated is so commonly heard of that it’s surprising to learn the lack of evidence to back this claim up.
If you crave for smooth skin with a youthful glow, the chances are that at some point, you must have come across the exhortation to drink lots of water to flush out those nasty toxins and sustain your skin’s health.
The exact amount of people recommend varies. US-based advice tends to endorse eight glasses per day, while in warmer, tropical climates, people are guided to drink more to recompense for higher frequencies of sweating. But regardless of the particular volume of water proposed, the principle behind the suggestion remains the same – consuming extra water will allow your skin to stay hydrated. In other words, water acts as a moisturizer, but from the inside out.
This is such a commonplace notion that you might be surprised at the lack of evidence supporting it. You may expect there to be innumerable studies where people are separated into two groups, with one assigned to sip water all day, and the other to drink a standard quantity. The smoothness of the skin could then be evaluated a month or so later to determine whether sipping more led to glossier skin.
Such studies are rare, somewhat because water cannot be patented, so it is hard to find anybody to fund such research when there is no novel medication or cosmetic to sell that could reimburse the costs.
Tests carried out by dermatologists in one study looking at the effect of long-term water intake on the skin showed contradictory results. After four weeks, the group with the individuals who drank extra mineral water displayed a decrease in skin density, which some think suggests the skin is preserving more moisture, while those who drank tap water presented an increase in skin density. But irrespective of the type of water they drank, it caused no alterations to their wrinkles; neither did it impact the smoothness of their skin.
That’s not to say that dehydration does not affect the skin. We can gauge some effect through the evaluation of skin turgor. This is gauging how fast the skin returns to normal if you pinch some of it and lift it. If you are dehydrated, your skin will take more time to get its shape back.
But it does not follow that because drinking too little water is bad for the skin, drinking above average amounts is good. It would be like saying that since a lack of food leads to malnutrition, overeating must be beneficial for us.
Another common perception is that if you drink extra water, the body will somehow store it. But think about it – it depends on how fast you are consuming water. Drinking several glasses within fifteen minutes will just result in passing extra urine. If you spend more than two hours drinking the same amount, you can perhaps retain more liquid.
There is one study proposing that drinking 500 ml of water increases the blood flow through the capillaries in the skin. But the skin was only assessed thirty minutes after drinking the water, and we do not know whether this, in turn, recovers skin tone.
One counter argument holds that skin contains up to 30% water, and this aids it to look plump. This may be accurate, but the skin’s youthful appearance is impacted more by factors such as exposure to the sun, genetics, and damage from smoking.
So, what remains unidentified is where the eight-glasses-a-day recommendation for good skin comes from. Moreover, where does the notion of drinking extra water arise from? A few of the official guidelines even make references to the benefits for the skin. Water is unquestionably the most vital nutrient for the body. Without it, we will die in a matter of days. There are, of course, several health benefits that come from staying hydrated. Studies suggest good evidence that it reduces the recurrence of kidney stones in those who have already had them, but evidence for other specific benefits is relatively weaker.
It is still hotly disputed whether the eight glasses a day rule is apt or not; other disputes center around how much is needed to clear the kidneys of toxins and whether or not water aids in curbing the appetite. It is contingent on how high the ambient temperature is and how much you are exerting yourself.
It is also a myth that other liquids do not count. It does not necessarily have to be water. Even food comprises more liquid than you might envisage. For instance, pizza is forty to forty-nine percent of water. The percentage of water that we derive from food in the diet depends on where we reside. In places people eat more vegetables and fruits, it is much higher.
So, the problem is a general lack of evidence that drinking more water makes any difference to your skin. We cannot say it does not work, but there is no substantial evidence that it does. This conclusion begs the question – how much water should you drink? Since it depends on the weather conditions and what you are doing, there is a very good internal guideline we all have that can help.
If you are experiencing any skin-related problems, instead of self-medicating and only remaining hydrated, contact a top dermatologist in Lahore.