Water is absolutely essential and I’m sure you already know that. You’ve probably heard that our bodies are about 60% water.
I’m sure you’ve heard that you need to be drinking eight 8-ounce glass of water every day and have seen long lists of benefits to doing that.
But does it really help anything and do I really have to force myself to gulp down a half gallon of water every single day?
I’ll explain what water can do fo your skin and how much you really need.
Can drinking water really affect your skin?
Drinking enough water can make your skin slightly plumper, and it won’t look so dry and flaky.
I am constantly battling my dry skin and I definitely notice an improvement when I am drinking enough water. I also notice that I have fewer acne flareups when my skin is properly hydrated.
It can make it easier for your skin to naturally exfoliate. When my skin is dry, it actually tends to hold on to the dead skin with some sort of death grip. I will scrub and scrub and still have flaky skin. But when it’s hydrated, I can exfoliate it and actually have smooth skin afterwards.
Drinking enough water also helps my spray tans soak in more evenly.
And dry skin is more prone to wrinkles so staying hydrated can definitely help prevent aging skin!
Where’s the proof?
Evidence of all of the above is mostly anecdotal though. While I can’t deny the changes that I have seen in my own skin when I started drinking a bit more water, there haven’t been many scientific studies done on it.
Since water can’t really be patented and sold by pharmaceutical companies, researchers have a really hard time getting funding to study it in relation to our skin.
Still, a study done by the University of Missouri-Columbia did find that drinking about 2 more cups of water a day did increase blood flow to the skin.
Too little or too much – how can I tell?
There are absolutely a whole lot of pluses to being adequately hydrated, but you can also overdo it.
So while water is really really good for you, way too much of it can actually be bad for your health.
Drinking too much water too fast can actually flood the inside of cells in your body and results in sodium depletion. That can rupture the cells because of too much pressure, which can cause some really awful symptoms.
If the overhydration gets too out of hand, it can even lead to seizures and coma and can sometimes (although rarely) result in death.
It starts to get dangerous when you drink more water than your kidneys can process in one hour. That would be about 30 ounces for someone who has very healthy kidneys.
So if you are drinking a lot of water, make sure you space it out over the day.
Interestingly, some of the symptoms for dehydration and overhydration overlap. They can both cause headaches and disorientation. But then, so can a lot of other things.
If you notice those symptoms and think it may be water related, I’m sure you will be able to tell which end of the spectrum might be the cause.
So how much water should I really be drinking?
Unfortunately, I can’t really give you an exact answer.
The recommended 64 ounces per day is not actually a perfect amount for everyone.
There are so many different factors that would go into your optimal water intake. And that amount will likely be different every day.
It can depend on your body weight, how much physical activity you are engaging in and what climate you live in.
But there definitely are some ways that you can gauge what your body needs.
Drink when you are thirsty
Many articles out there try to say that you are already dehydrated if you notice that you are thirsty.
You usually get thirsty when the concentration of blood rises by less than 2%. Most experts define dehydration as starting when that concentration goes up by at least 5%.
So being thirsty is a good indication that you DO need a drink more water. That only makes sense, right? But it’s totally OK and normal to be thirsty.
If you are finding it hard to continue drinking water, don’t force yourself to do it. You’re probably hydrated enough already.
The pee guide
Another misconception is that dark yellow urine means you are dehydrated and that you should aim for clear urine as often as possible.
This is also not true.
Dark urine resulting from dehydration will be really, really dark. Some color in there is totally normal.
And if you are aiming for clear urine all day, then you’re probably going to be going to the bathroom every 20-30 minutes. And that’s pretty inconvenient!
You also might have problems waking up throughout the night to pee. Once it gets to the point where your sleep is constantly disrupted, it’s become a pretty unhealthy habit. You need your beauty sleep for your skin! (among other things lol)
Listen to your body
It’s generally going to be enough to use some common sense to determine how much water you need.
Our bodies are pretty smart and efficient, so they will let us know if we need a drink or if we need to put on the brakes with the guzzling.
If you are worried about getting too little or too much water, then definitely meet with your doctor to discuss what your body needs individually.