Water has always been thought to provide benefits for the skin, but drinking huge amounts of it isn't going to make you look even better. The body will simply eliminate the excess through urination. However, water intoxication is a real, although uncommon condition, and it can kill you. It causes cells and tissue to swell to the point of bursting. It's also associated with electrolyte disturbance and hyponatremia, a dilution of sodium in the bloodstream. Healthy kidneys can process fifteen liters of water per day. The recommended amount is eight eight-ounce glasses a day, but if you exercise a lot you may need more, and for some people four glasses is sufficient. Twenty percent of our water intake comes from food, and that counts toward our daily drinking dose. But since the body conserves water for the more important organs, what we ingest is utilized first by the heart, brain, liver, and kidneys before the skin gets a sip. So it is likely that most of us aren't drinking enough.
Water is essential to the skin's metabolism and regeneration. The highways bringing nutrients to your skin and taking metabolic debris away are the blood vessels. Water moves blood flow along smoothly and washes away toxic by-products (enzymes, amino acids, salts) from chemical reactions. The visible brightening effect that you see on your skin has to do with that robust circulation. It also increases the extracellular water in your facial tissues, so you may get a slight plumping effect. But refuting these facts, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania recently found no clinical evidence that water consumption is essential to helping the kidneys filter toxins more efficiently. Their findings also included this: drinking water can't actually hydrate the skin from the inside out. With all this contradictory information, how much water do you need to benefit the skin? Since the liquid you drink won't reach the stratum corneum, you're better off alleviating dry skin topically with a moisturizer that prevents water loss from the surface. Even though there may be no direct correlation between drinking water and plumping or moisturizing your skin, sufficient hydration is essential to keeping the body - and the skin - healthy. Ultimately, adequate water consumption is like eating a balanced diet: it's good for your body as a whole, your complexion included. Plus, water is essential to breaking down fat and losing weight.
More Answers from Ellen Marmur, MD