Water is a cornerstone of the human body’s composition. Your whole body is about 60 percent water, and some parts, like your lungs and heart, are composed of even more. Water keeps every organ in your body going by performing a variety of functions. It regulates your body temperature through sweat and respiration, lubricates your joints, and even helps your body metabolize nutrients in food.
There are a lot of things that drinking more water can do, but how does it affect your skin and hair? Let’s break down the effects of better hydration on these important parts of the body.
The Science on the Subject
There’s a surprising lack of scientific research on what drinking water does to change your skin. Most studies of this nature are funded by pharmaceutical companies hoping they can turn a profit from the results. Since you can’t put a patent on water, the number of studies available is still quite small. Two pieces of research provide some insight into water’s effects on skin.
1. Instant Gratification
One of the studies examined what happens to skin in the moments immediately following water consumption. The researchers had participants drink 500 milliliters of water — the equivalent of about two cups — and checked to see what happened half an hour later. Sensors were placed on the participants’ chests, lower legs, and feet to gather data.
The results showed that this amount of water increased microcirculation, the flow of blood through small capillaries in the skin. While the study didn’t go so far as to speculate on the effect of better microcirculation on skin health, it’s safe to say that better circulation is almost never a bad thing.
2. Density and Thickness
The other major study was more long-term, measuring how water consumption affected skin over four weeks. There were 93 subjects in the study, who were instructed to drink 2.25 liters of water each day. Researchers chose a spot on the forearm to measure the density and thickness of skin. Notably, the participants were divided into two groups — those who drank mineral water and those who drank tap water.
Among the mineral water group, there was a statistically significant drop in skin density and an insignificant increase in skin thickness. The participants who reported drinking little water before the study had greater increases in skin thickness.
The tap water group saw their skin density increase, while skin thickness decreased. Loss of density in the skin in related to the development of deeper wrinkles, as is thinner skin.
Further research is required to see exactly what components of the two different types of water create the opposing effects observed in the experiment. Overall, it appears that if you want to fight the effects of aging by combating thin skin, you may wish to switch to mineral water. If you're concerned about your skin's underlying density, tap water may have greater benefits for you.
The study also explored skin pH. In the mineral water group, there was no statistically significant change, but the tap water group saw decreased skin surface pH.
Researchers had intended to observe differences in the surface of the skin but didn’t find any evidence of morphological changes. Overall, the study suggests that drinking more water can definitely have a substantial impact on your skin’s physiology — but the effects vary based on the type of water you ingest.
Does Drinking Water Hydrate Your Skin?
While there’s no research on the exact mechanisms of how water hydrates skin, it's quite obvious that it does so. Your skin needs to maintain the right amount of water to function as an organ, and there's no way to get that except drinking. Here are three of the ways water is good for skin.
1. Fewer Wrinkles
Wrinkles are a result of skin changing over time. One of the most significant contributors to wrinkling is the degradation and loss of collagen. Collagen is the main structural protein that supports connective tissue in the body, and it makes up about a third of the protein in your body.
Collagen needs water to do its job of structuring your skin. In fact, water is about 60 percent of collagen's total weight. Experiments that remove water from collagen have shown that it dramatically impacts the tensile force of the protein, which has serious implications for skin health. Drinking more water will keep your collagen hydrated, and wrinkles at bay.
2. Reduced Puffiness and Dark Circles
Puffy skin, especially around the eyes, can make you look tired and worn down. When dark circles enter the mix, you might feel like you don't even recognize the face in the mirror. Both puffiness and dark circles can spring from a variety of causes. Maybe you have allergies, haven't been sleeping well, or have been drinking too much alcohol. These skin states can also occur due to the natural aging process.
Over time, the capillaries in your eyelids become damaged and aren't able to shuttle fluids out of the area as effectively as they used to. Drinking plenty of water helps the capillaries continue to do their job effectively, thereby reducing swelling and darkness under the eyes.
3. Slowed Signs of Aging
There's no way to stop the march of time, but drinking more water can help slow the development of skin changes associated with aging. Thin, dry skin is one of the primary signs of aging. As you get older, your skin stops producing as much natural moisture, and the upper layers can dry out.
The lower layers of your skin will slow down the production of cells, too. This makes your skin thinner and more susceptible to developing wrinkles. This is where both of the previously-discussed studies come in. Improving microcirculation as well as maintaining skin thickness and density with water consumption is an excellent way to fend off signs of aging skin.
Does Drinking Water Clear Your Skin?
There's no shortage of celebrities who swear drinking water brings clear skin results. While their arrays of customized moisturizers and makeup products likely improve the situation, proper hydration is definitely the foundation of glowingly healthy skin. Here are the top three benefits of water for clearer skin.
1. Improved Complexion
Remember that your skin is a collection of cells. If those cells don't get enough water to hold their shape, they'll cause irregularities in your skin's color and texture. If you become too dehydrated, your skin will get dry and begin to flake. Water is lost naturally through the body's everyday processes, and it's your job to replenish it.
If you provide your skin with a little extra water, the cells won't have to wait to get re-hydrated after events like exercise where you lose significant amounts of water through sweat. When cells have a constant supply of water fueled by adequate drinking, the consistency translates into glowing, healthier skin.
2. Faster Healing
Proper hydration is essential for healing any wound. This principle applies to significant wounds from surgery or any skin-breaking injury, but it also applies to the small-scale damage that occurs as a result of things like acne.
If there isn't enough moisture at the site of healing, cells can't move around efficiently enough to heal the wound quickly. It also prevents enough oxygen and essential nutrients getting to the site. Without hydration, your skin takes longer to heal, and the evidence of healing is more apparent.
Consuming enough water will help you ensure that your skin is equipped to heal from acne or other conditions quickly and while leaving less scarring.
3. Smaller Pores
Large pores are an irritating phenomenon that numerous cosmetic products claim to address. However, drinking more water can do what many of these products can't. The main cause of enlarged pores is excessive oil production. While your skin needs these oils to waterproof and lubricate itself, too much of it can build up in pores and cause them to stretch out.
Water helps keep pores smaller in two ways. For one, it improves the skin's elasticity. On the second front, it assists in flushing excess oils out of the pores. With these two factors working together, your skin can flush itself of oil and have the flexibility for the pores to shrink in size.
How Water Helps Hair Growth
Right alongside skin, healthy hair is crucial to looking and feeling your best. Dehydration is a serious threat to hair. If your scalp isn't getting a steady supply of water, it will immediately slow down the production of new hair cells. Extreme or chronic dehydration can even cause hair to thin or fall out altogether. On a day-to-day scale, not drinking enough water might be making your hair dull and more prone to breakage.
Dehydration plays a significant role in the development of dandruff, as well. While some of the flaking may be due to genetics or medical factors, many people find that upping their water intake reduces the amount of dry flakes and makes the condition much more manageable.
Water helps your scalp deliver the nutrients hair needs for fullness and luster. In combination with proper nutrition, increasing your water intake is one of the best things you can do for your hair.
How Much Water Should I Be Drinking?
To maintain healthy bodily function, a healthy person needs about four to six cups of water every day. If you're looking to see the benefits of drinking water for skin and hair, you will want to increase that amount. There's no scientific guideline for how much more water you need to drink, but the 9.5 cups (2.25 liters) consumed per day in the four-week study is a good goal.
The amount of water you need also depends on factors like how much you sweat. If you work outside in the heat or you like to hit the gym frequently, you'll need even more water to replenish what you lose in perspiration. A good rule of thumb would be to drink at least three cups of water per hour for every hour you're sweating heavily.
Everyone's body absorbs water at a different rate. If you chug a liter of water within one or two hours, chances are most of it will simply be excreted as urine rather than absorbed and put to use. The best move is to drink small amounts of water steadily throughout the day. A high-quality bottle that keeps water cold can be enticing to those who have a hard time drinking enough. Water flavorings are another way to make extra water consumption more appealing.
Make the Most of Water With Multipure
There's no doubt that water is essential to your body's ability to function as well as the condition of your skin and hair. However, it's important to consider the quality of the water you're drinking. If you're consuming water laden with toxic contaminants, you're less likely to see results, and your health may even suffer from it.
If you're interested in getting the cleanest, most healthful water for you and your family, Multipure invites you to learn more about our water filter system options. We help you narrow down your options by the type of home you have, where you're located, and — of course — your budget. With any of Multipure's contaminant-reducing systems, you can rest assured that you're consuming the best water for your skin, hair, and overall health.