Many of us are aware of the importance of drinking enough water for our overall health and wellbeing. From regulating body temperature to aiding digestion, H20 does its bit in generally keeping the mind and body fit and healthy.
But what happens to our skin if we don't drink enough water? We speak to Dr Justine Hextall, dermatologist at The Harley Medical Group, to get the lowdown on how drinking water affects our skin, and how to maintain a hydrated and healthy look:
Does drinking water improve skin?
In short, it absolutely can. 'Water has a huge impact on our skin,' explains Dr Hextall. 'If we're dehydrated this will show on the skin, turning it dry, tight and flaky. So if skin is naturally dry and sensitive, it is particularly important to try and keep it as hydrated as possible.'
'When skin is inflamed, has eczema or psoriasi, transepidermal water loss is increased,' she adds. 'For those with very severe and widespread inflammatory skin conditions, water loss is a real issue and fluid intake should be carefully monitored.
'Hydration is also important for individuals working long hours in an air conditioned or over heated office. Equally if you have had a night of partying, excessive alcohol and little sleep no amount of moisturiser is going to take away that dull, sunken appearance. A rich cream may reduce the irritation and dryness but plenty of water, fruit and an early night are what's needed to restore that healthy glow.'
How to maintain skin hydration
Hydrated skin just glows, looking plumper, calmer and reflects light better hence the term glowing skin. The key to keeping skin hydrated is a combination of ensuring adequate fluids and minimising water loss, recommends Dr Hextall.
'In the colder months, when central heating plays havoc with skin, leaving it red and chapped, it is important to apply richer moisturisers that will protect the skin barrier, as well as making sure cleansers are gentle so to not unbalance the skin leading to further water loss,' Dr Hextall says.
'If skin is very dry an oil cleanser is often my advice. Hyaluronic acid and glycerin are particularly excellent ingredients for maintaining skin hydration. I also often recommend looking for humectants in moisturisers to draw water to the skin, and incorporating a serum.'
How much water should we drink?
'I think that we are often encouraged to drink more water than is actually needed,' says Dr Hextall. 'If we drink several litres of water a day we will just naturally excrete them; excess water will not be diverted to our skin.
'There is also a myth that it will flush out toxins. Removal of unwanted elements by the body is a complex process and unfortunately it is not a simple as flushing large volumes of water through the system. That said it is important to remain hydrated during the day. If we become dehydrated we can develop headaches, lose concentration, and our skin can look dull and lifeless, amongst other problems.'