I am looking out of the window as we speak and it’s beautifully weather – finally the summer seems to have arrived. Keeping up a sufficient water intake during the warm summer months is important, to compensate for the higher rate of sweating, because you don’t want your body to become dehydrated.
Water is also essential for the normal functioning of the skin and if you are dehydrated that’s clearly not good for your skin either. However, is there any scientific evidence for they dogma that we HAVE to drink at least 2 litres of water every day?
Some years ago, when I still worked at the University Hamburg in Germany, we did a study which found that people who had drunken comparably little before the study, showed a thickening of their skin when they started drinking a bit over 2 litres of mineral water per day, so a clear improvement. However, drinking extra water in people who were already hydrated sufficiently, didn’t show any additional benefits in our study.
There seems to be also a difference with regards to what kind of water you drink. In our study the control group that drank tap water only, showed no skin thickening at all (in fact skin thickness went down).
The skin surface morphology (i.e. lines, wrinkles, skin roughness etc.) did not show any differences with drinking more water (either tap water or mineral water) in our study in either group. So it was a mixed bag of results and the jury is still out I would say.
On a different topic – the notion that drinking extra water will hydrate dry skin (i.e. act like a moisturiser from the inside) is also an unproven myth. There is no proper scientific evidence to date to support this. What has been proven to keep dry skin better hydrated in fact is to apply lipid rich moisturisers, which helps to hold the existing water in your skin by reducing water evaporation from your skin, and thus increasing skin hydration levels. So rich emollients will help with dry skin (but avoid on breakout prone skin!), but probably not drinking more water (unless your body is severely dehydrated).
I am not saying that you shouldn’t drink sufficient water throughout the day (better to constantly sip rather than down a big amount in one go by the way), but just be aware that the notion of plumping up lines and wrinkles as well as relieving dry skin by drinking extra water hasn’t been proven in any way. So that’s my myth busting for today done…