Skin Care Myths: Drinking More Water Will Hydrate Your Skin

This is a popular one, perpetuated by fitness and fashion magazines.

Only one study ever linked drinking water with skin hydration. That study used expensive mineral water, not plain bottled or tap water, and the study didn’t have a control group.small-glass-of-water.JPG

No study has ever shown regular water has any impact on your skin and no controlled study has ever shown that any type of drinking water has an effect on your skin.

From a physiologic perspective, drinking water could only have a negligible impact on your skin’s hydration. In fact, patients who have too much water in their tissues (edema) do not have healthy skin. For example, patients with venus insufficiency who have swollen, fluid filled legs have skin that is often dry, itchy, and scaly.

The amount of water in your skin after a 5 minute shower is magnitudes higher than you could achieve by trying to hydrate it from the inside out. The key is to apply a cream or ointment when your skin is still wet to seal in the moisture.

Then drink as little or as much water as you like.

11 thoughts on “Skin Care Myths: Drinking More Water Will Hydrate Your Skin”

  1. Hi !
    I’m not sure about what the article says about the negligible impact on the skin by drinking water. Because my doctor said that when a person is dehydrated if you pinch the skin it is going to take longer time to go back in place (less elasticity) and the eyes of a dehydrated person will look more shallow (inside their holes) so I think that there is a huge impact on the skin by drinking water. average quantity for an adult: 2 l./day

  2. 2L looks very small amount.

  3. Drinking plenty of water has made my skin beautiful. I get compliments on my skin every day. A week after drinking 60 oz a day, all my red spots disappeared, thin wrinkles vanished, and my skin looked dewy and beautiful. Because I drink water I do not need foundation.

  4. Drinking water also helps clear up acne. It actually works too.

  5. drink as little water as we like? hmm, are you working for coca-cola? Frankly, I loathe these kind of contradictory articles just in the name of “other side of the story”. Kudos for water!!

  6. Less water? You gotta be kidding.
    Water is what flushes out toxins from every cell in your body. You can’t drink to much water and cause your legs to swell. What causes water retintion is an excess of impurityes in the body mainly acids. When the body is over staurated with acids and toxins it goes into shock and places the toxins and acids in cells where it will do the least damage until the body gets enough fresh water to flush out the toxins.
    Drink more water for better health everywere in your body!

  7. Great comments; guess the jury is still out on the benefits of drinking enough water daily and what effects it has on the body; personal results play a large part in this. I’m trying to form a strike a balance in my practices…drink recommended amount of water per day to flush out impurities, etc., and externally moisturize the skin daily as it is the largest organ the body has. I read that applying cream or lotion after a shower while skin is still damp may help to lock in moisturizing effects.

  8. This article is absolute nonsense. Lack of adequate hydration in the body affects EVERYTHING, including the SKIN. Good grief, was this written by an MD? If so, I would not recommend going to them because plain common sense should tell anyone that. My goodness, what on earth.

  9. @kina
    Your physician is correct. Those are signs of dehydration. They are uncommon in healthy people who drink when they are thirsty, which is the point of the article.

    It’s not.

    That’s great. I am glad water has such an impact on you. Thanks for sharing.

    It’s nice to hear that water helps your acne. Thanks for letting us know.

    LOL. No, @dermdoc does not recommend drinking Coca Cola. I recommend drinking only water, not any other drinks. Many people are too hard on themselves and feel that they need to drink water constantly all day. This is unnecessary; there’s no benefit to over-drinking water.

    Thanks for your contribution, you have some interesting ideas, but they are not medical. Patients who have leg swelling have to limit the water they drink, not drink more. Diuretic pills, of which many older patients take, serve only to squeeze excess water out of your body. It is possible to drink too much water. The point of the article is not to force people to drink less, rather to not feel obligated to drink more than necessary. Healthy people can drink as much water as they like, but there is no benefit to their skin for doing so.

    @skinglow muse
    Great points. Thanks for contributing.

    One of the differences between a professional and a lay person is that the professional knows when common sense is incorrect. Many things in medicine are not common sense.

    For example, commons sense would say that putting bleach in your bath would be the worst thing to do if you have eczema. Physicians will inform you that putting bleach into a bath will significantly help eczema.

    I’m not advising people to stop drinking water — drink as much water as you like. However, don’t feel guilty if you don’t drink water all day. Common sense might tell you that your hurting your skin, but the truth is it’s unlikely to harm you at all.

    Thank you for your comments. I look forward to hearing back from you. -JB

  10. I was recently told by my Dr that I’m allergic to Nickel he gave me a paper with foods to avoid and it also said to avoid contact with water, does that mean shorter showers and no pool (*sigh) or also cut the water intake? Is tap water bad for me or can I also drink mineral water.

    Thank you for your blog it has been very helpful

  11. Really enjoyed the article and the comments. In fact I enjoyed it so much that I wrote about water and skin hydration on my blog. I can understand that in maybe a controlled experiment it would be difficult to see immediate results. But would it not be the fact that if a person is not hydrated enough for years then this will have a negative impact on his skin? Anyway, thanks for this information!

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