Every cell, tissue and organ in the body requires water to function, which is why having a radiant glow has a lot to do with having hydrated skin. Hydration requirements are always individual -- they can increase in the warmer months, or during times of intense activity and perspiration. In the cooler months the air can be cold and dry; the use of indoor heating systems may warm the air, but with less moisture can dry the skin. No matter the environment staying hydrated can ensure you look your best all year long.
The skin is the body's largest organ and is composed of three layers: the epidermis (outermost), dermis (middle) and hypodermis (innermost). Together, they work to protect the body from nature's elements and eliminate toxins through pores when we sweat. When the body loses water, much of it is lost through the epidermis. According to Harvard Health Publishing, the uppermost layer of the skin must contain a minimum of 10% water. For optimal health, the balance should reach between 20% and 35% water and if levels drop below the skin is more likely to be dry, dull and appear more lined.
Hydration is so much more than the number of glasses of water you drink each day. While this is important, it is not the only way to hydrate. Including moisture-rich whole foods and prioritizing non-caffeinated beverages can also help keep your skin hydrated.
Let's take a look at the common but also the surprising signs you may be dehydrated and simple day-to-day ways you can help hydrate your skin from the inside out.
Thirst is an obvious indicator you may be dehydrated in addition to this, so is darker, less frequent urination. Certain lifestyle choices can affect hydration. In addition to the weather or your activity level, impaired detoxification and excessive consumption of caffeine and alcohol may also contribute. If you're invested in learning how to hydrate your skin from the inside, consider the drinks you are consuming daily. Opt for mostly natural spring water high in essential minerals, swap out some caffeinated drinks for herbal tea's and be sure to replenish fluids during and after a workout.
Hydration is not only based on fluid intake but also the body's ability to hold water in cells effectively. You might want to consider some of the more surprising signs of dehydration if you are experiencing any of the following signs:
Dry skin can also be a recognizable sign of dehydration, but is more often linked to not having enough natural oils to hydrate the skin. In this instance applying moisturizers to relieve dry skin can work -- just remember to be mindful of the ingredients which get absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Replace chemical-laden moisturizers with natural alternatives like Vitamin E or coconut oil. These provide hydration at a deeper level and leave your skin feeling soft and moisturized.
The first step to optimal hydration is, of course, to drink enough water. A good starting point is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day, which is why on average drinking at least eight glasses of water is recommended. A regular supply of water helps the body run optimally and replaces some of the water lost through the skin. A dehydrated body needs additional electrolytes and an effective, way to balance electrolytes naturally is to add a pinch of sea salt and the juice of a lime or lemon to water.
Eating more fresh produce is also an effective way to bolster your water intake as most fruit and vegetables are over 80-90% water and count towards your hydration requirements. Here are some of the most hydrating foods to incorporate:
Starting your day with a nutrient packed, easy to digest breakfast smoothie is another way to stay hydrated. Take 1-2 cups of fruit -- frozen blueberries are a top choice and full of antioxidants, frozen or fresh spinach -- a great way to get in extra greens, a few tablespoons of healthy fats, an all-in-one nutrient and protein powder all blended together with 1-2 cups of water or unsweetened plant milk and you will be well on your way to a hydrated day.