We all know drinking water does wonders for the skin, but what does that mean exactly? And how much water do you drink anyway? Is there such a thing as too much of it?
We spoke with esthetician Cassandra Lanning to learn the facts, bust some myths, and discover how to get the most out of your H20.
“The standard rule is to drink half your bodyweight in ounces”, Lanning tells us. What does this mean? If you weigh 150 pounds, divide that by 2, which gives you 75 oz. With 8 ounces in a cup, that’s about 9.3 cups of water per day. This means a heavier person may require a much higher amount of water than the recommended dose, while a petite person will require much less. Buying a large bottle equal or close to the amount of water that’s right for you is a great way to make sure you get your own custom amount of water in every day.
Caffeine is dehydrating,causing us to backtrack on our hydration routine with every cup. If you make drinking coffee or caffeinated soda a habit, Lanning suggests adding 1.5 cups of water to your routine, for every 1 cup of caffeinated beverage. Though black tea also counts against our daily water intake, herbal tea will count toward it—a few cups of peppermint on ice can jazz up a boring hydration routine.
Does water wash out clogged pores from the inside out? Not quite. “Drinking water is good for your body, but you’re not expelling toxins out of your skin as people would like to think,” Lanning explains. But water is essential to maintaining your health, and the health of your epidermis. ”Think of your skin as the last stop on the bus route. Whatever you take in through your mouth will go through your digestive system, and through all of your different systems internally. Your skin is the last priority. Our bodies are 60% water, and when you’ve got blood that needs water, lymphatic fluid that needs water, and all these different things within your body that need water, there’s not going to be enough left once it gets to your skin.”
Just like our pores tighten at the touch of cold water, our organs can have a similar reaction to chilly temperatures. Lanning suggests drinking your water at room temperature, and even adding a pinch of salt to up the mineral content for faster absorption.
The “gallon challenge” may be trendy but it might not be beneficial in the way we hoped. “If you’re drinking a gallon of water a day, you might actually be causing dehydration in your system”, says Lanning, ”When you’re drinking too much, you’re just going to pee it all out so it’s not gonna get utilized.” Lanning explains there are other reasons to not overdrink. “When you drink too much water, you’re diluting the minerals in your system which need water for transport across cell membranes and through the bloodstream, but if you’re drinking too much, you’re going to flush all that stuff away. It’s important to drink enough water, but not too much.”
If you’ve been experiencing dehydration from not drinking water, guzzling a full liter in one sitting might not be the quick fix you were hoping for. “Think of the Nevada desert floor,” explains Lanning,”If there’s a flash flood, the ground there is too dry for the water to properly absorb into it. However, in a wet place like Washington State, the ground is always being rained on so moisture will absorb. That’s kind of how our bodies work. Our organs, joints, and cartilage all need constant moisture to work properly. If you’re not drinking water regularly and absorbing it, you’re not going to get all the benefits, especially if you are over drinking. It’s about small amounts of water over a period of time.”