This is a question I am constantly asked by clients when I am either conducting a consultation or when someone comes to me after a severe bout of dryness and flaking.
Well, first of all remember that your skin is an organ, albeit, an external one and needs proper nutrition, water, oxygen, enzymes, protection from the elements and adequate rest. These components will assist in cellular reproduction (new skin cells), synthesis of collagen (reducing lines and wrinkles) and other fibers and tissues but also help to exfoliate the topical dead layer of skin, much the same way as internal organs have to excrete metabolic debris (waste matter), dead and toxic material.
Water, taken internally not only flushes out toxins and waste matter but it also helps to carry nutrients to the cells in the body and provides a moist environment for the sensitive tissues of the nose, ear and throat. So how much water should you be drinking? It has been determined through various clinical studies that approximately 3 liters (13 cups) is adequate for men whereas women need slightly less and that is about 2.2 liters (9 cups). Having said that, one should also take into account all fluids one is imbibing (no, not caffeine, pop or alcohol) but soups, fruits and vegetables that contain high percentages of liquid. Hence, if someone is drinking only 6 cups of water but eating a lot of fruits and vegetables that yield fair amounts of liquid, it should be adequate.
Our bodies are comprised of 70% fluids so it makes perfect sense to replenish it to keep that figure constant. If you live in a hot climate, perspire easily, urinate a lot, are extremely active, then obviously you are bound to get dehydrated sooner. One of the symptoms of dehydration is fatigue. It becomes imperative, then, to drink enough fluids to compensate for what was lost.
So far I covered your internal organs. Let’s get back to the skin. So when you drink all that fluid internally, is it really impacting on the dry and dehydrated texture of your skin externally. The answer is: minimally! Why? If you ever look at the physiology and structure of the skin, you will find that the topmost layer is comprised totally of dead skin cells, then comes the live cellular part, then follows the true skin (also called the dermal layer) which is comprised of collagen and elastin fibers, blood vessels, oil glands, hair follicles etc. and then follows the subcutaneous or fatty layer and under this is the muscular tissue and then bone. Do you really think that the water that you drank internally is going to migrate upwards, against the force of gravity, going through umpteen layers of tissue and cells to get to the top of your skin and give it the hydration support it needs?
That would not only be a challenge but truly an impossible feat to accomplish! Let me put it another way. If that were possible, as many think it is, why does your blood and plasma not shoot upwards and get out of your skin topically? Nature created the protective barrier of dead skin cells topically for this very reason. These are hardy keratin cells and will not allow anything to go in or out which makes absorption of products so difficult. Hence, it becomes imperative for YOU to hydrate topically. Use cosmeceutical grade, medical grade or any quality humectant (example Hyaluronic Acid that draws 1000 times its own weight in moisture from the air) and then apply either a moisturizer or a spritzer over it or alternatively, use a moisturizer that already has hyaluronic acid in its formula. Your skin will be ever grateful! Just make sure that the product you use has an effective delivery system so that it actually penetrates! If you have a $150 skincare product that is not designed to penetrate, it really has no value. You may as well just use petroleum jelly. At least, it will protect your skin from the harsh winter winds because it is an occlusive product and just sits on top as a barrier.