I am once again coming to you saying that it is hot. It is hot and it is humid, and we are sweating like crawfish at a boil down here on the gulf. Scarily, it seems that we're in some of the cooler areas of Texas this year.
Now if all that sweat is drying out your glowing skin and a heavier doesn't seem to help, what can you do? This post will explain some misconceptions around skin hydration, so that you can make better choices to keep your skin plump and vibrant during the hot summer months, as well as the cold dry ones.
1. How much water should I be drinking?
This is a very personal question. I know that we hear 64 ounces from so many fitness gurus, but honestly, the science doesn't support it. Each person needs a different amount. It depends on your body type, your physical activity, the environment you live in, and your diet.
For example, a woman who works in an air conditioned office, who does not get too much physical activity, and eats a healthy diet that contains lots of fruits and veggies, will not need to drink as much water as a man who works outdoors, goes to the gym every morning to crossfit, and downs lots of caffeinated protein drinks and supplements.
The science suggests an average female over 18 will need 2.7L of water. Some she can get from her diet with water heavy fruits and veggies. Here's her true guide: her pee. (And that goes for everyone) Your urine should be a light, pale yellow liquid that does not have a strong smell. You should urinate around 4 times a day.
You should also pay attention to your thirst. If you are thirsty, you should drink. Water, herbal teas, infused waters. Not iced coffees. (Sorry, but it's true. It's not hydrating at all, in fact its dehydrating, and typically full of sugar.)
2. Is plain water the only liquid I need?
Technically, yes. But realistically, no. Our water is not water from nature. It has not rolled over stones and soaked up the soil. We cleanse our water, even if you're drinking it from a tap, it's been chemically treated. And truly this is not a bad thing. How many times did you die of dysentery on the Oregon Trail?
However, we also have a diet devoid of essential nutrients and minerals. Speaking just for our skin, we need sodium and potassium. The liquid inside our skin cells and in the surrounding fluid must have a balance. Inside our cells, we need potassium. Outside we need sodium.
Unfortunately we in the western world typically have an extremely high sodium intake. This creates an imbalance in the natural equilibrium of pressure from the inside of our cells and the outside.
This is not a problem if you are eating a clean diet and getting the proper level of nutrients your body needs, which is the goal. It is best to be eating the rainbow of fruits and veggies daily. At that point, water really is the only liquid you need.
3. Can hyaluronic acid keep my skin hydrated?
Kind of. Hyaluronic acid is a substance naturally found in your body's connective tissue, including your joints and your skin. It's what helps keep your knees springy and your skin plump.
It actually binds to water molecules, up to 1000 times its own weight. It is extremely important to the proper functioning of your body.
However, it is not found inside your skin cells. It is found in the "glue" around your skin cells. So it will not help with the hydration of your actual cells. Now that is not to say you should ignore it and it won't help you. It absolutely will, but it is not a cure-all for dehydrated skin.
You can administer it topically via a serum or you can take it internally as a supplement. If you're wanting it specifically for your skin, I recommend a serum since your body will probably use it in your joints first if you take it internally, such as my Dandelion & Senna serum that has Cassia senna, which is the botanical form of hyaluronic acid. You can check it out at my online store here.
Just remember that using hyaluronic acid is not a replacement for staying properly hydrated.
4. Is it really dehydrating to drink coffee?
If it is caffeinated coffee, absolutely. Caffeine is a diuretic. (Hence why you tend to poop after your morning cup.) Diuretics expel salt and water from your body. It is their sole purpose in life. So if you're drinking tea, coffee, soda, energy drinks that contain caffeine, you are causing your body to release water.
While we're on the topic of things we put in our body that dehydrate us, I want to tackle dried foods. Anything that you put in your mouth that has been dried, your body first has to moisten in order to digest. So a piece of toast, a power bar, cereal, a morning croissant. Those are all foods that will draw excess moisture out of your body.
In fact, most of our water loss comes from digestion. It is the process that our bodies use the most water to complete. This is another reason it's vital to eat whole fruits and vegetables consistently throughout the day, and not rely on quick prepackaged meals for our diets.
So there you are, 4 little known reasons you might be accidently dehydrating yourself. This summer, don't stay thirsty my friends. Give yourself that glowing, vibrant skin!