Water is the most important nutrient for skin health and general well being. Our bodies are made up of 45-55% by weight of water and this water needs to be continuously replenished in order to prevent stagnation and toxic build up in our cells and tissues.
Our bodies constantly excrete water. On average, 1 ½ large glasses per day are lost through our breath – the humid air leaving our lungs can be easily seen on a cold day. Our bowel and kidneys excrete six glasses of water every day and depending on the temperature, at least two glasses is lost through our skin.
Our bodies aim to maintain fluid balance. This means that fluid output must equal fluid intake. As long as output and intake are equal the total amount of water in the body does not change. The main way the body can regulate this is to alter the amount of water excreted form the kidneys.
So if you don’t drink enough water your body will compensate by reducing the quantity of urine you produce and this has an impact on the amount of wastes able to leave your body. We need to ensure that we are drinking enough to enable our body to replace and refresh the water it contains.
If our intake of water falls too low, dehydration will occur because, despite every effort, our body cannot compensate for this imbalance, as some output (loss) of fluid will occur as long as life continues. Dehydration or lack of water causes the chemical reactions in our cells to become sluggish, cells can no longer rebuild tissue, toxic products accumulate in our bloodstream, enzyme action is inhibited and we can feel weak and tired.
Our dermis is very reliant on water. It is made up of an interfibrillary fluid called glycosamioglycans, which is made up of a large amount of water. Our collagen and elastin fibers are embedded in the jelly-like fluid and correct water levels are crucial in maintaining the moisture and flexibility of these fibers.
Water is also crucial for our epidermal health. Enzymes naturally found within the epidermis are reliant on water in order for them to remain active. Without adequate water levels enzyme action is inhibited and the skin begins to suffer.
Optimum water content is crucial to ensure enzymes found in the epidermis are able to carry out their action. The health and appearance of the skin is therefore dependent on the epidermis being sufficiently hydrated.
Unfortunately, it is difficult for the upper layers of the epidermis to tap into the body’s internal reservoir of water. Because of this the hydration of the epidermis is more influenced by the environment in which we live (air conditioning etc) and the skin care products we choose to use.
Considering all of the health benefits of water there are no doubts as to why this is one of our best beauty aids – taken both internally and externally.