Healthy Skin and Water: What the Science Shows

by Dr. Paula Patel


We’ve all been told that one of the secrets to healthy, beautiful skin is to drink a lot of water. But is it true? Let’s look at the evidence for upping your water intake, explain why it’s so good for your skin, and get real about just how much water you should actually drink each day.

When you think of healthy, young-looking skin, what picture comes to mind? You probably imagine smooth, firm skin that has some elasticity. Those features are largely the result of the water stored beneath the surface of skin, along with a few other ingredients that work together to create that image you have in mind. And one of the main ones? Hyaluronic acid.

Hyaluronic acid (HA)


Don’t let the name fool you: hyaluronic acid, or HA, is a clear, gel-like substance your body makes to help your skin retain water. In fact, HA can hold 1000 times its own weight in water. The problem is that as you get older, your body makes less of it, which means your skin just can’t hold as much water as it used to. The same holds true for other moisture-retaining elements of your skin, like collagen and elastin. The result? Dry, sagging skin that we associate with aging. And new research shows that if you spend a lot of time in the sun, you lose even more HA.


Water is one of the few things our bodies need to survive. 60 percent of your body weight comes from water, and it’s for a good reason: every cell in your body needs water to function. Think about it: water removes contaminants and bacteria. That’s why we doctors are always telling you to drink plenty of water when you get sick. Water keeps your joints lubricated so they move smoothly. Water keeps your temperature stable. When you don’t drink enough water, your skin loses elasticity. You start to develop wrinkles, laugh-lines, and other signs of age. And if you spend time in the sun, you’re accelerating this aging process, losing even more HA than ever.

Despite this, almost 80 percent of Americans say they don’t drink enough water.



How much is enough?


According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, here’s the ideal amount of water you should drink each day:

Women Men
11.5 cups 15.5 cups

They point out, however, that people who live in hot climates, or who are physically active may need to consume more than these amounts. They also explain that the amounts above include water consumed in food. So that apple, sandwich, and slice of pizza all contribute to the values listed above.

Unsurprisingly, some of the highest water content foods include fruits and vegetables. So, the more you get them into your diet, the healthier your skin will look.

Tips & tricks


It’s easy to forget to drink enough water every day. If you’re like me, you get caught up with work, you think about it at the end of the day when you don’t really want to load-up on a bunch of water, or you just don’t feel thirsty. Here are some tricks I use to make sure I’m getting enough water every day.


  • Use a thermos that holds your daily water intake. Fill it up in the morning and keep it with you throughout the day. Your goal? Finish it before dinner.

  • Spruce it up by adding lemon slices or other fruits to give your water a little extra flavor.

  • Mark your thermos with timestamps so you can see how much you should drink throughout the day.

  • Put reminders on your phone telling you to take water breaks. If you drink one cup of water when you wake up, one every hour when you’re at work, and one with dinner, you’re all set.

The easiest way to have great skin


While procedures like PRP facials & microneedling, Botox, Restylane, and Juvéderm can be used to increase HA, encourage new collagen, and reduce wrinkles and fine lines, drinking plenty of water is one of the easiest ways to get healthy, great-looking skin.

Do you have a favorite way to remind yourself to drink enough water each day? Share it on our Facebook page!

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