If all day hydration is your skin wish, I’m about to make it come true. The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend drinking plenty of water every day – and with good reason. Water makes up more than half of your body weight and is essential to a healthy colour and inside-out glow.
Every day you lose water when you sweat, go to the bathroom and when you breathe. As you get older, your body becomes less efficient at regulating your fluid levels, which can lead to premature signs of ageing and a lackluster complexion.
Avoiding dehydration outside and in
The good news is that you can avoid dehydration, slow the ageing process and prevent dry skin by living healthily and using the right skin care products.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body and is particularly vulnerable to air pollutants, humidity, altitude, wind and ageing. To keep your skin hydrated and protected from the elements, it’s important to use a high quality daily moisturiser. When your skin is well hydrated, there is a noticeable difference in the way it looks and feels.
It is also essential to moisturise your skin from the inside out by drinking plenty of water. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to drink eight glasses of water every day. Different people need different amounts of water to stay hydrated. However, you cannot rely on your thirst mechanism to let you know when it’s time to rehydrate.
Thirst is designed to notify your body that it lacks water. This means that by the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated, so drinking water throughout the day before you have even become thirsty will help to ensure you never reach dehydration.
Food and drinks for optimal hydration
Water is the best option for staying hydrated. If you’re not a fan of plain water, herbal teas or carbonated water are a great alternative. You can also add lemon, mint or cucumber to your water for more interesting flavour. Other drinks such as juice and sports drinks can help you stay hydrated, but they may add extra kilojoules to your diet, which can lead to weight gain.
Coffee and alcohol also have a considerable dehydrating effect on your body and can affect the appearance of your skin. Drinking a glass of H2O after each glass of coffee or alcohol can help balance your fluid levels and ensure you’re well hydrated.
In addition to the fluids we drink, we also get a lot of hydration from the food we eat. Foods that are plant based like fruit and vegetables are largely made up of water. By aiming to eat a diet of mostly plants, you will be helping to avoid premature ageing by supporting your hydration. Foods rich in the essential fatty acids found in walnuts, flaxseed, salmon, and olive oil can help skin cells stay hydrated.
If you are concerned that you may be dehydrated, check your toilet bowl! If your urine is consistently light yellow (or even colourless), you are most likely staying well hydrated. Dark yellow urine suggests you are dehydrated and means it’s time to increase your water intake.
The 10 commandments for all-day hydration
1. Recognise the inside-out benefits of hydration
2. Do not wait until you get thirsty to have a drink of water.
3. Drink water before, during and after a workout to prevent dehydration.
4. Match each serve of coffee or alcohol you consume with a glass of H2O.
5. Eat mostly plant-based whole foods like fruit and vegetables.
6. Use a high quality moisturiser on your face every day to protect and nourish the skin.
7. Keep a bottle of water handy and you will drink more water throughout the day.
8. Learn to enjoy water by adding lemon, cucumber or mint!
9. Incorporate hydrating plants and essential fatty acids into your diet
10. Be consistent with your health and beauty regime.