The Water Myth
One of the most annoying things I hear from makeup artists when getting my face done and aestheticians during a facial is, “Your skin is so dry, are you drinking enough water?”
When I hear this, it’s a dead giveaway that they are not up to snuff with their skin care knowledge. What they should’ve asked is what I was using in my skincare regime, particularly if I was using any anti-acne medication or retinoids, which are known to cause mild dryness, and yes even sometimes, good old facial dandruff.
Here’s The Skiny: The idea that drinking water will boost hydration levels of the skin is one of the biggest misconceptions about skin. Drinking water improves the water level inside the body but it’s used up there. Saying that the skin lacks water is too simple a definition for this complex problem. The best way to rehydrate the skin is by applying a topical moisturizer that works with your skin type, every single day.
Q: What role does water play in the skin health?
DLK: Water is vital to our physiological functions including those of the skin. But water intake and skin dryness can be unrelated.
Q: Does research support the long-held belief that drinking lots of improves moisture levels in the skin?
DLK: There is no scientific evidence-based medicine that supports the notion that intravascular (blood) volume boots moisture levels in the skin. Drinking enough water is good for overall health as is proper diet and exercise.
Q: Many people confuse the level of oil on the skin with the amount of water in the skin. Can you explain both for us?
DLK: Sebaceous (oil gland) function acts to coat the skin to prevent the skin from drying out. It is unrelated to the amount of water on the skin.
Q: Should people with oily skin use a daily moisturizer?
DLK: Yes, moisturizers have evolved to be less mineral oil-based so that acne breakouts are less frequent.
Q: What role does a good moisturizer perform?
DLK: A good moisturizer will prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL) in the skin. TEWL is the process by which our bodies constantly lose water via evaporation.
The best moisturizers are a combination of humectants and lubricants.
Q: Is dry skin more susceptible to sun damage?
DLK: Yes, dry skin can lose some of the intrinsic barrier function that normal skin possesses and therefore be more susceptible to sun damage.
Q: What is the best way to apply a moisturizer?
DLK: The skin should always be damp when applying a moisturizer, as absorption of topical agents is increased if the skin is wet.
Q: Are there any other misconceptions about skin’s relationship to water that you want to debunk?
DLK: Believe it or not, many people think that as long as you are under water you can’t burn. The truth is, you can get a sun burn in a swimming pool.
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