I believe it's important to look at topics in multiple ways to gain a better understanding of how our lifestyles may be contributing to our overall skin health. Considering water is a major part of our daily lives, I will discuss the role it plays on the skin in three different ways. I'll look at its impact internally, externally, and in moisturizing products. This list isn't exhaustive, but hopefully these three tips will help to bring awareness. Let's get started! 1. Drink Water! This is probably the most common thing we hear, but it is true. Drinking water is key and essential to our overall health! As a Health Coach, I cannot stress how important drinking enough water is to your skin health. The skin is our largest organ. Sometimes we don’t think of our skin as an organ because we have access to it daily, but it's important to be mindful that it requires moisture from the inside, just like our internal organs. Water helps us detox our bodies by flushing out toxins. Flushing out toxins helps with complexion, slows aging, clears acne, tightens skin, helps to maintain a healthy pH balance, and so much more! As you begin drinking more water, your body may also gain the ability to combat skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema. Now, before you begin drinking gallons of water, please be mindful that too much of a good thing can also have the opposite effect. Too much water can cause dilutional hyponatremia and/or water intoxication. These conditions can sometimes be life threatening. So please make sure you are drinking enough water for your unique body type, and remember that everything works hand in hand with one another. Balance is key. 2. How You Shower Matters! I talked about the benefits of drinking water, but when it is applied to the skin, it serves a totally different purpose. When we shower, we either have access to hard or soft water in our homes. For the purpose of this blog, I’ll focus on hard water since it is the most common type of water found in homes. Hard water often contains minerals that may cause a soap scum type of build up on your skin. Yes, I'm talking about that “squeaky clean" feeling that you have when you exit the shower! It is sometimes built up residue from actually not being clean! Gross, right? Well, it's an unfortunate reality that exists for most of us. There are also theories that suggest that hard water may be contributing to the increasing number of eczema cases. If you've been diagnosed with eczema, or any other chronic skin condition, do not rule out your shower routine as the culprit! While soft water is better for the skin, unless you are willing to have your water treated, you'll need to find an alternative that can mirror the "soft water" experience. With soft water, it is easier to cleanse your body because the absence of minerals in the water allows soap to lather and do its job. Since you most likely have hard water in your home, my recommendation is to find a soap that will add moisture to your skin while you shower. Try using a natural bar or liquid soap that contains moisturizing oils. Think of the oils, in the soap, as a means of "softening" the water when it comes in contact with your skin. 3. Moisturize! Moisturize! Moisturize! I had to say that three times because I want to change your thought process when it comes to adding moisture to your skin. If you take a look at the ingredient list of most "moisturizing" products, it will often have water listed as the first ingredient and this should be a red flag. As mentioned above, water is supposed to be used to cleanse our skin, or hydrate us from the inside. In my opinion, water does not moisturize the skin topically, oils do. While our bodies produce natural oils, a lot of what we do daily may be stopping it from doing its job effectively. I'd strongly recommend using an oil based moisturizer to meet your skin care needs, but please be mindful that not all oils are created equal. If you notice that mineral and/or petroleum oil are on the list of ingredients, please note that these oils rest on top of the skin and don’t typically contribute to adding moisture. Try using products that contain emollient oils. Emollient oils are known to help skin retain moisture. Coconut oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil are a few emollient oils to get you started, as you begin exploring what works best for you. I truly believe that our bodies are healing machines. If we give it what it needs, it will function as effectively as possible. As you begin thinking about how water plays a role in your life, and begin incorporating any new routines, remember to be gentle with yourself and be open to the journey.
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