Water You Actually Doing to Your Skin?

I don't think there is a phrase that grinds my gears more than "just drink water!" when somebody clearly has deeper skin issues than just being dehydrated. If we drank as much water as the skin care threads we see on Twitter tell us to, we’d all either be stuck on the toilet all day or donning adult diapers under our H&M rompers. It’s no secret that adolescents' and young adults’ skin isn’t always the best. In fact, for many of us, we feel like we’ve been struggling with our skin since before Justin Bieber disregarded our twelve-year-old hearts and killed the iconic hair flip. 


I’m sure you’ve seen all kinds of acne – the tiny little dots that are scattered across your entire face, the all-consuming acne that makes you feel like connect-the-dots or the single mountain that decided to surprise you on the morning of Winter Formal. Skin care, like many other things in life, builds upon itself. You can’t just wash your face once and expect it to be beautiful and clean for the rest of your life – right? Skin Care Twitter likes to remind us that if we aren’t glowing we aren’t living. And the number one way to glow? Water.

According to Twitter, if you aren’t basically butt-chugging water as part of your morning routine, you aren’t getting enough water in the first place. Your skin will suck and you will suck too. Allow me to let you in on a little secret: water does not fix everything nor should you force yourself to drink 2 gallons of water in order to “glow”. Water, while a vital part of life and absolutely necessary to maintaining healthy skin will not wash away your acne just as it doesn’t wash away your sins on Sunday morning following a night of partying. 


Unless you’re absolutely not drinking any water and your skin is dryer than the Sahara Desert, drinking two gallons of water each day isn’t going to do much for you other than make you run to the bathroom every hour. “The unfortunate truth about drinking water and skin is that water will reach all the other organs before it reaches the skin. So, it’s important to apply water to our skin and keep it there – this will not only show a visible difference in hydration, but it can prevent wrinkles, as well” (UW Health). So, drinking water is important – but don’t let Skin Care Twitter fool you and then end up stuck in the bathroom all night. While hydration is important for skin, moisturizing externally will be most effective once you are drinking the recommended amount of water (8 cups for women and 13 cups for men).

The American Academy of Dermatology (an organization a million times more reliable than Abby from Oklahoma) recommends a few different things for keeping your skin hydrated and beautifully glowing: 

  1. Use moisturizer immediately after washing and drying your skin.


Seriously, the best time to apply moisturizer to your skin is when your skin is already wet and while your pores are still slightly open. Think about the last time you did your makeup – you got your beauty blender wet before you applied foundation to it, right? Now, what happens when you apply foundation with a hard, dry beauty blender? Well, you definitely wouldn't be doing yourself any favors, sister, because that makeup is going nowhere if that beauty blender isn’t wet. Your skin is the same way – it needs moisture to be able to absorb the products. 


2. Use only gentle, unscented skin care products. 


Some of the best washes that you can use on your skin are incredibly gentle – think CeraVe and Cetaphil (my dermatologist swears by these). Scented skin care products (for example, that horrific Neutrogena Grapefruit Foaming Scrub that I hate for multiple reasons) tend to be harsh on the skin and end up drying your skin out more. Additionally, avoid skincare products that contain alcohol, retinoids, or alpha-hydroxy acid. Check labels when buying beauty products! Using these products strips your skin of the oils that it produces (which contrary to our mothers’ beliefs, are actually really good for you – they are there for a reason!) and you end up with flaky, dry skin. 

3. Add moisture to the air.  


My 40-year-old mother who has yet to form a single wrinkle, along with dermatologists and doctors alike, recommend adding moisture to the air (especially in the winter). Get that humidifier going! 

Make sure to take care of your skin and stop blindly taking tips from Twitter in order to add it to your own personal routine. The American Academy of Dermatology and reliable YouTube channels (Dr. Dray, who is a board-certified Dermatologist, for example), are great sources for tips and tricks with multiple skin-related issues.

So, while drinking gallons of water won't completely fix your skin issues, following your skin care regimen religiously will allow for your skin to thrive and to glow. Seriously - make them guess whether its sweat or skin care - because we all want skin like glass. Stop listening to those Twitter accounts and for god's sake - educate that aunt that keeps telling your 13 year old cousin to "just drink water" and to "just wash her face" - because that's not how it works.