This Is What Actually Happens To Your Skin When You Drink Enough Water

written by LAUREN HARANO

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Graphics by: Aryana Johnson
Graphics by: Aryana Johnson

Water has often been hailed as the ultimate beauty elixir. The idea is simple: Drink more water, and you’ll reap the benefits of improved hydration, fewer blemishes, and a more supple, glowing complexion. What’s more, it helps flush out toxins, get nutrients to skin cells, and keep skin plump and elastic (read: less wrinkles!). Plus, when you drink plenty of water, your body can do all of these functions better, which can lead to clearer, healthier skin.

But, the idea of drinking a gallon of water a day—a big increase from most people’s usual water intake—makes some wonder if it’s actually effective. Can this make your skin healthier, or is it just another beauty myth? To answer that question, we tapped two beauty experts to learn more about the effects of hydration for skin. Keep reading to learn more about the potential benefits—as well as any drawbacks—of gulping down a gallon a day.

Rachel Liverman

Rachel is the founder and CEO of Glowbar. She is on a mission to help people feel confident in their own skin by reinventing the professional skincare experience one studio at a time.

Limor Weinberg, FNP-BC

Limor is a board-certified nurse practitioner specializing in aesthetics. She is the founder of The Clinic, a medspa in Miami that offers a variety of cosmetic treatments as well as educational courses for injectors.

What happens to your skin when you start drinking more water?

“Skincare begins and ends with drinking water!” explains Rachel Liverman, the CEO and founder of Glowbar. “Drinking a gallon of water a day can do wonders for your skin. When you are well hydrated, your skin looks more supple and radiant, and it prevents dryness and flakiness. Plus, staying well-hydrated keeps your skin’s elasticity in check, reducing fine lines and wrinkles, and giving you a plump, youthful appearance.”

Not to mention, staying hydrated can also reduce puffiness and swelling, particularly around the eyes, by balancing fluid levels and reducing water retention. (Yes, it sounds counterintuitive, but just trust us.) As for those with oily skin, drinking enough water can help balance oil production, preventing the skin from becoming too oily or too dry. Need we say more?

benefits of drinking water for skin
Source: Pexels

How long does it take for drinking water to improve skin?

According to Liverman, people will usually notice results in their skin in a few weeks to a month. “This gives your body time to adjust and can lead to improvements in skin moisture, elasticity, and overall appearance,” she says. “But, keep in mind that individual results can vary depending on factors like your baseline hydration levels, overall health, diet, and what else you are incorporating into your skincare routine.” (Looking to perfect your skincare routine? We’ve got a full guide right here.)

As for the key takeaway, nurse practitioner and aesthetic specialist Limor Weinberg adds, “Like anything else, consistency is key to seeing results.”

Does drinking too much water have any negative effects on the skin?

As we mentioned, a gallon is a good amount of water. But, can too much water actually be bad for the skin? The answer is essentially no. “In some rare, cases drinking too much water can disrupt the electrolyte balance and cause a condition called hyponatremia, which is basically a drop in the sodium levels in your blood,” explains Weinberg. “Sodium is an essential electrolyte and is responsible for proper heart function and fluid balance in the body.” To avoid this, try not to drink too much water in a short time span. Also, feel free to add electrolyte pouches like LIQUID I.V. or LMNT to your water.

Does water intake affect different skin types (oily, dry, combination) differently?

When it comes to water intake, there are no downsides for different skin types. “Every skin type needs adequate water intake to help regulate oil production,” says Liverman. “This is especially true, though, for oily skin, as proper hydration can reduce the overproduction of sebum, which is often the skin’s response to dehydration.” If you struggle with oily skin, we suggest you start sippin’!

What happened when I started drinking a gallon of water a day

A few years ago, I noticed I had fine lines around my eyes and on my forehead. Since I was in my early 20s, I was confused about how my skin was already aging so fast. After looking into how to prevent fine lines and wrinkles, one main solution kept coming up time and time again: drink more water. I decided to try it for myself as it sounded easy enough, and it was much cheaper than Botox. The results? Not only was my skin plumper and more dewy, but my body as a whole felt better. I was more energetic, less prone to getting sick, and much more alert. The only downside is that I definitely have to take more bathroom breaks than I used to when I drank less water, but the benefits are absolutely worth it.

How to drink a gallon of water a day

We’ll be honest, drinking a gallon of water a day sounds intimidating, but honestly, it’s not as much as you might think. Plus, we have some tips to get you there. First, start your morning with a large glass of water as soon as you wake up. This will kickstart your hydration journey and get you ready for what’s to come. From there, try drinking two glasses of water every hour. By nighttime, you should be well-hydrated and most definitely hit the gallon mark.

Is drinking a gallon of water a day worth it?

Without a doubt, drinking a gallon of water a day is worth it not only for your skin, but also for the rest of your body. Staying hydrated has tons of amazing benefits, including maintaining skin health, promoting a clearer, more vibrant complexion by flushing out toxins, and keeping skin cells plump. Plus, it helps regulate your body temperature, aids in digestion by helping to break down food and absorb nutrients more effectively, and can even improve cognitive function and mood. While drinking water on its own might not be enough for glowing skin—diet and good skincare are key, too—it’s certainly an undeniable factor in skin’s health. Whether you want to stay hydrated to make your skin glow or give your body a boost, drinking water is as easy as it gets.

Tips for drinking more water

One of the best things I’ve done to monitor my water intake is using a gallon-sized water bottle. This shows me exactly how much I have to drink before the end of the day. I also like to set reminders on my phone every hour to make sure I remember to drink water. After a few months of drinking a gallon a day, I realized I didn’t need to do this anymore since my body was naturally prone to drinking more than it used to. Another helpful tip is to drink a glass before each meal and snack, which also aids in digestion and makes you less hungry. And, if you’re someone who doesn’t love to drink water, try adding natural flavors like lemon, cucumber, or mint, which will make it taste much better.

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