Are You Drinking Enough Water to Hydrate Your Skin?

Lifestyle factors to help maintain skin hydration


Preserving a youthful appearance and emanating glowing skin are some of the main reasons why most individuals invest in quality skin care. The number of skin care products labeled as anti-aging, skin hydrating, and/or moisturizing are endless. A single skin care routine can consist of a face wash, toner, essence, cream/lotion (day and night), face mask, sunscreen, face peel, oils, exfoliator, and more. It is easy to feel bombarded with the options available, especially when not every product is ideal for every skin type. With that being said, there are also other layers of skin care that have an impact on skin hydration. Your everyday lifestyle choices and the environment in which you live in should all be considered when developing a skin care routine.


Does the Amount of Water You Drink Affect Skin Hydration?

One lifestyle choice to address is daily water intake. The sources of water consumption are from:[1-3]

  • Drinking water
  • Food
  • Other beverages (i.e. juice, soft drinks, etc.)

Does the amount of water that you drink each day indeed predict the level of skin hydration? This question is a difficult one to answer because there is no clear answer. Research on the mechanism of water’s effect on skin physiology is lacking.

A 2015 study made attempts to answer this question by measuring skin hydration and water intake of two different groups of women between the ages of 24 and 35.[4] The women were split into a group that reportedly consumes less than 3.2 L of water per day and another group of women that consumes more than 3.2 L of water per day.[4] The intervention involved increasing daily water intake of both groups by 2 L for a total of 4 weeks.[4] The study found that increasing water intake may actually improve skin hydration, but improvements were mostly seen in those women who have a lower daily water intake.[4] Although the results were not consistent in significance for both groups, it may help to prove that it is, in fact, important to drink an adequate amount of water in order to improve skin hydration (especially if you deal with dry skin and are not drinking enough water).[4]


Water Intake Recommendations

So how much water is enough water? The recommendations for daily water intake are very ambiguous. There is no clear definition to refer to that describes how much water one should be drinking. However, according to a 2010 review, the US Dietary Recommendations have come up with Adequate Intake levels based off of the median water intake of the U.S. population:[2,5]

  • 7 L/day for males 18+ years of age (~124 ounces)
  • 7 L/day for females 18+ years of age (~91 ounces)

This does not take into consideration weight/height, body composition, medical status, environment, and physical activity. There are other recommendations and theories for water intake needs that include age, gender, and body size into a calculation. Another factor that is not considered in these recommendations is the source of water. For instance, according to the aforementioned review, it is estimated that 22% water intake is from food.[2] This value could fluctuate with a change to a more whole foods diet, and the nutritional value of water from whole foods versus water from beverages such as soda and juice will vary and impact overall health.[2]


Healthy Practices for Glowing Skin

One thing to keep in mind when caring for your skin is that water intake is just one lifestyle factor that may support skin health. There are of course many other lifestyle practices that can actually dehydrate your skin, and impact its appearance and aging process. It is best to practice healthy skin care at a young age. The aging process is normal and cannot be easily reversed. This is why it is so important to embrace your skin as it is today and to practice healthy choices. These practices may either help to keep your skin hydrated and healthy, or dehydrated and speed up the aging process: 

Table 1. Damaging and healthy habits for skin hydration

Damaging and Dehydrating

Healthy and Hydrating


Drink water throughout the day[4]

Excessive sun exposure[7]

Moisturize after showering to keep water on the skin[6]

Exposure to dry air[6]


Use a humidifier (or living in a humid area)

Over-washing with soap[6,7]

Eat healthy fats (i.e. omega-3 fatty acids) to promote a healthy skin barrier[7]

High levels of stress[6]


Eat whole foods[7]

Lack of sleep[7]

Eat foods rich in antioxidants (vitamins A, C, and E)[7]

Prolonged contact with hot water[3]

Wear gloves and other protective wear in colder weather[6]



Adapting a Healthy Skin Care Routine

Although there is no clear evidence that drinking water can help to keep skin hydrated as a general rule. However, it does appear drinking water may help in those that normally drink low amounts of water. [4] 

Adapting a healthy skin care routine is more than just applying the right moisturizer that proves to be “anti-aging”. Skin hydration involves many lifestyle factors, and drinking enough water is a start.

* This Website is for general skin beauty, wellness, and health information only. This Website is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any health condition or problem. The information provided on this Website should never be used to disregard, delay, or refuse treatment or advice from a physician or a qualified health provider.

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  1. Nelms MN SK, Lacey K, et. al. Fluid & Electrolyte Balance. In: Cossio Y, ed. Nutrition Therapy and Pathophysiology. 2nd ed. Belmont, CA: Yolanda Cossio; 2011:118-136.
  2. Popkin BM, D'Anci KE, Rosenberg IH. Water, hydration, and health. Nutr Rev.2010;68(8):439-458; PMID: 20646222 Link to research.
  3. Get the Facts: Drinking Water and Intake. 2017. Accessed January 21, 2018.
  4. Palma L, Marques LT, Bujan J, et al. Dietary water affects human skin hydration and biomechanics. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol.2015;8:413-421; PMID: 26345226 Link to research.
  5. Drewnowski A, Rehm CD, Constant F. Water and beverage consumption among adults in the United States: cross-sectional study using data from NHANES 2005-2010. BMC Public Health.2013;13:1068; PMID: 24219567 Link to research.
  6. Gibson L, M.D. Does drinking water cause hydrated skin? 2015. Accessed January 21, 2018.
  7. Magee E, MPH, RD. Foods to Help Keep Your Skin Healthy: How what you eat and drink can affect your skin. 2006. Accessed January 20, 2018.