There are many good reasons to drink water: It’s refreshing, and it helps your brain function, maintains energy levels, regulates body temperature, aids in digestion, and
ultimately keeps your body healthy. (You couldn’t survive more than a few days without a sip.). But “humans aren’t like plants. Our skin doesn’t perk up when we consume
water,” says Katie Rodan, a dermatologist in the San Francisco Bay area and a coauthor of Write Your Skin a Prescription for Change. In fact, when you ingest it, “water
doesn’t go straight to the skin,” she says. “It goes through the intestines, gets absorbed into your bloodstream, and is filtered by kidneys. Then it hydrates cells.” When it
comes to moisturizing skin, drinking water falls short. Your skin type, whether it’s dry, oily, or a veritable combo platter, is largely determined by your genes. That natural
moisture level then fluctuates depending on what your skin’s protective lipid barrier is exposed to. This lipid layer helps keep moisture in and germs and irritants out. (That’s
why dry skin can become red and itchy.). Minimizing your exposure to depleting elements low humidity, harsh winds, dry heat, high altitude, sun, alcohol, long baths and
avoiding stripping soaps can prevent the loss of natural oils. “Diet can play a role in strengthening your skin’s ability to maintain moisture, too,” says Leslie Baumann, a
professor of dermatology at the University of Miami, in Florida. Foods rich in the essential fatty acids found in walnuts, flaxseed, salmon, and olive oil can help skin cells
stay hydrated. A study by the Institute of Experimental Dermatology, in Germany, also revealed that women who took flaxseed- or borage-oil supplements (2.2 grams a day)
for 12 weeks experienced a significant increase in skin moisture and a reduction in roughness. A healthy diet with three to five servings a week of fatty acids will suffice for
the average person, says Baumann. But if you suffer from very dry skin or eczema, consider flaxseed-, evening-primrose, or borage-oil supplements. All are good sources of
alpha or gamma linolenic fatty acids.
Take as directed. The hydro-lipid layer a protective film consisting of water and lipids (natural oils and fats) – slows the evaporation of
moisture, protects from external aggressions and keeps the skin's pH within the correct limits, minimising the risk of infections. The problem is, though, that it's very easy
for skin moisture levels to drop. Climatic conditions heat, dryness, pollution, air conditioning and lifestyle and eating habits such as alcohol, tobacco and poor nutrition can
all have detrimental effects on our skin's natural defences. And in summer it's particularly important to take care of our skin, as sunshine, high temperatures and increased
perspiration are all adding to the risks.
How to hydrate your skin:
-Exfoliate your skin. This will eliminate any lingering dead skin cells and reduce flakiness. Facial scrubs and exfoliating washes are good, but if your skin is already dry
these can often contain chemicals that are designed for more oily skin and will make your dryness worse. Look for scrubs aimed at dry skin, or use an exfoliating glove, or
even just a towel.
-Use a hydrating face mask. This will give your skin a boost of deep-down hydration. Look for masks that are not oil-based, as they may clog your pores and give you spots
or blackheads. Masks with 'non-comedogenic' (will not clog pores) on the label are ideal.
-Moisturise. You should have two different moisturisers a day and a night Your 'day' moisturiser should be lighter and used to prep your skin for even make up coverage - if it
is too heavy skin may look shiny and feel oily. Your 'night' moisturiser should be much heavier and penetrate deeper into the skin to obtain long-term hydration. When
choosing your moisturiser make sure that it is not oil-based and is very gentle on skin with no perfume or colour some have quite harsh or soapy ingredients that may irritate
sensitive skin. Often the best moisturisers are the simplest and cheapest try aqueous cream from your chemist.
-Concentrate on the driest areas. If you have particular areas of dryness or irritation, use a small amount of oil-based ointment or cream purchased from your chemist, such
as hydrocortisone cream. These products should be used sparingly as too much will clog pores and produce blemishes.
-Use less make up! It may sound counter-productive in covering up unsightly dry patches, but make up is bad for your skin and will make any skin problems worse. DO NOT
APPLY FOUNDATION TO DRY PATCHES. This will turn orange or flaky and make the patches look much more noticeable, as well as prolonging the length of time you
have to put up with them or even making them worse. Better to have bare dry patches for a few days than conspicuous orange bits for weeks.
-Use very light, good quality mineral make up. Liquid make up sticks more prominently to dry patches and looks much more uneven than mineral make up, but the mineral
make up you use must be good quality, as cheap stuff contains harsh and drying chemicals that will make your skin worse. Invest in some good quality, light powder which
will even your complexion. Always use moisturiser before applying make up.
-Hydrate from the inside out. Ensure you drink plenty of water each day - around two litres should do it - to clear spots and hydrate skin. Bad skin quality can also be
caused by a poor diet and lack of vitamins, so make sure you eat plenty of fruit, protein (especially if you are vegetarian), and get enough exercise.