Given that our bodies are made up of more than 60% water, it probably comes as no surprise that water is one of the most important sources of energy for our body. The human body requires a good amount of hydration to carry out essential functions necessary for one's survival. Adequate hydration helps in keeping the body temperature normal, lubricating joints, protecting the spinal cord and other sensitive tissues, along with getting rid of waste through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements. Therefore, while water plays a very important role in maintaining the overall health of the human body which includes its role in nourishing the skin.
The skin contains approximately 30% water, which contributes to plumpness, elasticity, and resiliency. Just like any other body part, the skin is also an organ (in fact, the largest in the human body) that requires proper hydration to perform its function properly. Water is held in the skin (in dermis) by water-holding molecules called hyaluronic acid.
In the superficial skin, water is held from evaporating by a skin barrier. Loss of water holding molecules & disturbance in barrier function of the skin can cause dry skin (dry and flaky to look at) and dehydrated (doesn't spring back quickly on pinching). It depends on genes, sun exposure, lifestyle habits such as diet, nutrition, sleep, smoking & alcohol consumption; sun exposure & use of skincare products. The rate at which skin cells grow & shed also depends on its hydration. Keeping the skin hydrated can also help in slowing its ageing process as hydration helps in maintaining the skin's elasticity, which further helps in slowing down visible signs of premature ageing and wrinkle.
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Dehydration makes the skin dry, tight and flaky. Dry skin has less resilience and is more prone to wrinkling. Moreover, the overall tone and complexion of the skin appear uneven and fine lines are more noticeable. Dehydration also impacts the entire body, which means vital organs such as the liver, brain, heart, kidney and lungs, are given priority over the skin.
Dehydrated skin is treatable with basic lifestyle changes. One should eat more foods like fruits, vegetables and legumes apart from drinking a good amount of water throughout the day. Not only this, one should make sure to keep the skin moisturized at all times to maintain the skin barrier which locks the water in.
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Moisturising Keeps The Skin Hydrated
Having smooth and hydrated skin can make you feel more attractive and confident. Along with water and proper diet, moisturisers can also help you to keep your skin hydrated. Following a basic skincare routine which includes gentle cleansing & applying a moisturiser minutes after taking a shower keeps the skin well hydrated. The rate at which skin cells grow & shed also depends on its hydration. Moisturisers improve cell turnover and keep the complexion looking fresh & even.
Moisturisers also make the skin surface soft, more extensible, and pliable by absorbing quickly in the skin. Therefore, regular moisturising should be a part of a good skincare regime as it is vital for healthy and young skin.
There are different moisturisers for different skin types. Therefore, it is recommended to consult your dermatologist to choose the correct moisturiser for your skin type to avoid any kind of skin problem.
Stay hydrated, stay young!
About the author: Dr. Rickson Pereira is MD in Dermatology, FCPS, DDV (Gold medalist) and is associated with Nair Hospital.
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