Friday, April 10, 2009

Fabulous Friday Weekly Skin Care Tip: Drink to Your Health!

Ever since I started working for The Body Shop several years ago (I no longer work with that company), my life changed in a drastic way. Any time I was with a group of women, I was being asked for skin care tips. It did not matter how seemingly secure they were, or how young or old. Every woman wants to know how to take care of her skin (even if she ends up deciding that the time and effort involved are just way too much to be worth it).

Because of this, I was equally surprised to find out that not many woman know about or practice one of the most important skin care steps: Hydration. I am not talking about keeping your skin wet. I am talking about drinking water.

People are always looking for that miracle product that will fix all their skin woes, particularly if they have problem skin (very dry, very acne prone, very sensitive, etc.). However, before you go shopping and spend tons of money on "miracle cure" claims, you should do an experiment.

A person needs to drink half the number of their body weight (in pounds) in ounces of water each day. That can sound really confusing, so for clarity's sake: If a person weighs 150, they need to drink 75 oz. water a day. That is almost 10 cups, and it is 11 oz more than a half gallon. If you will do this every day for a month, then afterward it will be very hard for you not to drink water.

In college, I began to realize that I needed to get healthier. I got sick all the time and I just didn't feel well, so I started with water. After about a month, if I went even half-way through the day without drinking any water, my stomach would feel mildly irritated. That was my reminder to drink. Drinking a big glass (16 oz.) of water at every meal is a good way to remember to drink that much, as well as also keeping you from over filling yourself, too! So what is good for your skin can also be great for your figure!

More than that, though, drinking that much water did great things for my skin. My skin cleared up considerably, and I did not have nearly as many breakouts. In addition to that, my skin just looked healthier. People were commenting on how soft my skin looked, and how it glowed. No one has ever thought I looked my age in recent years. at 26(.5....) people still think I look about 20 (If you want proof you can see a picture of me with my husband here on my personal blog).

Now, beyond my own personal experience, the effectiveness of water in skin care has been documented. Keeping your water consumption where it needs to be is helpful for many medically sound reasons. The foods we eat, the things we drink, the air we breathe; all of these have the potential to build up toxins in our bodies. This is not a doomsday speech of any kind - everything we consume has some part of it that we don't need. These parts we don't need, when they build up in our system, become toxins. Where does your body store excess toxins? In your fat cells.

Where is the primary location of fat cells? In the subcutaneous layer of the skin. It has been clinically proven that excess toxins in your system will very likely show up on your face. That is not to say that every breakout means you have a lot of junk built up in your body. Hormones, skin conditions, and the effectiveness of your sebaceous glands all effect your skin type. But, drinking plenty of water every day does help prevent the build up of toxins in our bodies, which does eliminate a majorly overlooked cause of skin care problems. If you can eliminate a major cause of problems before dropping a ton of cash on skin care products that may or may not work, why would you not do this?

That is my challenge: The 30-Day Skin Care Challenge. Drink half the number of your body weight in ounces of water a day for a month. 30 days is important. It takes about that long to build a habit, and also 28 days is one skin cell renewal cycle. It is important to note that whatever you are doing for your skin, you will not see a major difference for at least 4 weeks. If a skin care company says otherwise, they are probably lying. Especially considering that it takes your skin up to two weeks to get used to a new skin care product, so during that period of time there may be minor breakouts, or simply no improvement at all.

That is the benefit of water consumption: You do not have to worry about the two-week breaking in period. Just drink away, and your body will feel better. Your skin will start to reflect those changes (within the normal skin cell renewal cycle, and not before then).

This is not a cure-all!! Drinking plenty of water will help improve your skin, and it will eliminate some of the underlying condition. You may still need to get a specific skin care product to treat your skin. But wouldn't it be best to uncomplicate your skin care routine by improving the condition of your skin naturally?

One Final Note: Now, I know that we live in a sense-driven society, and that includes taste. But drinking juice is not the same as drinking water. Drinking flavored water is not even the same as drinking water. I do not care what the television commercials say, I know because my body tells me. Anytime they add anything organic to water, they need to add a preservative of some kind. That preservative, just like any other nonessential element in your food and drink, can become a toxin, building up in your system and coming out on your skin.

Drink filtered or purified water, with no other ingredients. Get a filter (Brita, Pur, reverse osmosis, anything is better than tap water), or buy stock in a bottled water company (haha). This is not to say drink only water; my rule when I started this for myself was that - other than my morning coffee - I would not drink anything else in a day until I had consumed half the water I needed to. But yummier beverages ( chocolate) were definitely still a part of my life.

Sometimes the best thing you can do is the simplest and most overlooked, and that is definitely the case with skin care. Drink to your health, and see if that doesn't help you reduce your skin care costs a bit.

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