The summer has been and gone and everyone is back from their holidays. Although the heat is over I'm jealous of the luminous glow everyone seems to still have. I've made a decision to stop getting my vitamin D from the cool glow of my computer screen and work on improving my workaholic complexion.
Everywhere I look I'm being told my skin care routine is lacking in both routine and care. In an effort to change this I'm going to look one of the most widely used tips on attaining better, brighter skin and a generally healthier life to see if it works.
The Theory - "We need to drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day"
It's a widely spread claim that you must drink at least 8 glasses of 8 ounces of water a day. It's a mantra that self-styled "beauty bibles" and "experts" tell you is essential for perfect, flawless skin. Well I've been looking into it and apparently it's a slight fib, the amount of fluid you need to intake varies from person to person and depends on your size, physiology, climate and level of activity.
It's been discredited by scientists but people still preach the "8 x 8 rule". In the "Is there scientific evidence for "8x8"" review by Heinz Valtin (Professor Emeritus of Physiology at Dartmouth Medical School) says that our fluid intake can come from any water content in food or drink we ingest and this can even include caffeinated drinks and mild alcoholic beverages. Valtin also highlights the dangers of water intoxication (or hypernatremia) which occurs after drinking so much water our kidneys can't process it any more.
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There's no definitive answer to how much fluid we should ingest. There's another myth that when we are thirsty, oops it's too late - our bodies are already in a state of dehydration. It's ok, being thirsty is just a sign of being thirsty, believe it or not. So I will use the millennia of evolutionary advancement as a guide to tell me when to drink and when not to.
Hooray, that's that problem solved. Now for the question of "toxins". It's easy to forget that we were all born with kidneys...which, as luck would have it, filter out anything the body doesn't want from what we put in our mouths. The whole idea of detoxification remain unproven by scientific standards and again the idea that we need to flush anything out of our bodies doesn't give our hard-working kidneys any credit.
I started this day adamant that I was going to give up tea and coffee and only drink water. I really would have loved for the water advice to be a miracle gift to skin but the more I read from the scientific community the more it becomes apparent that it's not. I'm now drinking a lovely cappuccino and I honestly believe that if someone removes all the tiny little joys in life - like sugar, caffeine and afternoon tea - I'll end up looking miserable. And even if perfect skin came at this price, there's no use having it if the face it sits on also houses a frown.
What have I learnt? Don't give up water, do drink fluids, but don't drink too much of anything, and don't worry about it too much because apparently, the worst thing for our skin is stress.