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Does Drinking Lots of Water Give You Glowing Skin? Well, Not Really

Beauty magazines and beauty gurus will never get tired of suggesting the idea that the secret to beautiful glowing skin is to drink more water. Besides shifting your body in to hyper-piss mode, does drinking lots of water really give visible glowing skin?

A Glowing skin is well hydrated and firm  which is thought to be directly related to the amount of water you drink. Existing scientific evidence shows that that drinking lots of surplus water will not guarantee a glowing skin and here’s why:

Significant Improvements were only observed on people who are dehydrated

Results of studies on water on skin

This means that your skin condition will only improve after drinking more water if you’re initially.. well, not drinking enough water. A study from International Journal of Cosmetic Science [1] shows that subjects who routinely drink comparably little before the start of the study were the ones with showing statistically significant increase in skin density when asked to drink 2.25 Liters of mineral water per day. Same result was found on a published research from Clinical Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology [2].


Transport of Dietary Water to your Stratum Corneum (Outermost layer of the skin) is a complex equation

Glowing skin is much more complicated than that

Drinking a gallon of water doesn’t guarantee that it reaches your stratum corneum, the outermost layer of the skin. The efficiency of your body to transport water within cells and from one cell to another is an important factor. Diet, lifestyle, age and overall health affects cellular efficiency.


Your skin’s ability to hold water is an important part of the equation for Glowing Skin

transepidermal water loss when cleansing

Transepidermal water loss (TEWL) is the evaporation of water from the skin

Transepidermal water loss is the process where water passes through the epidermis and evaporates to the atmosphere. Let’s say that the portion of the extra gallon of water you drink reaches your stratum corneum. How effective is your skin in keeping the moisture in? Environmental factors (humidity and temperature), age and sweat gland activity affects ability of skin to hold moisture. This is not dependent on the number of water you finished.  You can reduce TEWL by application of moisturizers.

More isn’t necessarily Better

More doesn't always mean its better for glowing skin

More doesn’t always mean its better

One cannot argue the importance of water in the body – we cannot survive without it. The suggestion of drinking lots of water for glowing skin comes from the fact that skin cells are  made up mostly of water. Loss of hydration in the skin can lead to dryness, tightness and flakiness – the opposite of glowing skin. Extreme dehydration will lead to undesirable effect on the skin. Does it follow that one should drink water in excess to achieve supple and glowing skin? Of course, not.



Take away:

  1. If you are drinking atleast 2 liters of water per day, you’re most probably fine and no need to gulp a gallon more.
  2. Topical moisturizers are important to keep skin hydrated and minimize TEWL


[1] Williams, S., Krueger, N., Davids M., Kraus D., Kerscher M., (2007) Effect of fluid intake on skin physiology: distinct differences between drinking mineral water and tap water, International Jounal of Cosmetic Science,  29, 131-138

[2] Palma, L., Marques, L. T., Bujan, J., & Rodrigues, L. M. (2015). Dietary water affects human skin hydration and biomechanics. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology8, 413–421. doi:10.2147/CCID.S86822

Article written by:

Anne Porter

Hi! I’m Anne. I am a chemical engineer from Cebu, Philippines. I created Zarins Beautylab because of my love for cosmetics, skin care products and all other stuff that makes me (and you) look and feel beautiful. My semesters of chemistry courses come in handy as I explain the science behind different beauty products: which works and how it works. Well, Sometimes its science and sometimes its just good ol’ common sense.

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