How much water does your skin need?

Our bodies (skin included) need water to function, but how much is enough?

You’ve probably heard that drinking eight to 10 glasses a day as a recommendation, but in my opinion, there’s no hard or fast rule. The amount of water your body needs depends on your size and level of activity.

If you live in a hot and dry climate, you’ll need to compensate for water lost when perspiring as well. So if you feel thirsty, drink up! Keep in mind that we get about 20 percent of our water from the foods we eat, and the other beverages we drink like coffee and tea count. (Alcohol does not, since it actually dehydrates our bodies and our skin.)

But did you know that there’s a difference between dry and dehydrated skin? Dry skin doesn’t produce enough sebum, while dehydrated skin has a problem holding onto moisture (which also accentuates fine lines and wrinkles).

Drinking all the water in the world won’t help increase moisture levels in either dry or dehydrated skin—this is where products come in. First, start with a cream or oil-based cleanser (a foaming cleanser will dry out skin further) and look for a moisturizer that provides hydration and fortifies your skin’s barrier with ingredients like ceramides instead. This will help increase the moisture your skin gets—and help it stay there.

On another positive note, you can actually improve your skin by changing what you drink. Ditch chemical-laden drinks like soda and alcohol. Avoid sugary drinks because we know sugar can accelerate aging through a process called glycation.

Instead, sip on good-for-your skin drinks like antioxidant-rich green tea and sugar-free pomegranate juice in addition to water. You won’t be thirsty, and your skin will thank you!