The Fountain of Youth: Tap into the Beautifying Power of Proper Hydration
My clients often ask me if I can recommend changes they can make to their lifestyles to promote and maintain youthful skin. Here's what I tell them. If you make just one change in 2009, let it be to achieve proper hydration on a daily basis. Here are four tips to do just that.
My clients often ask me if I can recommend changes they can make to their lifestyles to promote and maintain youthfulness. Here's what I tell them. If you make just one change in 2009, let it be to achieve proper hydration on a daily basis.
There are several reasons why I feel so strongly that clients need to drink enough water.
For one, our bodies require water to keep things functioning smoothly; things like getting waste products out of our cells and vitamins and nutrients into them. Over time, this extends our cells' working lives and fights aging.
For my clients who are looking for weight loss, the news is even better. Water is a great metabolism booster, which means it allows the body to easily clear toxins associated with fat breakdown.
And there's another, more immediate reason to make sure you drink enough water. Hydrated cells are plump cells, so the more water we have in our cells, the more youthful our skin looks. In fact, one of the basic tests for dehydration is to check for "skin tenting" by pinching and releasing some skin on the back of your hand. If it instantly pulls back into place, chances are you have a water bottle or a cup of tea within arm's reach.
If you don't, however, keep reading for four tips to help you stay hydrated:
Make it easy to hydrate. Use common sense. The best rule of thumb is to be aware of the quality of the water you're consuming, and to make sure that awareness isn't keeping you away from the tap. Consider buying a pitcher filter or using a water delivery service if that will help you feel good about drinking plenty of water. And, don't shy away from other liquids in your quest for hydration. With the exception of alcohol, all liquids, and even many of the foods you consume, are going to contribute to your overall level of hydration including coffee and tea. While it's true caffeine has a diuretic effect, at least half of the caffeinated fluids you drink will reach your tissues.
Create hydration habits. Establish habits with regard to drinking, such as drinking a tall glass of water when you first wake. Buy a sturdy water bottle to carry with you. If you tend to eat due to boredom or nerves, try drinking water instead. And of course, remember to drink plenty of fluids whenever you're exercising.
Make sure you're getting enough. The typical advice to drink eight glasses of water per day often overwhelms my clients and may not even be necessary. So how do you know how much water to drink? Well, pay more attention to output than input! To make sure you're getting enough water, just watch your pee. If it smells strong or is darker than a pale yellow, you need to drink more fluids. Other signs of dehydration include headaches and fatigue. In fact, one of the best ways to boost your energy and stamina is to drink more water!
Tap into the hydrating powers of hyaluronic acid. Back when you were a baby, your skin was bursting with hyaluronic acid, a water-binding compound that's crucial to maintaining the skin's volume and preventing dryness and wrinkling. And while hyaluronic acid remains present in the middle layer of your skin throughout your life, it does so at decreasing levels as you age. In my office we rely on hydrating moisturizers that incorporate hyaluronic acid. We also offer Restylane® and Juvederm®, hyaluronic acid-containing fillers, to eliminate facial wrinkles and folds like those extending outward from the edges of the nose and down toward the mouth. Both topically and as an injection, hyaluronic acid helps keep the face looking fuller and more youthful.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
James C. Fairfield, MD, has established the oldest and most respected dermatology practice in the Delaware Valley. For more free cosmetic dermatology information and resources and to sign up for his free report, Erase the Years, visit his web site at www.cmderm.com.