This skincare expert wants you to drink less water—here’s why

July 14, 2023

From TikTok water hacks to refillable water jugs that just keep getting bigger, we’re all a little obsessed with drinking enough water. But pounding ounce after ounce isn’t the only way to amp up your hydration. We asked Allison Marks, Dr. Howard Murad’s resident holistic esthetician and senior manager of education content, to outline 5 ways to up our hydration levels (without upping our bathroom breaks).  

Stop relying only on drinking water to hydrate your body

“Yes, you need to drink your water,” Marks tells us. “But if you find yourself getting water-logged from pounding ounce after ounce, try drinking less water and eating your water instead.”   

We often forget that water comes from three sources: Food, beverages and metabolism. And foods like watermelon, broccoli, cabbage and peaches are roughly 90% water. Carb-lovers, rejoice: Even whole grains have water. 

“Eating your water gives your body the added benefits of fiber, iron and potassiumto name a fewto aid in digestion and feed your body with nutrients to help hydrate your body more effectively, Marks adds.

Build muscle

Muscle holds around 70% of water, in comparison to 10% in fat tissue. “You don’t have to become a body builder to up your muscle mass,” Marks says. “Lifting moderate weights 2-3 times a week, or changing up your walk by adding some inclines can help you build muscle and hold on to more hydration.” 

Add in supplements

Supplements aren’t a cure-all that let you off the hook from making whole food choices over processed foods, but they can fill in nutritional gaps and help our bodies hold more water,” Marks says. “Adding omega and amino acid supplements to your holistic nutrition plan can help strengthen your cellular health so those cells can hold more water.”  

Get familiar with what steals your water

Aging, menopause and general hormonal changes in men and women can cause a dip in the body’s hydration levels. So can poor sleep, certain medications and stress. “Each of these factors prevent us from holding onto water as well as we did when we were younger,” Marks says. “Staying hydrated helps flush out cortisol that’s triggered by stress, and that can help eliminate unpleasant weight gain that’s triggered by hormonal changes.” Hydrating properly and consistently throughout the day helps keep the body in balance when medications or poor sleep can be depleting. 

Skip the hot showers—but not the exfoliation

“You really are fighting against water loss every moment of every day—even the involuntary act of breathing reduces water in your body,” Marks notes. “Add in seemingly innocent things like hot water showers and living in low humidity environments and hydration loss is amplified. These factors strip your skin of oils that are critical to a healthy skin barrier. When that barrier is compromised, water evaporates from your skin, and that can leave you feeling both dry and dehydrated.” 

Keep your skin barrier healthy by taking tepid water showers and moisturizing as quickly as you can after your shower. It also helps to keep a humidifier in your bedroom and/or home office.  

Marks also tells us her insider secret to amping up skin hydration from the outside in. “It may seem counterintuitive, but exfoliation will help remove dead skin cells and allow moisture from face creams and body lotions to readily penetrate the skin.  

References for this information:
Nutrients, 2019, volume 11, Issue 8

About the Author

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Jacki Marzano is SoCal-based storyteller and head copywriter at Murad Skincare. She's shaped the voice of some of the most recognized beauty brands in the business, has a penchant for sharing homemade cookies, and believes SPF is the secret to getting carded well into your 40s.