Water may also fend off breakouts by decreasing the concentration of oil on your skin. “It is critical to have a stable balance of water to oil on the surface of skin,” says Few. “If the skin is too heavily covered in oil relative to water, this can lead to clogged pores with acne breakouts and blemishes.”
However, drinking a bunch of water today doesn’t mean your skin will look better for years to come. “Although clinically, when skin is hydrated, it looks plumper, and the signs of aging are minimized, technically, on a histopathologic level [when examined under a microscope], the wrinkles are still there—and nothing has changed permanently,” says Nazarian. “Hydrated skin minimized the appearance—so if you were to withhold water, the skin would show all the original signs of aging again.”
That’s why she recommends giving your skin a steady flow of water: Every day, aim for eight to 10 eight-ounce servings, and spread them out throughout the day as opposed to guzzling them all at once. Your body can only absorb so much water each hour. After that, you’re just going to pee it out before it ever makes its way through your intestines, kidneys, circulation, and to your skin. Bottled or tap, it doesn’t matter—granted your city has decent water.
Hydrating your skin from the inside out isn’t an excuse to skip topical moisturizers. After all, the water you drink may not affect your outermost layers of skin, the ones that get dried out from skin cleansers, says Few. “Moisturizing your skin both internally and externally is a critical combination for healthy, beautiful skin.”