I’ve mentioned your skin’s need for water before, but it’s such an important topic that it deserves a section all its own.
We sometimes forget our skin — until something goes wrong! Your skin is the largest organ of your body. The skin protects us from infections, guards us against harmful effects of the sun’s rays, and helps to regulate our body temperature.
But what most of us think about with the skin is how it looks. All of us have seen those with unhealthy skin or complexions. Their skin has a sallow look, pasty, or drawn. It’s not a pretty sight.
And, of course, what the skin needs is moisture. When the body is inadequately hydrated, there’s not enough moisture in the skin tissues, and that can contribute to the drawn and haggard look so many have.
The skin also needs hydration to clean the body of toxins. Your body is constantly in contact with things that are not good for us. Those things can come from the food we eat, the air we breathe, and things we come into contact with by touching. (And in some places in the world — thankfully not usually in North America! — even water itself can bring in those toxins).
The simplest way the body gets rid of toxins is through washing. Washing your hands is probably the very best thing you can do to prevent infections, whether your own or someone else’s. Bathing or showering (and shampooing) also get rid of toxic materials our bodies don’t need.
But the cleaning works internally, too. Water courses through your body, a never-ending stream flushing out harmful substances. And if there’s not enough of that water, your body itself can become polluted, something like a river in a time of drought, when there’s just not enough water to clean out all the junk.
Your body can operate like that, too. Because there’s not enough fluid to clean out the toxins, they accumulate in the body’s tissues. The whole body can start to act sluggish, but the place where we see it first is in our skin. And while we are quick to put on lotions and skin treatments, the primary and most important “skin treatment” you can use comes in a glass — and it’s available from the tap!
Again, the most important means of taking care of your skin is our regular, 20 glasses a day water plan. Keep drinking on a regular basis. You will find that it becomes a wonderful habit very quickly, and you come to miss it if you’re separated from a water source for very long.
Prevention is of first importance, but if you find you’ve been exposed to something toxic (such as secondhand smoke), first wipe your face with cool (not cold) tap water, and then drink a couple of glasses of water right away. You want to give your body a chance to get rid of the toxins right away, and there’s no better way than water.
You may also notice times when your skin looks drawn or haggard, even when you’re drinking enough (or at least think you are!) In most of these cases, what has happened is that you have become busy or pre-occupied, and haven’t been drinking enough. Whatever the reason, start pumping the water right away. You will even find that water will help you to look better if you’ve temporarily not had enough sleep. If you have to miss a few hour’s sleep (or even a whole night) really load up on the water. It will make you feel better and look better until you can catch up on sleep.
Jim Huffman, RN specializes in natural and alternative healing therapies. His first book is ‘Dare to Be Free: How to Get Control of Your Time, Your Life, and Your Nursing Career,’ and is aimed at helping other nurses find satisfying, dynamic careers. His website is http://www.NetworkForNurses.com and his health blog is at http://www.pro-longevity.blogspot.com