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Does Drinking Water Help Acne? The Role of Hydration in Clear Skin

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    Acne can be an endless frustrating cycle – just when one breakout heals, another seems to appear. If you’ve struggled with acne, you’ve likely heard advice to drink more water.

    But does water help acne, or is that just a myth? In this article, we’ll explore the research on how proper hydration impacts skin health and what role it plays in reducing acne.

    The Causes and Treatments of Acne

    Acne occurs when dead skin cells, excess oil (sebum), and bacteria clog up hair follicles in the skin. This creates small, red lesions called comedones that we know as pimples.

    Hormones, medications, diet, stress, and genetics can influence acne. Severe acne may require prescription treatments, but in mild to moderate cases, there are some natural ways to support clearer skin.

    Gentle daily cleansing, over-the-counter acne creams, retinoids, and moisturizers can all be helpful. But one of the most common tips for healthy, acne-free skin is drinking plenty of water.

    But does water help acne? Let’s examine what science says.

    red dehydrated face

    How Hydration Affects Skin Health

    So does water help acne? Research shows staying properly hydrated can benefit skin health in a few key ways.

    1. Water supports your body’s natural detoxification system. Your kidneys and liver work to flush out toxins and waste products – however, they require adequate water intake to function optimally. When dehydrated, your body’s toxin removal process gets sluggish, potentially leading to build-up that can worsen acne.
    2. Water provides moisture to maintain your skin’s elasticity and suppleness. Dehydration causes skin dryness, which can increase oil production as your body tries to compensate. This excess oil production can clog pores and cause more acne. Drinking enough water ensures your skin stays balanced.
    3. Water helps regulate skin cell production and turnover. Your skin continually sheds dead cells and regenerates new ones. Proper hydration supports healthy cell function to facilitate this skin renewal process.
    4. It helps your body maintain proper pH balance. Studies link imbalanced pH levels to more breakouts. Water helps neutralize your body’s pH. Electrolytes in water like potassium and sodium also support hydration and nourish the skin.

    The Limits of Just Drinking Water

    While staying hydrated is important, drinking more water alone is unlikely to cure acne entirely. Acne has many causes – genetics, bacteria, hormone fluctuations, and more.

    Increasing water intake addresses one piece of the puzzle, but acne demands a more holistic approach.

    Dermatologists recommend drinking at least 2-3 liters of water daily as part of a skin care regimen. But hydration outside the body is equally important. Using non-comedogenic moisturizers, hydrating masks, and hyaluronic acid serums can also improve skin hydration and acne.

    Staying properly hydrated inside and out provides the best environment for clear, healthy skin. But water is really a magic solution.

    woman dealing with rosacea skin condition on face

    Tips for Supporting Your Skin through Proper Hydration

    Here are some tips for making sure you stay hydrated to support your skin health:

    1. Carry a reusable smart water bottle with you to motivate drinking water throughout the day
    2. Set a daily water intake goal and track your progress
    3. Drink a full glass of water first thing in the morning and before meals
    4. Choose fruit or herbal-infused water for flavor instead of sugary drinks
    5. Take short breaks every hour to drink water
    6. Apply hydrating skin care products like hyaluronic acid and antioxidants
    7. Use an at-home peel or hydrating mask 1-2 times per week
    8. Monitor your urine color as an indicator of hydration status
    9. Eat hydrating fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, watermelon, and celery

    get water from fruits and vegetables

    You may want to know: 30 Easy Ways To Drink More Water

    Remember, does water help acne? It can support skin health as part of your regimen, but a comprehensive approach is needed. Drink enough water, practice gentle skin care, manage stress, get enough sleep, and eat a nutrient-rich diet. This combination gives your skin the best chance of being clear and acne-free.


    Guidelines of care for the management of acne vulgaris. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 74(5), 945-973.e33.

    Palma L, Marques LT, Bujan J, Rodrigues LM. Dietary water affects human skin hydration and biomechanics. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2015 Aug 3;8:413-21. doi: 10.2147/CCID.S86822. PMID: 26345226; PMCID: PMC4529263.



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