Do you find that despite the summer humidity, your skin appears dull, lacking that radiant glow? Do you love the summer heat but wish it didn't leave your skin feeling itchy and tight? If any of these describe you, then chances are your skin may be dehydrated.
While dry or dehydrated skin seem one and the same, they actually result from very different causes. Dry skin is a particular skin type and is directly related to your skin’s natural oil production, while dehydrated skin can be experienced by anyone and everyone. Dehydration is the result of inadequate water retention in the skin, which can be caused by both external (weather and seasonal changes) and internal factors (diet, alcohol and caffeine consumption).
Signs of dehydration
Thirst is often a sign of dehydration. In fact, many people don’t feel thirsty until they’re already dehydrated. Your skin can also help identify early signs of dehydration, well before more extreme symptoms, such as muscle cramps, fatigue or the lack of sweat, set it. Some signs to look for include skin redness, enhanced fine lines, dullness and more frequent breakouts along with overall itchiness, inflammation and tightness.
Why it’s important to stay hydrated
Aside from achieving (and maintaining) that overall radiant glow, staying hydrated is essential to so many vital functions in the body. A well hydrated body helps to regulate body temperatures, keeps joints mobile, prevents infections and keeps vital organs working properly by ensuring nutrients are delivered to all cells. After all, we’re made up of 75% water, so like any well oiled/lubricated machine, we need that hydration to feel and function our best.
Three easy ways to stay hydrated through your diet
While we don’t have much control over external factors that contribute to dehydrated skin, we do have control over our diet, which keeps our skin hydrated from the inside out. What we eat and drink (or not drink) plays a huge part in nourishing and hydrating our skin. Now sure, you could keep yourself hydrated simply by drinking enough water daily (what amount is “enough” depends on your body size, level of activity and more). But where’s the excitement in that when you can stay hydrated through delicious and nutritious food and drinks that can easily be incorporated throughout the day.
Chew your water
Many fruits and veggies are almost entirely made up of water: strawberries, cucumbers, watermelon and zucchini just to name a few. Not only are these foods in season during the summer months of skin damaging intense sun (and there are a number of reasons to eat seasonally when you can) they will also contribute to your daily water consumption, helping to keep you hydrated with every bite.
Enhance with Chia Seeds
These little seeds pack a hydrating punch by retaining nearly 12 times their weight in water. They help to regulate body fluid levels and retain electrolytes, both vital in the battle against dehydration. Versatile as breakfast or a snack, we love them in smoothies, and even more so in chia puddings, like this Brain-hugging Matcha-Moringa Chia Pudding or this Super Easy Chocolate Chia Pudding
Back to basics: Water
Thirst quenching, life reviving water. Drink it hot or cold, just as long as you drink it. If you find it a challenge to drink plenty of water because it's too plain, zhuzh it up! Add some lemon or lime to your agua. Get creative with cucumber slices, pears, mint or really anything. Or brew herbal tea, which you can sip hot or iced according to your mood (and the weather!), and as a bonus, you’ll also benefit from the health-promoting herbs. The key is to find something that satisfies your taste buds and you’ll be that much closer to that hydrated and radiant glow.
So, what to eat and drink?
Here are some delicious, thirst-quenching and thirst-preventing ideas to get you started!
Summer Hydration Hacks (foods and water alternatives)
Zuza is currently studying Holistic Nutrition at IHN in Toronto, Canada. She's a balcony garden enthusiast and rescue dog mama.