Part 1: Hydration
Note: Men, don’t scurry off this post just because you read “smoother, softer, sexier” in the title. That doesn’t mean this post is for just women. We all have skin, and if you want your woman to find you sexier you’ll pay attention.
Why is our skin so dry?
Even though there may be lots of snow, there is less moisture in the air when it’s cold. The air get much drier because cold air holds less moisture. Also, forced air heating removes what little moisture there is left in the air. This means that there’s less moisture in you too. Add to that all of the hot layers of clothing we wear and some of our cold-weather coping mechanisms and your sum total is dehydration.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body. It is the first organ in your line of defense (immune system) and the last in your system of elimination. Generally, if there’s something going wrong in your body you’ll see it in some form in your skin. Dehydration is an easy one to see in the skin because of its telltale signs: you can feel its roughness, your skin loses its suppleness and pliability, and you can see flakes of dry skin on the surface. You can do a test on your hand by pinching up a bit of skin on the back of your hand with your fingertips and see how long it takes for the skin to go back to normal. If it stands there for a second and then gradually sinks down into your skin – you’re dehydrated.
Some cold-weather coping mechanisms that dehydrate you are:
- Taking hot showers, baths or steams. Now, if you’re like me, you love to get into hot water to warm up when it’s cold outside. This does not help your skin. In fact, hot water is more dehydrating the longer you stay in it.
- Keeping the heat up.
- Since we are naturally in hibernation mode at this time of year we need something to wake us up in the morning. Caffeine when used moderately is not dehydrating, but when overused (more than 2-4 cups of coffee a day, and I’m not talking lattes or grandes) it has a diuretic effect.
- Drinking alcohol for a cup of cheer. We all know it’s dehydrating. And Alcohol is a depressant, so it doesn’t cheer you up for long.
Why our bodies love water
Water is your body’s principal chemical component, making up, on average, 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues.
Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.
Functions of water in the body
How to hydrate and keep hydrated
Step up internal hydration. Drink water. Drink more than you think. Important and little known fact: approximately 70% of daytime fatigue is due to dehydration. The best way to set up your body for adequate hydration throughout the day is to drink 8-16 oz of water first thing in the morning. You’ll notice a big difference if you have your morning glass of water before you have your morning coffee or tea! Plain old water is the most hydrating thing for you. Do make sure you are keeping up on your electrolytes if you are one of the few, the well-hydrated.
How much water do I have to drink?
One good rule of thumb is the 8 x 8. Drink eight 8oz. glasses of water per day. That’s 64 oz. for any of you who’s math brain has atrophied like mine has. The dietary recommendations of the Institute of Medicine advises that men consume 3 liters (about 13 cups) of beverages per day, whereas women are only advised to consume 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of beverages per day. It doesn’t say what beverages should be consumed, but I don’t think a six-pack of beer counts.
Consume lots of winter fruits and vegetables high in water content
Celery root, sweet potatoes and watercress are some great winter vegetables that have high water content. And who can resist all that juicy winter citrus fruit! Other great winter fruits are pomegranates and persimmons. Mmmmm. Food usually accounts for up to 20% of our daily fluid intake.
Use a hydrosol or hydrating toner on your face
If you need to add moisture to keep your face hydrated then you can spritz on a hydrosol or hydrating toner any time of the day. This adds moisture to rehydrate from the outside.
Remedies to our dehydrating habits
- If you have to get into hot water, keep the temperature down or don’t stay in very long. Always drink a glass of water after taking a long, hot shower/bath/steam. If you don’t have to get into hot water but want to get hot, raise your internal temperature by doing a few sun salutations or whatever gets your blood pumping. Take your dog for a run in the snow.
- If you keep the heat up, well, turn it down. It’ll keep your cost down too. Or buy a good humidifier. Or drink more water.
- If you are a caffeine addict then drink water in between cups (or grandes). Maybe you could try cutting down . . .
- If you like to drink your cheer then drink a glass of water in between. That’s one glass of water for every pint of beer, hot toddy or whatever.
Wide Mouth SIGG bottle in matte black
Do you see a pattern here? Drink more water!
Tricks to help you drink more water
Use really big cups. I’m talking BIG. My favorite when I’m at home is the “Wide Mouth” Mason Jar. I’ve always loved drinking out of jars (must be the farmgirl in me) and the best are these 32oz. beasts. If you can choke one of those down, you only have one more to go according to the 8 x 8 rule. Yay! Then you don’t have to keep track of how many cups you’ve had that day. “Was that 5 or 6? Oh, I’m sure that’s enough.”
My out-of-the-house favorite is the Wide Mouth SIGG bottle in matte black; darn sexy. And now that they’re truly BPA-free, they are a deserved favorite.
If you need to sweeten your medicine in order to take it then by all means do. Put a few ounces of your favorite juice in your water, or add an electrolyte fizz. I put Body Balance in my water every day – two birds; one stone.