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Hydration beyond water

Updated: Jun 25

Skin hydration is more complex than just water intake. While water is essential for hydration, maintaining skin moisture involves various factors, including cellular processes and the presence of osmolytes.


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Skin hydration involves the balance of water within skin cells and the interstitial fluid surrounding them. Skin cells, particularly keratinocytes, play a crucial role in maintaining this balance through osmosis and active transport. These processes ensure that water is retained within the cells and prevent excessive loss from the skin surface.


Osmolytes are like tiny superheroes inside our cells! When cells face tough conditions like high salt or heat, they step in to save the day. They help cells stay in balance by regulating water and protecting important molecules. Imagine them as tiny bodyguards, keeping everything in check so the cell can keep working smoothly.


To keep your skin truly hydrated you need to include foods rich in osmolytes like:

  1. Amino acids: found in protein-rich foods like dairy, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

  2. Sugars that is Present in fruits like berries, apples, and oranges, as well as in honey and certain vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes.

  3. Betaine: Abundant in spinach, beets, quinoa, and wheat bran.


Consuming a balanced diet rich in these osmolyte-containing foods can support skin hydration from within.


Additionally, topical skincare products containing humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerin can further enhance skin hydration by attracting moisture to the skin's surface like our luxury creme cleanser.


Another thing that you need in your diet to boost hydration from within is foods abundant in phytochemicals like red grapes, blueberries, cranberries, peanuts, and honey.


Phytochemicals are the natural compounds found in plants that give them their colours, flavours, and scents. But they're more than just pretty additions! They're like the secret weapons of plants, helping them fight off diseases, pests, and other threats. When we eat plants rich in phytochemicals, like fruits, veggies, and herbs, we get some of those protective benefits too! They're like nature's own defence system, boosting our health and protecting us from harm.


Omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts, have anti-inflammatory properties and help maintain the skin's natural oil barrier. This barrier prevents moisture loss from the skin, keeping it hydrated and supple.


Antioxidant-rich foods, such as berries, citrus fruits, leafy greens, and nuts, help protect the skin from oxidative stress caused by factors like UV radiation and pollution. By reducing oxidative damage, antioxidants support skin health and hydration.


Certain compounds found in foods, such as sorbitol, betaine, glycerol, and amino acids, act as osmolytes and humectants, attracting and retaining water in skin cells. Foods containing these compounds, like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and nuts, can help maintain skin hydration.


Consuming excessive amounts of caffeine, alcohol, and salty or sugary foods can contribute to dehydration by increasing fluid loss or altering fluid balance in the body. Limiting these substances and balancing them with adequate water intake can help maintain hydration levels.


Overall, a balanced diet rich in hydrating foods, electrolytes, antioxidants, and essential nutrients supports optimal hydration and skin health. Pairing a healthy diet with adequate water intake is essential for preventing dehydration and maintaining hydrated, healthy-looking skin.


These fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of hydration due to their high water content:


Hydrating Fruits:


1. Watermelon: Watermelon is composed of about 92% water, making it one of the most hydrating fruits. It's refreshing and delicious, perfect for staying hydrated on hot days.


2. Cucumber: Cucumbers are made up of over 95% water and are incredibly hydrating. They're versatile and can be added to salads, and sandwiches, or enjoyed as a snack with hummus or yoghurt dip.


3. Strawberries: Strawberries have a high water content (about 91%) and are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. They make a sweet and hydrating snack on their own or can be added to smoothies, salads, or desserts.


4. Oranges: Oranges are juicy fruits with a water content of around 86%. They're also packed with vitamin C, which supports skin health and immune function.


5. Pineapple: Pineapple contains about 86% water and is a tropical fruit known for its sweet and tangy flavour. It's a hydrating snack on its own or can be added to fruit salads, smoothies, or grilled for a refreshing dessert.


Hydrating Vegetables:


1. Lettuce: Lettuce varieties like iceberg and romaine are high in water content (over 95%) and are commonly used as the base for salads or as a topping for sandwiches and wraps.


2. Celery: Celery consists of about 95% water and is crunchy and hydrating. It's often enjoyed as a snack with nut butter or hummus or added to salads, soups, and stir-fries for extra crunch and hydration.


3. Tomatoes: Tomatoes have a water content of around 94% and are versatile vegetables (technically fruits) used in various dishes like salads, sandwiches, sauces, and soups.


4. Cabbage: Cabbage is made up of about 92% water and is a hydrating vegetable commonly used in salads, slaws, stir-fries, and soups.


5. Zucchini: Zucchini has a water content of around 95% and is a versatile and hydrating vegetable that can be spiralized into noodles, grilled, sautéed, or added to salads and soups.


Incorporating a variety of hydrating fruits and vegetables into your diet can help you stay hydrated and support overall health and well-being. They provide essential hydration and also deliver a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants beneficial for your body.


References


  1. El-Chami, C., Haslam, I.S., Steward, M.C. and O'Neill, C.A. (2014), Role of organic osmolytes in water homoeostasis in skin. Exp Dermatol, 23: 534-537. https://doi.org/10.1111/exd.12473

  2. Björklund Sebastian (2013), Skin hydration - How water and osmolytes influence biophysical properties of stratum corneum https://lup.lub.lu.se/search/files/5522794/3787607.pdf

  3. The osmolyte strategy of ageing skin Foster, A. (Author). 1 Aug 2021

  4. Foster AR, El Chami C, O'Neill CA, Watson REB. Osmolyte transporter expression is reduced in photoaged human skin: Implications for skin hydration in aging. Aging Cell. 2020 Jan;19(1):e13058. doi: 10.1111/acel.13058. Epub 2019 Nov 26. PMID: 31769623; PMCID: PMC6974728.


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