The Wonders of Water

Since about 60 percent your body is made of water, it makes sense that water would play an important role in your body's functions [source: Mayo Clinic: Water]. Water is like the ultimate shipping system, transporting nutrients to your cells and whisking away toxins [source: Bouchez: Diet]. The next time you feel thirsty, instead of reaching for that soda, grab a glass of water instead. Your skin, and the rest of your body, will thank you.

Hydration and Skin Dryness

With all the hype on TV and in magazines about how much water you need to drink each day, you might think that people are like marine mammals, unable to survive on land. Obviously that's not the case, but even though you stroll around on dry land, your skin and the rest of your body still need water.

Keeping hydrated means getting enough water so that your body can function efficiently. Researchers disagree on how much water is enough to stave off dry skin, but at the very least you should need from 4 to 8 cups (about 1 to 2 liters) of liquid a day to keep reasonably hydrated, and that liquid should preferably be water [source: Bouchez: Feed]. The Institute of Medicine recommends that women drink nine cups of plain water everyday and men drink 13 [source: Mayo Clinic: Water]. The bottom line is that you need water, and lots of it, to be healthy.

There are several of reasons why you may not be getting enough water to make keep your skin healthy. Anything that makes you sweat a lot, such as exercise or being out in the sun, causes you to lose fluids. Getting sick can dehydrate you too, particularly if you have a fever, diarrhea or are vomiting [source: WebMD: Dehydration]. In such cases, you might need to drink even more water to replace what was lost.

Remembering to drink enough water can sometimes be a chore, but there are a couple of different ways to make the job easier. First, you can use a set of guidelines, perhaps something your doctor recommends or guidelines from a reputable source like the Institute of Medicine, and follow them every day. You can also make it a point to drink one or two glasses of water with every meal. Keep a water bottle on your desk at work or in your car, and sip often. If you'd like a little flavor with your water, try adding a lemon wedge or a splash of fruit juice.

If you're thinking it would be nice to have some food to go with all that water, keep reading to find out which foods can also help you stay hydrated.