Can Drinking Water Get Rid of Acne and Help Clear My Skin?

Medically Reviewed on 11/22/2021

Health benefits of water

Keeping your body hydrated is a well-known wellness tip. Water improves other functions that in turn improve the appearance of the skin.
Keeping your body hydrated is a well-known wellness tip. Water improves other functions that in turn improve the appearance of the skin.

Keeping your body hydrated is a well-known wellness tip. Everyone needs water to support their organ functions. Since the skin is the largest organ, it makes sense that it needs water as much as your heart and kidney do.

Some research suggests that drinking water may be a key ingredient for a better complexion. Keeping hydrated is good for overall skin health. Water may even help clear up skin that is prone to acne

The human body is made of up to 60% water. There is fluid between all the solid parts of your body, acting as a cushion and carrying nutrients and immune cells from one body part to another. Water is critical to maintaining blood flow so that oxygen and nutrients can circulate throughout your body. Water also carries waste out of your body through urine and feces.

You need to consume enough water to maintain all the fluid levels your body requires. Drinking water serves functions such as:

  • Aiding digestion
  • Cushioning joints
  • Protecting soft tissue and organs
  • Maintaining electrolyte balance
  • Regulating body temperature
  • Stabilizing blood pressure and heart rate

Most experts recommend drinking four to six cups of water each day. You may need more water if you engage in exercise or other activities that make you sweat and lose fluids. You can also get water from eating fruits and vegetables that are naturally hydrating. Alcohol and caffeinated beverages are dehydrating, so they don't have the same health benefits as water. 

How water affects the skin

Like the rest of your body, the skin naturally contains a significant amount of water. Experts say that skin is 30% water, and water contributes to the thickness and strength of the skin. Skin also prevents your body from losing water to evaporation; skin is what locks moisture into the body. Extreme loss of water in the skin causes an appearance of slackness that is a symptom of severe dehydration

While it would be great if drinking a glass of water could immediately give skin a plump, well-hydrated appearance, that's not how skin functions. Water can't erase the fine lines and wrinkles that come with aging. Instead, skin derives benefits from water more indirectly. Water improves other functions that in turn improve the appearance of the skin.

Immune system 

Water is crucial for supporting immune system function. The cells that fight viruses and bacteria travel through the bloodstream to reach the affected areas of the body. If blood flow and heart function are compromised, immune function is also compromised.

Acne is caused in part by bacteria that are trapped in clogged skin follicles. The bacteria trigger an immune response that causes the inflammation and redness that you think of as pimples. In order to heal, your body needs to deploy the immune cells to your skin to fight the bacteria  Eventually, those immune cells destroy the bacteria, which ends the breakout.

Drinking water can't directly prevent the acne bacteria from affecting your skin. The bacteria is on the surface of your skin, and the water you drink can't sluice them away. The benefit of drinking water for acne is that it can support your immune system so that it can clear pimples up more quickly.

Blood sugar

Drinking water is good for stabilizing blood sugar. When you eat food, your body converts it into glucose that your cells can use for energy. Too much glucose in your bloodstream can lead to health problems in the long term.

Some studies have found that drinking an adequate amount of water daily can reduce the risk of developing chronic high blood sugar. In turn, this could have an effect on acne. 

Additional studies show that a diet designed to reduce blood sugar spikes may reduce acne breakouts. Drinking water and eating a low-glycemic-index diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins may have a positive effect on your skin.

Water for skincare

Using water on the surface of your skin has benefits as well. Lukewarm water can clean skin without stripping the oils that make up the moisture barrier, though water that is too hot can lead to skin dryness. 

Using rich moisturizers on slightly damp skin seals moisture into the surface of the skin. That helps you retain water over the course of your day. To increase the amount of moisture in your skin, you can use products with humectants such as glycerin or hyaluronic acid. This type of ingredient attracts moisture and allows cells to hang on to it.

If you are unsure how your diet and hydration habits are affecting your skin, talk to your doctor. They can help you choose the best plans to clear skin of any acne breakouts.

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Medically Reviewed on 11/22/2021

Diabetes Care: "Low Water Intake and Risk for New-Onset Hyperglycemia."

Harvard Health Publishing: "How much water should you drink?"

Houston Methodist: "5 Ways to Boost Your Immune System."

Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "A Low Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Diet Decreases Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 among Adults with Moderate and Severe Acne: A Short-Duration, 2-Week Randomized Controlled Trial."

Michigan State University: "Cosmetics – Exploring humectants."

National Eczema Association: "Eczema and Bathing."

National Health Service: "Causes: Acne."

Nutrition Reviews: "Water, Hydration and Health."