The Hydration Equation


Y’all it’s hot.

Popsicle-melts-before-ya-finish-it hot. Swatting-skeeters-in-a-sweaty-sundress hot. So-sorry-ya-gotta-wear-a-suit-today hot. Frizzy-hair-out-to-there hot. Pool-seems-like-a-jacuzzi hot. Why-did-ya-even-shower-today hot.

Summertime down here in The South redefines “heat wave.” It doesn’t subside. Open the front door early in the morning and feel the slam of humidity, then get drenched in your own sweat just walking over to the car. Did you park in the sun? Well, you better wait a minute before taking a seat.

Weather reporters and fitness coaches warn, “Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!” as a crucial mantra to avoid dehydration, heat exhaustion or sun stroke, all serious threats during periods of intense summer heat. These conditions stem from the body’s inability to cool itself efficiently.

As the body’s natural air conditioner, perspiration regulates body temperature by pushing sweat onto the skin’s surface to evaporate. To keep that cooling action going, the body pulls water out of the bloodstream and other cells.Fluid levels must be continually replenished or else the body will dehydrate, affecting system functions at the cellular level.

Dehydration has a big impact on overall skin health, too, robbing cells of the water needed to support vital tasks — so, a lack of sufficient fluid intake will eventually show up on your face. Drinking water remains the ultimate beauty secret because the skin is the largest organ of the body and is made up of mostly water. Your skin needs water to maintain moisture levels from deep inside the cells. That moisture boosts and plumps tissue, keeping the skin healthy and elastic, transporting essential nutrients into the cells and flushing out damaging toxins. Those water molecules provide buoyant little cushions to protect skin from the effects of aging and strengthen resiliency. Nourish your complexion at the source by giving it the hydration it needs, all day, every day.

The age-old rule of drinking at least eight glasses of water a day might be a good place to start. But, it’s probably more accurate to use your body weight as a benchmark for necessary fluid intake, replenishing with about a half ounce of water for every pound your frame carries around all day. For example, a 160-pound woman needs about 80 ounces of water a day for optimum hydration, and should drink even more when it’s hot or after exercising strenuously.

Pouring cup after cup of H2O isn’t the only way to get those necessary fluids. Check the farmers markets or produce section of your grocer and fill a basket with garden gems. Fresh fruits and vegetables brim with water, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Snacking on juicy berries, sweet Georgia peaches, vine-ripe tomatoes and cool watermelon will fill you up and boost hydration in the most delicious way.

How can you tell if you are drinking enough water? Well, check the bowl… the toilet bowl. The tint of your urine may indicate the status of your hydration level — it should be pale yellow to clear; too dark means your body’s getting dehydrated. Nothing “off-color” about this kind of potty talk! This is important self-care so listen to your body when it throws down a bright yellow penalty flag.

Some simple solutions for sipping include:
• Select a refillable water bottle in a manageable size and carry it with you, committing to a minimum number of refills throughout the day.
• Add a spritz of fruit juice to your water for refreshing flavor or use frozen fruit as “ice cubes” to give punch to your drink.
• Pick up some electrolyte mix packets at the market and drop one of those in your water bottle, particularly after exercise or during the hottest part of the day.
• Download a hydration tracker app to your phone and let it remind you of your progress.

If you have more questions about the importance of hydration on your face or your body, chat with the Robinson Facial Plastic Surgery team for advice and recommendations. Stay cool!