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Since I live in the desert I seem to keep coming back around to hydration in every publication I contribute to. Here is the unedited version of this article:

The Beauty of Water

By Cecily Whiteside

Water is the body’s most powerful weapon in your beauty arsenal. It will help with weight loss efforts, let your skin maintain that dewy glow and allow you to exercise longer, harder and more efficiently to maintain both your health and your figure. It is like a sorcerer’s brew designed to make you more beautiful. And it’s right at your fingertips, as easy as simply taking a sip.

According to the Mayo Clinic, our bodies are composed of 60% water. It is vital for the proper function of cells in muscle firing, food breakdown, brain function, and removal of waste products. Water also helps the body maintain its temperature to avoid dangerous fluctuations from both hot and cold environments.

Each of these vital functions requires the use of water, which means we need to continually replace that which is lost through sweat, urination, or even breathing. While our bodies usually signal us to drink when we begin to dehydrate, sometimes we ignore the signals, or confuse them with other needs – like hunger or fatigue.

For those of us concerned about our appearance, water is even more important. Our skin is our largest organ and the body’s repository for storing water. When we are drinking enough, the skin maintains a constant level of hydration, causing the cells to stay plump and the surface of our skin to remain smooth. If, however, we are chronically dehydrated, vital body functions will pull water from the skin where it is stored in order to maintain cell function in digestion and waste removal. As a result, the skin loses its texture, elasticity, and resiliency. Over time wrinkles and discoloring develop and the eyes can begin to look sunken and shadowed.

Dehydrated skin is different from dry skin. Dry skin type means that your oil glands do not make enough oil for your skin’s needs, which is on ongoing condition and calls for skincare products to remedy. Dehydrated skin is something very different, which skincare products cannot fix. Dehydrated skin is a temporary condition where the skin cells do not have enough water stored in them and it is much more easily addressed.

The fix is simple. Drink water. Experts agree that while sugary or caffeinated beverages are fine to add to the diet in small quantities, water is the best option for health and beauty. Recommendations on the amount to drink vary, but it is hard to drink too much — the body simply flushes out the excess with frequent trips to the restroom. The best way to know if you are hydrated is to watch to color of your urine. Dark yellow means you need to drink more; very light yellow to clear means you are on target. Generally, this is about 2L per day.

Those who live in arid or cold regions will need to drink more, as dry air and frigid temperatures tend to dry skin more quickly. Exercise also increases the need for water. Sweat is an obvious source of water loss, but increased breathing rates during your workout also leads to water loss. A good rule of thumb is to drink 250ml 20 minutes before your workout, then another 250ml every 15 minutes during exercise.

Chronic dehydration is one of the most detrimental factors contributing to premature aging, but is also the most easily remedied. Being aware of your water intake is the least taxing form of self-care, and can produce almost instantaneous results. So drink up! Here’s to a smoother, younger-looking you.