Photographs by Tayler Smith.
I’m a fairly healthy person — I do what I can to feel good, while still enjoying my life. I wake up at the crack of dawn for yoga and eat a fairly balanced diet, but I’ll also snag that last slice of pizza if you don’t get to it first. But one thing I’ve been told over and over again is that I don’t drink enough water.
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During my checkups, my doctors would tell me the horrible migraines that left me incapacitated for days might have to do with dehydration. My derm said that my acne would likely improve if I drank more water. And every aesthetician I’ve ever been to would tsk-tsk when I told them how little water I imbibed on a daily basis. Water, it seemed, was the answer to all of my problems.
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You’ve likely heard similar advice. Just do a Google search for “water for skin,” and you’ll find thousands of articles on the subject. Chugging multiple glasses daily is said to be the secret to a glowing complexion — even though the science is still out on whether all this H2O is actually hydrating us from the inside out. As I’ve never been one to turn down a challenge, though, I decided to give it a try. I’d drink a gallon of water a day for 30 days to see what it would do for my face.
I couldn’t have started this experiment on a better day. The night before, I’d gone to the dinner party of a dear friend who works in PR — gatherings known for free-flowing wine. So, with a slight vino-induced hangover, I went to the market on my way to work and picked up a plastic gallon jug. It went down quite easily — and it might have been the first time dehydration due to alcohol did anything positive for me. This will be a snap, I thought.
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This attitude lasted for a good 24 hours. The next day, while out shopping with friends (water gallon in tow), I hit a wall — a tiled bathroom wall, that is. Do you know how many free, public bathrooms New York City has? By my count, three. And they’re always in use or disgusting. I was peeing regularly — at least once an hour — and trying to find a bathroom each time was like trying to find a Kylie Lip Kit for purchase. My poor friends were constantly waiting outside of Starbucks while I bunny-hopped back and forth in line so that I could toss $2 at the cashier for a small green tea in exchange for the damn code — so I didn’t wet myself in your line, sir, thank you very much.
Drinking that much water was also a lesson in sipping. If I drank too fast, I’d feel sick to my stomach. If I drank too slowly, I wouldn’t get through the gallon by the end of the day. And while my body finally adjusted and my bathroom breaks decreased, I was still in the restroom as often as some of the pregnant women in the office. There were some days when I’d get into bed, realize that I still had some water left in my jug, and make a silent deal with whoever would listen. I’ll do fucking anything not to drink that water. Sometimes I did, and sometimes I left it there to linger until morning.
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The Big Payoff
That said, I was seeing some positive changes in my skin and in other parts of my life. While the water didn’t make my face feel petal-soft, I did see a decrease in the number of zits dotting my chin and cheeks. I also had a major glow — so much so that I stopped wearing foundation and luminizer, and used only concealer. It was similar to my results on the Perricone Diet. And while I’m not sure the water had anything to do with it, my hair felt softer and looked a touch shinier.
I was also totally shocked by the amount of energy I had. I’d leap out of bed every morning when my alarm went off, and my yoga classes became easier. Even my instructor said he noticed my energy levels were higher. He also noticed that I no longer toted my bodega coffee into the studio alongside my mat for the 7 a.m. classes. I didn’t feel the need to snack as often, my sugar cravings practically disappeared, and I didn’t get a single migraine while drinking all of this water. The best part, though? No hangovers — save for after one evening, when I mixed alcohol like a teenager while hanging out with my parents, of all people. But, hey. You can’t always win.
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These days, I find myself tracking my water intake with apps instead of carrying around a jug — I love this app called Waterlogged, because you can add your own containers and track by volume. Do I hit a gallon every day? Absolutely not — I’m lucky if I get over halfway there. But I’m more mindful about drinking H2O, which I think is the best you could ask for.
So is a gallon of water a skin-care miracle? No, ma'am. Will it cure your flaky, dry skin? Not on its own, that’s for sure. But is drinking enough water part of a healthy skin-care regimen? For me, absolutely. And until my body or my doctor tells me otherwise, I’m going to keep on sipping.
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My one request? For the love of god, someone please send me an app that tracks clean, free public bathrooms in New York. I and the other camels of the world will thank you.
By: Maria del Russo