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Is Drinking Too Much Water a Thing?

Drinking water for your health

We all know that staying hydrated is essential for life itself and is beneficial for the health of your skin. It has been generally widely accepted that proper water intake is beneficial for the skin. 

Some benefits of adequate water intake on skin [1]:

  • Flush toxins: no need to go on a juice cleanse - staying hydrated will flush out toxins that are harmful to your body and skin. 
  • Balance pH: water can help to balance the pH levels in your body. pH levels go from 0-14 - 0 being acidic and basic substances at the higher end of the scale. Water is the perfect 7 pH which is neutral and will balance out possible abnormalities. 
  • Reduces wrinkles: studies also show that staying hydrated prevents premature aging by reducing the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and scars. 
  • Clears up acne: in relation to flushing out toxins, staying hydrated will prevent certain irritants from clogging the pores on your skin and causing breakouts. 
  • Elasticity: staying hydrated maintains the elasticity of your skin and its ability to bounce back. 

What happens when you drink too much water?

Studies suggest that on average women should drink about 2.7 liters of water daily while men need about 3.7 liters. It is clear that our cells need water to properly function - but there is such a thing as too much water. 

When you drink too much water (over-hydration) there can be certain complications [2,3]:

  • Altered brain function: if brain cells swell because of excess water, headaches and confusion may result. Too much brain pressure can lead to high blood pressure and low heart rate. 
  • Hyponatremiaa condition in which the sodium (electrolyte) content in your cells becomes diluted and can be life threatening

Signs you may be over-hydrated [2]:

  • The color of your urine: urine color is determined by the level of urochrome and the dilution in water that is being excreted. Urine should usually be a yellow to tea color and clear urine is an indication that you are drinking too much water in a short time span. 
  • Too many bathroom trips: a sign of over-hydration is an excess use of the restroom. On average, an adult urinates 6-8 times a day and up to 10 when you are an abundant water drinker. If you are going to the bathroom more frequently than that you might be over-hydrated. 
  • Drinking water when not thirsty: this is a way to get over-hydrated - your body will tell you when it is in need of water and it is the best to follow your body’s cues.
  • Nausea and vomiting: when over-hydrated, the kidneys cannot filter out all of the water in your body - leading to nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. 
  • Throbbing headaches: although seen in both dehydration and over-hydration, over-hydrated brain cells can swell and put pressure on the skull - resulting in headaches and brain impairment.
  • Discoloration of hands and feet: over-hydration can lead to swelling of the extremities. When swelling occurs, the skin also swells and changes the appearance in both size and color. 
  • Muscle cramping: related to the electrolyte imbalance spoken of earlier, imbalances can result in muscle cramping and spasms. 
  • Tiredness and fatigue: drinking too much water can make your kidneys overwork, which releases a hormone to make you feel stressed and tired.