It seems too good to be true, so I had to know. Can drinking water really make you look 20 years younger?
I had 5 dehydrated subjects take the Water Challenge to see if the cold tap on your sink could become the fountain of youth.
We've all heard that drinking water is good for your health.* Water gives you energy, aids in digestion, keeps your organs working properly, keeps your mind sharp, flushes out toxins, and on and on. But what about looks?
I'm sure that many of you, like me, saw the article from the Daily Mail about the woman in the UK who drank a bunch of water for a month and looked dramatically younger at the end of the trial. Just look at those before and after pictures! They certainly caught my attention. I'm always on the lookout for a way to erase fine lines and even out the tone of my skin. And that's exactly what the woman in the Daily Mail seems to have done. But is there any truth to the hype? Was it just makeup and lighting? I was curious, could it really work?
I enlisted 5 friends who were self admittedly chronically dehydrated, sometimes drinking as little as one glass a day. (eww!) I had them agree to drink what I called "8 glasses" of water over the course of a day for one month and let them be the judge of the glass size. An average water glass holds about 16 ounces, so my ballpark total was around 128 ounces - a gallon - to be consumed a day. Then, I asked them to send me bare-faced before-and-after shots and be completely honest about their rehydration: Did it made you look younger? How it make you feel?
Here's the skinny:
Lindsey C. from Kentucky:
"Although I wouldn't say my results were drastic, the subtle changes were worth drinking more water. I wake up looking more refreshed and have better breath. I notice I crave water more often, as if my body is used to and requiring a higher intake. I think 8 glasses of water is a just a little excessive for my diet and petite frame. 6 glasses felt more comfortable and had the same advantages."
Jordan W. from South Carolina:
"Overall, I’m not really sure if I noticed any big changes. That doesn’t mean there weren’t any; maybe they've been gradual or they're benefits that I don’t necessarily see from the surface. I bounced back and forth between feeling thinner and feeling fatter. Sometimes I think all of the water was actually making my belly feel more bloated, but maybe those are just the times when I drank a large portion in a short time when I was trying to catch up. I lost 3 pounds since the beginning of the challenge and I haven't really been exercising much. Maybe it's just the lighting, but it seems like I have clearer skin with less lines."
Rachel C. from Pennsylvania:
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"I didn't drink the full amount but drastically increased my water consumption. I feel a lot less bloated and lost 3 pounds."
Tiffany V. from Missouri:
"I was excited for the results, but felt it hard to drink so much water when I was used to having so little. I created a task list on my phone to help me keep track. In no time I wasn't even using the list and felt it was easy to get in my daily water. I started to notice myself actually becoming thirsty again!! For water!! The more water I took in, the more water I craved. At the end of the challenge I could actually tell a difference. My body was flushing out impurities and my sodium balance was better; my rings weren't tight like before! My favorite change was that my skin didn't look sallow and dry, and my fine lines (especially the crows feet) were not showing as much. My skin was plump and smooth! (I got a new phone so the "after" picture looks a little different than the "before)."
Kristin R. from Maryland:
"Before I started this challenge, I only drank water when I went to the gym and at meals. And to be honest, there were a few days that I couldn't drink all the water, because I was traveling for work and couldn't stop to pee every 15 minutes!
I had to pee all the time! My skin cleared up. I was a little pimply on my forehead when I started. And I feel less bloated, in general, after drinking so much water! I also had some patchy eczema spots on my legs- they went away!
I don't feel like there was much change in the looks of my face, but I am very happy with how I feel in general.
I definitely will continue to drink more water on a daily basis. It feels good!"
So, there you have it. In general, drinking water didn't really make anyone look 20 years younger. But keep in mind that the age range for these women is 26-35, so maybe looking slightly younger is the equivalent to what the Daily Mail woman (who was 42 at the time of the article) experienced. I think everyone felt better in some way, so why not give it a try yourself? If you have crazy results, let me know; I'd love to hear your story.
*Drinking TOO much water can kill you. It's called water intoxication and, although rare, can happen if your water consumption grossly exceeds your water loss. Never force yourself to drink to excess.
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Images: Sarah Olive Bergeson, via participants listed above