Why 8 glasses of water won't hydrate your skin...

The beauty pundits say "Dewy skin is always in" but is dewy skin just a matter of glugging down the mandated 8 glasses of water followed by daily application of moisturizer?

It was a chance remark at the tailor's that got me thinking about the real reason for dry skin. I was collecting some clothes I got stitched a while back. My tailor is extremely fond of talking about my weight loss with her other clients. As usual she was discussing it with a client who was there at the same time as me. This other client was wondering why my skin did not display any signs of diet damage. In her experience, dieting always left her skin very dry & dull.

Before I could respond, my tailor quipped, "It's all the ghee & butter she eats!"

We all know that some fat is needed for building healthy skin, but I always assumed that most people are born with certain types of skin - oily, dry, combination - each with its own woes. Some lucky people have "normal" skin which presents the least trouble. The type of skin you have is a genetic lottery that you draw and have little control over it. It may also be heavily affected by the weather and by your diet.

Sometimes skin misbehaves and results in either acne (too much oil) or flaking (too less), but I felt that is result of ignoring skin care routines - not using the right products in the right quantities at the right times.

Ghee has always been famed for the benefits it provides for skin nourishment. Pretty soon after my visit to the tailor I began reading up on the impact of fat in our diet on skin dryness and found the following information on The Weston A Price Foundation site:

First, and at the risk of being simplistic, it is clear that the reason the skin is dry is because the hydration level of the cells, in particularly the skin cells, is suboptimal. In other words, there is not enough water in your cells and therefore the cells contract. In addition, the normal oily secretions that the dermal cells put out is sluggish because the glands are unable to produce sufficient oils to balance out the rate at which the oils are removed. 
Many practitioners suggest that the solution is to drink more water—usually eight glasses per day of water is suggested. Unfortunately, this doesn't help much. The reason drinking a lot of water doesn't work very well is because the water in our cells is actually derived from the metabolism of fats. (The water we drink mostly goes into the bloodstream and then out via the kidneys.) It follows, therefore, that when the skin is dry, it means there is a relative imbalance or deficiency of fats, especially compared to the levels of carbohydrates in the diet. I find confirmation of this in my practice in that most of my patients who suffer from dry skin are thin and have been eating a low-fat diet. They are also often hypoglycemic and crave sugar. Thus they are eating a diet that is high in carbohydrates but deficient in good quality fat. By changing the ratio, so that more calories come from fats than carbohydrates, the body produced more water for the cells. In addition, the body will now have more fatty acids available for our oil-producing glands, which are our natural moisturizers. Good fats include butter, lard, coconut oil, olive oil and small amounts of flax oil.

Could it be that most skin problems are actually signs of fat imbalance in the diet - a lack of Saturated fats (butter!). Personally I have found this to be true. Ever since upping the fat in my diet I no longer need to moisturise my legs every single day and my elbows and knees are no longer dark and scaly!

Once in a fortnight I also do what could be called a "Ghee Facial". The steps are pretty easy:

  1. Tie up your hair. You don't want to get it greasy.
  2. Apply a generous quantity of ghee or coconut oil to cover your face & neck. I prefer ghee.
  3. Massage it for 10 to 30 minutes (as much time you have)
  4. Leave it on overnight. Wash off in morning. 
Btw, this is not something I've invented. Ghee & Coconut oil are used extensively in traditional Ayurvedic skincare recipes. There is also a technique of "washing" ghee before use in skincare. You can read about it here. This type of washed ghee is called Shatadhout Ghruta and is famed for its skin benefits. I have never made it though myself. 
While dry skin probably has a lot of different causes, it might be worthwhile for those of us suffering from it to consider if our diet is deficient in fat.

Do you use oils like ghee or coconut oil as a part of your beauty routine?


  1. Hey Tanveer,

    Love your posts! you are a complete beauty blogger for sure !


    1. Thank you sweetheart! Had it not been for your encouragement I don't think I would have been blogging again! :D

  2. Thanks for the info. This is very interesting. Generally its always water water and more water. I'm sure that is important too but sometimes even that doesn't work. Ghee facial sounds a bit icky but i can't see why it wouldn't work..it has pure and so buttery.
    For teenagers its also sometimes a play of hormones.

    1. Simran, I made that washed ghee cream today... It is so silky, cool & absorbent. I will get some for you to try :)

  3. I love this article! Everyone keeps telling me I should be filling up on water, to drown out the feeling of hunger from dieting, or to not have saggy skin once I've lost the weight, and now I know that water is not the end all of it all!
    I did not know that eating more of healthy fats could indeed help in preventing skin trouble while losing weight AND aid in reducing sugar cravings.. that one thing is my worst enemy!

    I have been in the habit of using coconut oil all over my face, steaming it with a hot towel for a while and wiping it off as a skin brightening regimen on days that I have some events! I also like to apply it on overnight during the winter times! Works like a charm all the time!

    1. Fathima you are right, water cannot substitute the need for food by the body. It is just a temporary fix.

      I love coconut oil too! But I do tend to use it more for my hair. I will try this tip of steaming! Thanks for sharing! :)

  4. yaaaay! Happy New year, Tanveer. I love your posts :)

    1. Coral! Thank you so much! Happy New Year to you too!

  5. wow...this is awesome!! thanks for sharing it, Tanveer :) would love to make the washed ghee but i would feel bad wasting perfectly tasty ghee in this way :Di love to eat it more than apply on my skin. and, yup, true. water is just not enough for dry skin.

  6. This is such an informative post dear


  7. Its been a while since I came to your blog and I am so glad to see you back!! Loving the articles.

  8. I can read fully.. when i click read more its not ajowing me the rest of the content.. how do i see it.. i want to read about washed ghee.. please please help me


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