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Does Drinking Water Help Get Rid of Acne?

Kristin Hall

Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP

Written by Our Editorial Team

Last updated 11/27/2020

Dealing with acne is never a fun experience. Although acne can vary hugely in severity, all acne breakouts have one thing in common: they’re something we’d definitely rather do without. 

If you’ve searched for information about getting rid of acne naturally, you may have come across news articles and blog posts recommending that you drink more water in order to lower your risk of developing pimples.

While water has numerous benefits for your skin (a topic we’ve covered in greater detail below), the link between drinking water and preventing acne isn’t as certain as many people make it out to be, with reputable scientific research on the topic limited and hard to come by. 

Despite this, drinking a healthy amount of water is something that you should do for skin health, as well as for a number of other reasons.

Below, we’ve looked at the potential link between water consumption and acne to see if drinking water actually does help to prevent acne. We’ve also looked at the benefits of drinking water for your general health and wellbeing. 

Finally, we’ve looked at how much water you should drink per day to maintain optimal skin and a healthy body.  

Water Consumption and Acne: The Science

Although drinking more water is often recommended as a do-all tip for healthy skin, there isn’t a lot of research on any potential link between drinking water and preventing acne.

In fact, of the few studies that look at how water consumption affects the skin, most focus on the effects of drinking water on skin thickness rather than the effects of water consumption on acne breakouts. 

Interestingly enough, a review of studies concerning water and skin health found that there was no scientific proof to suggest that drinking water is good or bad for the skin. 

On the other hand, a small study involving 49 women published in 2015 found that higher water intake may have a positive impact on skin physiology.

In short, there simply isn’t a lot of thorough, trustworthy scientific research on this topic, with the few studies that are available often producing different results.

This means that, put simply, we don’t know if water is effective at preventing acne or not. While it might work, there just isn’t any authoritative scientific data that lets us recommend it with total confidence. 

Health Benefits of Drinking Water

While there isn’t much research on water’s potential benefits as an acne treatment, there is a significant amount of research on water’s other health benefits. Drinking a healthy amount of water is essential for:

  • Transporting nutrients and oxygen throughout the body. Water plays a major role in transporting nutrients throughout your body. It’s one of several major components of the liquid part of your blood (called plasma), which carries oxygen to tissue and organs.

  • Lubricating and protecting your joints. Water is essential for keeping your joints well lubricated, allowing them to function properly without injury. In fact, approximately 70 percent to 80 percent of your joint cartilage is estimated to be made up of water.

  • Regulating your body temperature. Water plays a key role in regulating your internal body temperature, helping your body to protect itself against temperature changes and cool itself by sweating.

  • Preventing headaches. Headaches are a common symptom of dehydration, which is often caused by failing to drink enough water. Although water won’t necessarily cure a headache, staying hydrated can help to prevent certain types of headaches.

  • Helping your body get rid of waste. Water is essential for healthy urination and bowel movements. For example, your kidneys use the extra water that circulates in your blood to filter waste products from your body.
    When you don’t drink enough water, your body becomes dehydrated -- a common cause of constipation. 

Since water doesn’t contain any calories, replacing other drinks with water can be a good way to maintain a healthy body weight. For example, drinking plain water instead of a single can of cola means you’ll avoid approximately 140 calories worth of simple sugars.

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How Much Water Should You Drink?

Public health institutes in the United States, such as the CDC, don’t provide recommendations for how much water adults or children should drink per day.

Water consumption requirements can vary widely from one person to another based on factors such as your size, activity level and the type of in which you live. 

For example, a 200lb, highly active person in a hot, humid environment may have greater water consumption needs than a 110lb, sedentary person in a cool environment.

According to the CDC, American adults drink an average of around 39 ounces of plain water a day. Young people, on the other hand, drink about 15 ounces per day.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) recommends the following daily fluid intakes for adult men and women: 

  • For women, 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids per day

  • For men, 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids per day

These recommendations are for general fluid intake, rather than water specifically. Most people consume a significant amount of water through food and other beverages, meaning you usually won’t need to specifically focus on water you drink on its own. 

If you’d like an easy mnemonic to follow, just try to remember the classic “eight glasses of eight ounces” advice. For most people, this is a good daily water intake that’s easy to remember and equally easy to follow.

When Should You Drink More Water?

In certain situations and environments, you may need to drink more water than normal in order to stay healthy. Consider drinking more fluids if you:

  • Are pregnant. If you’re pregnant, it’s important to consume more fluids. The American Pregnancy Association recommends drinking at least eight to 12 glasses of water per day while you’re pregnant to avoid becoming dehydrated.

  • Are highly active. Any type of exercise that makes you sweat, such as working out or playing sports, can cause you to lose fluid. Try to drink plenty of water if you’re a highly active person that likes to exercise, especially if you do demanding workouts.

  • Are feeling sick. Certain illnesses, particularly those that cause vomiting, diarrhea or fever, can cause you to lose fluids.

  • Live in a hot, humid environment. Hot and humid weather can cause you to sweat more than you normally would, potentially resulting in dehydration.

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In Conclusion

Although drinking more water is often recommended as a natural way to get rid of acne, there’s not much evidence that it has any effect. In fact, there’s not relatively little scientific research on the effects of water consumption on skin health in general.

Despite this, water has countless health benefits that make it important for you to stay hydrated whether you’re prone to acne or not. Aim for a minimum of eight, eight-ounce glasses per day to keep yourself hydrated and healthy.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.