There are so many myths about water in the beauty industry that one of the most common – drinking plenty of water – is as good as a moisturizer is a mere drop in the ocean. And how about eating water, an idea that Dr Murad made a bit of a splash with. Then there’s all those fancy cosmetic and “health” waters (heaxagonal water, anyone?) that sound a bit fishy. And then there’s the water in your tap – safe, fluorinated - but should we be raising a glass to it or making a run for the bottled stuff? I went in search for the truth about water.
Drinking water is anti-aging
Actually, there is hardly any scientific data to corroborate the claim that drinking plenty of water keeps wrinkles at bay. In 2007, the International Journal of Cosmetic Science admitted: "It is generally stated that drinking plenty of water has a positive impact on skin condition. However there is no published scientific study that has investigated this matter." A paper published in the same year harshly concluded: “Drinking water is excellent for general health. Drinking water expressly to enhance the skin is a myth." Read here for more on water.
The venerable Dr Murad claims that the recommended 8-10 glasses a day does nothing more than fill up your bladder and swell up your body. He’s written a whole book about this called The Water Secret and he contends that loading up on foods with high water content can boost both health and hydration, making you feel energized. Unlike pure water, the liquid in these foods is surrounded by molecules that help it get into cells quickly. So grab a slice of watermelon.
Water on tap
Having spent years living in London, I know all about “hard” water caused by high mineral content – calcium and magnesium in particular. Hard water will “fur” up the inside of your kettle and leave your skin dry and your hair brittle. Although it was a relief to come to New York, I still find the water here harsh and drying and, while I know it is my patriotic duty to quaff Chateau de Blasio, I mostly drink bottled water (a decision for which my gut remains grateful for).
I recently had a fascinating conversation with the dermatologist Dr Dennis Gross, about the effects of water that contains heavy metals on the skin (New York, LA and Connecticut are amongst the worst offenders). Heavy metals include iron, copper, magnesium, zinc and lead. They interact with free radicals, which then attack collagen fibers in the skin. Their harsh effects can also result in breakouts.
Dr Gross became so concerned about heavy metals in water that he went in search of chelators, organic compounds that do a Pacman number on the metals and engulf them. Chelators are used to treat diseases caused by an excess of heavy metals in the body; Dr Gross was the first to put them in a topical cream. I have just started testing one of his moisturizers with chelators. I very much err on the side of believing that there is something to this.
Hexagonal and other strange waters
This is where you can get into deep water, drowning in crackpot ideas that are dressed up with complex theories. Hexagonal water crops up in some cosmetic formulations and to understand it you need to know some H2o basics. Water molecules tend to associate, forming ever-changing 'polymeric' units that are sometimes described as clusters. Structured water is clustered into smaller or hexagonal shapes and as a result is supposed to be more readily absorbed by skin cells. Hexagons are also said to be more efficient at detoxifying. There isn’t any science to back this up. Eloptic water that captures energy from the force field that supposedly surrounds us and everything also seems pretty silly.
Reverse osmosis water
This one seems credible. You’ll find it is used by some formulations well-known to the Truth In Aging community, such as Your Best Face. Reverse osmosis is a water purification process that forces the water through a semi-permeable membrane. Since it is used to desalinate water, it seems that it would have a good chance of removing impurities and some of those heavy metals we discussed earlier.