Recent research suggests that diet may play a central role in skin health, especially when it comes to acne.

In fact, studies show that certain nutrients, food groups, and dietary patterns may contribute to the development of acne (1).

Nevertheless, whether drinking water impacts skin health has been a subject of controversy.

This article takes a close look at how drinking water may affect acne.

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Drinking water is primarily thought to prevent acne by promoting proper skin hydration.

Dry skin can trigger excess oil production, which could contribute to acne (2).

Several studies have found that upping your intake of water may help keep your skin soft and smooth when used alongside a moisturizer and other skin care products.

For instance, one 30-day study in 49 women observed that drinking an additional 68 ounces (2 liters) of water daily significantly improved skin hydration (3).

Another review of six studies concluded that increasing fluid intake enhanced the hydration of the outer layer of the skin while reducing skin dryness and roughness (4).

Summary

Drinking water can help promote skin hydration, which could help prevent acne.

Studies in humans and animals show that staying well hydrated can affect immune function (5, 6).

Supporting a healthy immune system can help protect your body against infections, which could help prevent acne.

In particular, Cutibacterium acnes (C. acnes) is a strain of bacteria that is thought to be involved in the development of acne (7).

Studies show that it may also play a central role in the health of your skin microbiome, which refers to the microorganisms that reside on the skin and are involved in regulating skin health (8, 9).

More research is needed to confirm whether drinking more water can protect against C. acnes specifically, but evidence suggests that it could support your body’s ability to fight infections to support skin health.

Summary

Drinking more water may help improve immune function, which could help protect against certain strains of bacteria that contribute to acne.

Studies show that eating foods with a low glycemic index — a measure of to what extent certain foods increase blood sugar levels — could reduce acne severity and regulate hormone levels (10, 11).

Following a low-glycemic diet may also reduce levels of insulin, which is a key hormone in blood sugar control. High levels of insulin can increase oil production, which could contribute to acne (12).

According to one small study, restricting water intake for 3 days led to impaired blood sugar control in nine men with type 2 diabetes (13).

Another 9-year study in 3,615 people found that drinking more water was associated with a lower risk of developing high blood sugar levels (14).

What’s more, other research suggests that dehydration can affect your body’s ability to use insulin efficiently, which could lead to increased insulin levels and excess oil production (15).

Still, more research is needed to determine whether drinking water can affect blood sugar and insulin levels directly and whether those effects, in turn, could impact skin health.

Summary

Drinking more water could help regulate blood sugar and insulin levels, which may help prevent acne.

Despite the proliferation of fad detox diets and supplements, your body has a highly efficient, built-in detoxification system.

In fact, your liver, kidneys, lungs, digestive tract, and skin are all involved in the excretion of waste and toxins from your body.

Water is also essential to proper detoxification, as it helps carry nutrients through your body, flush out toxins, and keep your liver and kidneys working efficiently (16).

Additionally, water is excreted from the skin as sweat, which can help remove toxins and heavy metals from your body naturally (17).

Though research is limited, this could prevent your pores from becoming clogged, which may help ward off breakouts.

Summary

Water can help promote proper natural detoxification, which could help prevent your pores from becoming clogged.

Staying well hydrated is important to many aspects of health.

Though research on the relationship between water intake and acne is limited, studies show that this fluid may help support skin health via several mechanisms.

In particular, it may help keep your skin hydrated, support immune function, regulate blood sugar levels, and promote natural detoxification — all of which can help fight acne.

If staying properly hydrated with water doesn’t improve your acne, be sure to discuss other treatment options with your healthcare provider.