Electrolyte Balance and Your Skin

We have heard that we need to replace our electrolytes after we work out in order to help our body recover and stay fully hydrated. Electrolytes are the collective name for the minerals:

  • sodium
  • potassium
  • chloride
  • calcium
  • magnesium
  • bicarbonate
  • phosphate
  • sulfate

Electrolytes, particularly sodium, help the body maintain normal fluid levels in these compartments (called fluid balance), because how much fluid a compartment contains depends on the concentration of electrolytes in it. If the electrolyte concentration is high, fluid moves into that compartment. If the electrolyte concentration is low, fluid moves out of that compartment. To adjust fluid levels, the body can actively move electrolytes in or out of cells. Thus, having electrolytes in the right concentrations (called electrolyte balance) is important in maintaining fluid balance among the compartments. – Merck Manuals
The kidneys help maintain electrolyte concentrations by filtering electrolytes from blood, returning some electrolytes, and excreting any excess into the urine. Thus, the kidney help maintain a balance between daily consumption and excretion.

When we sweat, we lose water and we also lose some of these minerals. Without the proper balance of electrolytes, our body will not be able to properly absorb and utilize the water we do have in our system. This balance is also vital for skin health. Skin needs proper hydration from the inside out in order for cells to function at their best. Water is like power for the electrical system of our skin cells – aiding in cell turnover as well as damage control and repair. Hydrated cells contain adequate amount of fluid and are plump allowing the skin to appear soft and smooth. Dehydration flattens the cells, and when combined with gravity, leads to skin sagging and premature aging.

Drinking tons of fresh, clean water throughout the day is a great idea to boost your health, metabolism and skin radiance. However, without replacing the important electrolytes, the extra water may actually deplete your body (and that doesn’t do your skin any favors!)

Here are some great ways to replace electrolytes without the added sugars, dyes and synthetics in sports drinks.

For after your workout, or if you are under the weather:

These are the quick fixes, and should be used in addition to the foods below in your daily diet.

Electrolyte infused water - like Smart Water, contains the perfect balance of electrolytes in distilled water to keep your body hydrated throughout and after your workout.

EmergenC – throw a pack into your bottled water for added minerals.

Coconut water – ideally, fresh coconut water straight from the nut. The prepackaged coco waters contain added sugars and are usually not organic, but they will do in a pinch (still better than Gatorade)

Bananas – very portable, high in potassium and easy to eat after a workout to avoid cramping

For throughout your day:

breakfast – start your day with powdered greens (mixed in water or into your morning smoothie), or mix Greek yogurt and berries

lunch - make a big salad with dark green lettuce, tomatoes, almonds, pumpkin seeds, beans

dinnersteam or saute veggies (kale, Swiss chard, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and spinach) and add them to a meal

snacks - snack on almonds and fruits like watermelon, strawberries and bananas

*This information is meant to help with skincare education and should not replace medical advice.

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