To reduce water retention consider this guide. Though it’s true that beauty comes from your spirit and soul, feeling good in your clothes and when you look in the mirror is also very important. Your body love affects your mood and self-image, but it’s not just about vanity — a body that looks and feels healthy reflects homeostasis and indicates you are glowing on the inside, too.

To promote well-being and feel and look their best, most people focus on diet and exercise. Yet, despite healthy green smoothies and HIIT workouts, sometimes at the end of the day you may notice that your face looks puffy, your feet feel a little squashed in your shoes and your jeans feel tighter than they did that morning. Some people think this is weight gain but it could also be water retention. 

How can you tell the difference? Weight gain tends to creep on over months. It does not fluctuate wildly from morning to night or day to day. Other signs of fluid issues relate to where you feel you’ve “filled out”.

Water retention, also known as “idiopathic oedema”, often affects the legs, feet, belly, breasts, face and hands (including fingers), so it can make your clothes and jewellery feel tight and uncomfortable and it can be hard to hide. In places like the thighs it may be evident in the inner thigh rather than the outer thigh, where weight is more often stored. And when you press it, your finger might leave a slight indentation before the skin springs back — this is caused by the fluid in the underlying tissues.

Some people experience this health niggle from time to time, while others grapple with it so often that they dress to disguise their fluid issues and it prevents them feeling comfortable when they go to the beach or make love.

Some people cut carbs to help their skin look smoother and have a fluid-free silhouette. When you eat carbs they are converted into glycogen, which is stored in organs such as the liver and also in your muscles, to be used for energy. Glycogen is a hydrated molecule, so it attracts about 3–4g of water per gram. This is why cutting carbs can make you can feel like you’ve lost weight within days, but that initial weight loss is simply fluid. That doesn’t mean that slashing your carbs is a healthy strategy for reducing water retention. Many people find they can’t sustain low-carb diets for long as they lose energy or feel down. And, once you eat carbs again, the fluid you have lost will come back.

Water retention is a neon sign that something in your body is out of balance. Many different triggers can cause it and sometimes those triggers are combined. To help prevent your body from holding on to excess fluid, follow these natural beauty fixes, which will boost your overall health and vitality as well.

Natural Tips for Prevention

Stay hydrated

Although we are primarily talking about losing excess fluid, you don’t want to become dehydrated. It’s important to remember that staying hydrated is essential for health and also looking your best. In fact, water is one of the cheapest, most natural beauty remedies on offer. Your bodyweight is made up of about 60 per cent fluid, so water is pivotal to important bodily functions like digestion, metabolism and muscle contraction.

Hot weather, perspiration, sitting in a heated room, even some medications can all cause dehydration. When you’re not well hydrated an imbalance can also occur in electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, which are used for important chemical reactions such as balancing your levels of fluid and blood. Dehydration can also cause your body to panic that it does not have enough fluid, so it then holds on to more fluid and you offload less fluid through natural means, such as passing urine.

Natural beauty tip: A long, tall glass of water is the best source of fluid because it’s free of kilojoules and easily absorbed. To replenish lost fluid, drink 1–2L (6–8 glasses) of water every day. Add a twist of lime, lemon, orange or mint for taste. The fluid will also plump up your skin, making it look healthier and suppler.

When your temperature goes up it can also make your complexion ruddier because your capillaries dilate and become more obviously red.

Minimize heat

When your temperature goes up, heat-induced swelling occurs because the body copes by dilating the blood vessels and this especially impacts the legs. This not only increases fluid but can also make your complexion ruddier because your capillaries dilate and become more obviously red.

Natural beauty tip: To reduce water retention avoid hot showers, spas, or saunas. For some people, cold showers are also not ideal because your body responds to the sudden drop by increasing your core temperature. Instead, have tepid baths or showers and take a break after a hot day with your feet up, in front of a cool fan.

Watch salt intake

Some people find they crave salt and believe they actually need it to feel well and healthy. Salt is indeed necessary for healthy muscle contraction, healthy heart function and maintaining the right volume of blood. However, some people are very sodium-sensitive and for them salt can increase water retention. When they eat food high in sodium, they change the balance of sodium and potassium in their bodies, which affects their kidneys’ ability to filter excess water from the bloodstream.

Natural beauty tip: Don’t add salt to food and steer clear of foods like cheese, tamari, processed meats, canned soups or vegetables, crackers and crisps, all of which are high in sodium.

Fight inner fire

Hormone changes that occur with age and stress, combined with being unfit and eating too much processed food, can contribute to an increase in fat cells, which send out inflammatory chemicals and also retain fluid and swell. These cells cause inflammation, now considered the major cause of ill-health and wrinkles.

Natural beauty tip: To reduce water retention minimize intake of inflammatory foods such as salt, sugar, and alcohol, as well as foods you are sensitive to, such as gluten or dairy.

Over time [diuretics] can cause a rebound effect, where the body actually starts to store more fluid rather than less.

Address anxiety

When you’re stressed and your fight-or-flight response kicks in constantly, your body pumps out a hormone called aldosterone, which increases sodium levels in the kidneys and sends a signal to hold on to fluid. You may then notice swelling in your face, hands, legs, feet, belly, and breasts.

Natural beauty tip: De-stress. Every day. Take time out to meditate, engage in yoga nidra or just sit still and listen to soothing music. If you find yourself in the middle of a stressful situation, take a moment, drop your shoulders and slow your breathing to calm down.

Natural Ways To Reduce Water Retention

Fed up with cheeks or chin looking puffy or clothes getting tighter at the end of the day, some people turn to diuretic drugs, which initially encourage your body to release fluid. Yet studies show that over time they can cause a rebound effect, where the body actually starts to store more fluid rather than less.

Research also shows diuretics may leach important nutrients, such as calcium from your bones, putting them at risk of becoming more brittle. They can also make you very dehydrated, which can trigger headaches and fatigue.

The following natural remedies are far gentler on your body and can also help reduce water retention.

Horseradish: Contains high levels of glycosides. One in particular, called sinigrin, can help to alleviate water retention. Horseradish also helps stimulate better circulation, which in turn also reduces water retention.

Dandelion leaf: Historically, dandelion has been used in Europe and Asia as a health tonic and diuretic. Its fluid-reducing action has been confirmed by research involving the University of North Carolina, which showed a significant increase in the frequency of urination within five hours of dandelion doses.

Rosemary: A relative of the mint family, rosemary has a slightly bitter, astringent taste and has long been used to alleviate liver problems. It’s a natural diuretic, which means it can help reduce water retention and elevated blood pressure, shows Spanish research.

Vitamin B6: This may help relieve water retention and other symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, including breast tenderness, mood changes, irritability and fatigue.

Parsley: This herb’s unique health benefits come from flavonoids and volatile oils that help stimulate your body’s use of glutathione, the “mother of antioxidants”, which is present in almost every cell. Glutathione helps protect your cells against oxidative stress and boosts the liver’s detoxification process that ensures toxins, which can exacerbate water retention, are made water soluble so they can be filtered from your body.

Grapeseed extract: Studies show this can help in the management of water retention associated with venous insufficiency, premenstrual syndrome and the use of hormonal replacement therapy (HRT). It also helps relieve water retention, heaviness, pain and itching of the legs.

Ginkgo biloba: This is traditionally used to improve peripheral circulation (to the legs and other extremities), so it can be beneficial for people who experience water retention in their thighs, calves and feet.

Coriander: Studies show this annual herb has stress-busting benefits, possibly due to its high levels of linalool, a terpene alcohol that has been shown in research to help soothe and settle the central nervous system. This, in turn, helps promote hormonal balance that can benefit water retention.

Combat circulation issues To Naturally Reduce Water Retention

Good circulation is a key foundation of natural beauty and good health. Water retention is often related to the following circulation issues.


Stress, lack of exercise, hormonal fluctuations and genetics can all lead to sluggish circulation in certain areas of your body.

Self-help: Gently massage the areas where fluid builds up using circular and kneading movements. This will help boost blood flow, improve drainage of the lymph nodes and help make fat or fluid more mobile, reducing water retention and inflammation of soft tissue.

Dry skin brushing is another technique favored in European countries. Using a natural bristle brush and small, gentle, circular motions, brush from the souls of your feet then move up your calves and thighs, then all over your body, always brushing towards your heart. Make sure you try these approaches gently so you don’t push or brush too hard and cause sensitivity or red, broken capillaries.

Leaky valves

Age, weight gain and genetics can predispose you to faulty blood vessel valves, a condition known as venous insufficiency. Swelling then occurs because these valves don’t close properly and blood (and fluid) pools in lower limbs. This can then lead to your legs looking dimpled with fluid and you may feel you want to hide them under clothing, even in the summer months.

Self-help: Engage in yoga — the postures can help redistribute the fluid and blood and get it flowing back away from the lower half of your body. If your legs are quite swollen, lie down using pillows to keep your legs elevated above your heart.

Sitting and standing

The force of gravity and impact of carrying your bodyweight on your legs can cause areas like thighs, calves, ankles and feet to become swollen due to standing all day. On the flip side, sitting at a desk for many hours can prevent good circulation, which can also cause water retention.

Self-help: Sitting all day? Get up every 20 minutes to stretch and move. Back on the chair? Stretch legs out in front of you from time to time and make circular movements to reduce fluid buildup and boost blood flow. It also helps to keep your legs a little raised on a footstool and avoid crossing them, as this can worsen fluid buildup.

Standing all day? During breaks, lie down on the floor and climb your feet up the wall until they are straight. Stay in the position for 5–10 minutes to encourage fluid to drain away from your legs and feet. At the end of the day, engage in yoga postures that help fluid flow back away from the lower limbs.