As we have mentioned already, dehydration is bad for the skin and the body in general. For instance, a 2-3% drop in hydration is said to decrease cognitive function and balance and increase fatigue. Studies confirm that this equates to a 12-25% drop in physical productivity in the individual .
It's not surprising really as water in the body keeps everything flowing smoothly, much like oil does in a car engine. The scary thing is that most people are dehydrated at some point in the day. I'll admit it myself. I could/should be drinking more water each day but it seems like a bit of a chore and unnatural to be carrying a bottle of water around with me everywhere. I think it's a habit that I need to get into.
With this in mind, what are the signs of dehydration in the skin?
- Dull, flaky or tight skin
No surprise here...a dehydrated body won't get enough water to the extremities – notably the skin. This will cause the skin to lose it's natural moisturizing properties. Tight skin is the first sign that your skin is too dry, then comes the dull look and finally skin will peel or flake.
Skin isn't as “springy” as it should be. Try pinching some skin on your body. It should immediately spring back to how it was before.
Much like poor elasticity, line and wrinkles are a few stages on from dry skin. Dry skin is more susceptible to further damage from uv rays for instance thus leading to lines and wrinkles.
This can be caused by dehydration in some cases as water is trapped in the wrong parts of the body. Puffy eyes for instance could be down to the fact that water earmarked for the rest of the face is trapped in the skin under the eyes.
More General Dehydration Symptoms
Outside of skin symptoms of dehydration, more general signs include :
Increased thirst – D'oh, well that's kind of obvious isn't it but many people will ignore being mildly thirsty because it isn't painful or even that discomforting.
Dry mouth - similar to being thirsty, if the roof of your mouth or your lips are dry then you could be dehydrated.
Dark urine – the dark color of the urine suggests that the waste products that your body is releasing are more concentrated than normal meaning there is less water in the body.
- While we are there, constipation is another symptom of dehydration for exactly the same reasons. Not enough water in the body to ensure natural wastes “flow” out of the body naturally.
So, What can you do about dehydration ?
Drink more liquids during the day
. Kind of obvious but most people don't do it or don't get enough. Most guidelines suggest 6-8 glasses (around 2 liters) of liquid a day. This could be water or some other fluid, provided it isn't a diuretic like tea or coffee that makes you want to urinate and thus remove moisture from the body.
Other ways to get more liquid into your diet is to eat meals that have more liquid in them
– soups, stews and so on. And soup isn't just a winter food either. Gazpacho is a wonderful cold soup that is perfect for the summer months. It's also really good for the skin as it's chocked full of tomatoes.
Keep your body topped up with water.
So get into the habit of keeping the body topped up with water. It virtually impossible to drink too much water. Skin that is getting enough water and isn't dehydrated will be plump, toned and elastic. It will glow and be moist which helps to protect it from everyday factors that may harm it.