How is skin affected by the dehydration of the body

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Adequate water consumption is essential for good health, since water is involved in many functions of the body, from the regulation of internal temperature and digestion to brain and kidney function. What happens to the skin if we do not drink enough water?

The body consists of about 60% of water and the replenishment of quantities lost with bodily functions and sweating is vital for our survival. Dehydration causes organic problems that in extreme cases can threaten life. But the skin is the largest organ of the body, so it is also affected by the lack of water. 

As we grow the skin gradually loses its natural elasticity, which makes it difficult for water to enter the cells. So, it can dehydrate faster than when we were younger. And this explains the dryness, “pulling” and peeling that develop on the skin when it is dehydrated.

In addition, when fluid intake is deficient and body dehydration begins, existing water supplies are promoted to the vital organs, such as the liver, brain and lungs, and at the same time removed from less vital tissues.

Less vital tissues include connective tissues such as collagen, which is the main protein of the skin, and is one of the first to stop taking water in case of reduced body stores.

However, when collagen is not adequately hydrated, its fibers begin to break and stick together, resulting in fine wrinkles on the surface of the skin.

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The effects of body dehydration on the skin are particularly evident in people who naturally have dry and sensitive skin. They are also more likely to suffer from inflammatory skin diseases, such as eczema and psoriasis, because in this case the transdermal water loss increases. Indeed, for those suffering from severe forms of inflammatory dermatoses, even a slight dehydration of the organism is a serious issue. That’s why they have to watch how much fluids they consume.

How much water do we have to drink to avoid dehydration of the body and thus skin? Every person’s needs are different, depending on the level of activity, age and many other factors. Those who do heavy manual work, work in open-air or very hot places and/or sweat much, need more water than sedentary people. Respectively, in the summer we need much more fluids than in the winter – at least a liter more a day.

Although typical advice is we have to drink eight glasses of water a day, the average adult is probably more or less four to six glasses, because we also get water from many other sources. These sources include all beverages (sugar-free and alcohol-free with diuretic properties), but also many high-water foods such as fruits, vegetables, soups or even pasta. Especially caffeinated beverages should be consumed in moderation since caffeine in large quantities has diuretic properties, therefore it stimulates the elimination of fluids from the body and makes dehydration more likely.

However, the above amounts relate to healthy people. If someone is suffering from a chronic illness (e.g thyroid disease, kidney disease, heart disease), he should ask his doctor about the amounts of fluids he needs to consume.

The color of your urine provides a good indication of if you drink enough fluids. Ideally it should be pale to transparent. The darker the yellow, the greater the lack of water. If you get to a dehydration point, your urine will be a little too dark (to brown), you will feel weak, you will probably have hypotension and you will be stunned.

However, drinking plenty of fluids can be important, but it’s not all you have to do to avoid dehydration of your skin.

Skin hydration is significantly influenced by our way of life, but not entirely. If we had to figure it out in numbers, I would say that at least 20-30% of skin moisturization depends on the systematic application of local moisturizing products and the rest from what we consume through nutrition.

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