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The health of your hair, skin, and nails depends on many factors, including staying hydrated. The general rule of thumb is to drink eight cups of water per day, though you may need more than this, depending on your body weight and activity level. If you feel thirsty, you’re already experiencing the first sign of dehydration. Along with this symptom, you’re likely to notice problems with your hair, skin, and nails if you don’t drink enough water.

How Dehydration Impacts Your Hair

Hair needs moisture and vitamins to stay healthy. If you’re dehydrated, your body will direct much-needed moisture to more critical functions, leaving your hair to fend for itself. Growth may slow or stop, and the hair shafts may become brittle and develop split ends.

Water comprises one-quarter of a healthy strand of hair, so with improper hydration, your hair loses both strength and volume. Severe dehydration may even accelerate hair loss. If you notice your hair beginning to thin or fall out in larger quantities than usual, increasing your daily water and vitamin intake should help. It’s also beneficial to use a moisturizing conditioner and avoid blow drying your hair until its moisture content improves.

How Dehydration Impacts Your Skin

Dehydrated skin and dry skin isn’t necessarily the same thing. Your skin can become dry and cracked due to low humidity and lack of moisturizer, even if you drink enough water. However, dehydrated skin lacks moisture from the inside. It may appear not only dry and itchy but also dull, uneven, and wrinkled.

You can even detect dehydration through your skin. Lightly pinch a small area of your cheek or neck. If the skin wrinkles beneath your fingers or doesn’t bounce back immediately when you let go, you are dehydrated. This is the result of insufficient moisture in the outermost layer of your skin, called the epidermis. Drink more water to restore plumper, more youthful-looking skin gradually.

How Dehydration Impacts Your Nails

While psoriasis and fungal infections can impact nail health, dehydration is the reason behind many cases of brittle, splitting, and fragile nails. In a healthy, hydrated person, 18 percent of the nail plate is comprised of water. When this moisture level drops, the nails become brittle.

Environmental factors play a role as well. For instance, repeatedly wetting and drying your hands can cause the nail structure to weaken and dry out. Low humidity and dry heat during the winter only make matters worse. In addition to drinking more water, the key to properly hydrated nails is to use moisturizer liberally and wear cotton-lined gloves during cold snaps.

Arlington Dermatology is here to help you address problems with your hair, skin, and nails, whether they stem from dehydration or other underlying causes. We have served the Arlington Heights, IL area for over 15 years, with a dedication to scientifically-backed solutions and customer satisfaction. For help finding the treatment that’s right for you, please call us at 847-392-5440 or schedule an appointment online.