How To Tell If You’re Dehydrated

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How To Tell If You’re Dehydrated and What Dehydration does to Your Skin.

Water. It’s the essence of life that none of us can live without. Whether you prefer filtered, bottled water or simply tap, you need to consume water to keep your organs functioning at their best; as well as helping your skin maintain its healthiest glow.  Water can also help us to fight fatigue, and leave us feeling more refreshed.  Making up about 2/3 of our entire body weight, getting enough water on a daily basis is a vital resource for our overall well being AND our skin.

It’s long since been advised to drink 8-10 glasses a day. Most of us fall way short of that figure, however, and many of us think that caffeinated beverages – such as colas or coffee – count.  But they DON’T count towards water intake as the fluids in most products contain ingredients that can potentially thwart hydration levels, such as caffeine or too much sugar.  And researchers have long been asking: is 8 to 10 glasses of water really enough to best sustain the human body?

If you’re especially active or overly busy, or are simply NOT a fan of drinking water – you need to ensure you are keep yourself properly hydrated. Here’s why.

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Dehydration can essentially cause your body to slow down or even break down. It is one of the most unhealthy things you can do to yourself (the other is not getting enough sleep).

Read on to see if YOU pass our test in relation to the 10 most common signs that you’re actually dehydrated – and what it can do to your skin.

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Headaches Got You Down?

If you routinely suffer from headaches, this is potentially the #1 sign that you could be suffering from frequent dehydration.  Did you know that your brain is approximately 77% water? When you become overly dehydrated, the tissues in your brain actually lose water and your brain can even shrink back a bit, pulling away from your skull.  This can trigger pain receptors around your brain, with the intention to alert your body that you have a headache. Here’s where most of us go wrong in terms of dehydration: you take medication for a headache instead of drinking enough water to hydrate your body (not TOO much and not TOO quickly, as it’s usually best to drink water throughout the day).

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Dehydration Can Leave you Feeling Fatigued or Groggy

What can be worse is that dehydration can also cause your blood volume to decrease. This ends up lowering your flow of oxygen AND blood to your brain, and can leave you feeling groggy as well as miserable with a nagging, pulsing headache.

Dry Mouth is a Common Sign of Dehydration

If you’re dealing with ongoing dehydration, you might not even notice the typical symptoms – you can start to think they’re normal, but they’re NOT. They are a sign of dehydration.  One of these is a lack of usual saliva in your mouth, which is a fairly common side effect of not getting enough fluid into your body throughout the day.  All of us need saliva to help us with a number of functions, including tasting and breaking down food. But when you get dehydrated, a lack of adequate fluid throughout your body ends up leaving you with a significant decrease in the amount of saliva that your body actually produces.  So if you feel that your mouth is dry, or you have temporary difficulty swallowing, check your hydration levels and be sure you’re drinking enough water.  Of course, if you have persistent or unusual symptoms (such as a constant difficult time swallowing), do be sure to see your doctor for a check up.

Excess Thirst may be Dehydration or Something Else

One of the telltale signs of dehydration is an unquenchable thirst, or even a craving for a specific type of drink (such as cola, coffee or even orange juice) that may not actually leave you feeling less thirsty.  For example, after a long night of consuming a lot of alcohol such as at the races or at a party, you may find yourself stumbling out of your bed feeling quite parched.  You may also feel that, somehow, you can’t seem to satisfy your thirst.  That’s because alcohol and other drinks can work against your body’s normal hydration levels. They end up dehydrating your body and they also put additional stress on your liver, kidneys and other organs. Mild to moderate levels of dehydration can readily result from a night of consuming grog, so be sure you drink water the entire time (one to two glasses of water between every glass of alcohol) so that you will end up less dehydrated the next day.

Are Sports Drinks Worth It?

Most professionals will tell you that drinking popular sports drinks won’t keep you hydrated and you’ll still want plain water for best hydration

Sports drink marketing is big business. Beverage production firms will claim their products help “replenish your electrolytes” during cycling, marathons or other outdoor activities in the Australian sun. But here are important considerations about sports drinks you might want to keep in mind. (1) The ingredients in your favorite sports drink will not necessarily hydrate you; (2) some ingredients may even be detrimental for your body, potentially high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), artificial sweeteners, colouring and other ingredients that may or may not be perfectly safe to consume. And if you’re drinking these instead of water, you’re usually consuming more sodium and sugar than you may realise.  Did you know that Gatorade’s Thirst Quencher (946mL bottle) contains 56 grams of sugar?

If you want to know more about what’s in YOUR Sports Drink, download AIS Sports Supplement Framework.

Your Dentist Might Not Approve You Drinking Sports Drinks

Some of these ‘sports’ drinks can also carry up to two-thirds of the sugar content of colas. They may be 30 times more erosive to your teeth enamel than plain water.  Although the jury is out, high-fructose corn syrup consumption is suspected of causing some unwanted health conditions (obesity and potential hormonal disruptions including of HGH or human growth hormone).

To be on the safe side and stay hydrated, you’re usually better off drinking plain water (or water with a twist of real lemon or lime) – it’s typically what your body is actually craving when you’re feeling thirsty.

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Are Diet Colas or Fruit Juices worth it?  The jury is out. Research highlighted that surveyed consumers of diet colas have been found to have a 70% increase in their waist size compared to non-diet cola drinkers over a 10-year period; but this increased waist size could relate to overall food consumption not just diet cola consumption.  Even commercially produced fruit juices tend to be loaded with sugar. Commercial fruit juices are also often pasteurized, with oxygen removed as a preservation strategy; so they may look good and taste okay, but often commercial juices are less nutrient-dense than you might think (try eating fruit or juicing your own at home).

Too Much Caffeine…Too Little Water…and what about your skin?

Excess caffeine consumption often quickly leads to a state of physical dehydration, which isn’t great for your skin. It can leave your skin looking dull or lifeless and increase dryness if you suffer from flaky, dry skin.  For the caffeine addicts among us, we suggest trying to sip water throughout the day – instead of chugging down coffee all day long.  Or as with alcohol above, be sure you drink a full glass of water between every cup of coffee.

Plain, non-fizzy water is actually one of the best things you can possibly put inside your body, so try switching to water before and after that first macchiato, cappuccino or latte in the morning.

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Irritability and Mood Swings Might Relate to Fluid Imbalances

Some people say that they feel irritable when they haven’t “had enough” caffeine, but it might actually be that they are low on fluids, overall, especially water.  Water can work to help hydrate your entire body and skin. Drinking enough water daily can give your skin a glow – and possibly even boost your energy in ways you never thought were possible.

We suggest you carry an environmentally friendly, refillable water bottle around with you – all day long, and aim to steadily sip water to get your intake up to par.  In just a few days time, you are likely to notice a positive shift in those mood swings thanks to being better hydrated (which can help with your body fluid balances).  When you’re properly hydrated, you’ll often feel an improved sense of well-being overall. And friends and coworkers, accustomed to dodging your bad moods, might also notice a difference (but DO check with your Doctor if you suffer unusual mood swings or any form of depression or chronic malaise).

Infrequent Urination versus Good Hydration

If you’re dehydrated your body will naturally produce less urine, and the urine that you are excreting is typically dark and orange-ish in color (i.e. not good).  But if you have excess urination or Polyuria (frequent urination; > 2 litres a day) you could potentially have a medical condition such as diabetes.

Anyone who consumes lots of water will tell that frequent urination is a common outcome of having healthy hydration. Obviously, our urine has a yellow tinge but isn’t meant to be overly yellow to orange (which can be a sign not just of dehydration but of kidney disease). So if we are fueling our bodies with the amount of water that we need, the yellow colour of the urine should become a bit of a clearer shade with of yellow, or just have a subtle yellowish tint.  It will also tend to have a less-strong odour when you stay well-hydrated.   Tip: If you find that your urine production changes or increases suddenly (such as Polyuria), or if you are at any risk of developing diabetes, DO get a medical check up – especially if you’re overweight or otherwise at risk of developing Type II Diabetes – and tell your Doctor about your concerns.

Constipation is Worse when you’re Dehydrated; Constipation is bad for your body AND your skin

Just as our bodies need enough water to help with urine flow, our body also needs adequate water intake to keep our stools moving as they should. For those that aren’t passing at least one bowel movement per day, try drinking the recommended 8-10 glass—or slightly more, if you can.

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With proper hydration, along with being generally healthy, you should see a boost in toilet breaks once you start getting your body the hydration it requires for proper elimination.

You’ll also be likely to notice that increasing the healthy elimination of body waste means your skin looks healthier and clearer.

Dehydration and Dizziness: Feeling Light-headed?

As with headaches, dizziness can sometimes occur when you feel a sudden onset of dehydration or become overly dehydrated.

This can occur if you’ve been sweating a lot, vomiting or have had diarrhea, or simply allowed your body to become dehydrated over several days.  You may notice that when you bend over and stand back up, a bit too quickly, you might feel a sudden rush of blood flow to your brain; which can also be a sign of low blood pressure (another common side effect of dehydration).  Increase your water intake to a healthy level BUT do get checked by your GP or other medical professional if you are feeling dizzy or light headed – and whatever you do, don’t drive if you’re feeling dizzy or light-headed.


All organs require adequate water to function, and the skin – your largest organ – is no exception. Drinking lots of water works to help keep your skin it’s healthiest best, but good nutrition is also crucial.

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Water is crucial to keep your skin functioning it’s best – especially if you suffer acne, oily skin, dry skin or other conditions.

When are bodies are depleted of this vital resource, our skin can wear the signs of our dehydration, for all to see. For those of us that experience frequent breakouts or acne, start drinking enough water today. As your body begins to get the H2O that it needs for proper hydration and elimination, some of your blemishes will go bye-bye quicker than most treatments can fix. But if you DO have acne or frequent breakouts, get a skin care evaluation from one of our Dermal Clinicians. They have top treatments and medical-grade products that can greatly reduce your breakouts and even remedy acne for many patients.

Fatigue and Dehydration: Are they linked?

If you’re getting the recommended amount of quality sleep for an adult, which is approximately 7 to 8 hours at night of uninterrupted sleep (with no sleep apnea), this should be enough to keep your body charged until it’s time to hit the sack again each night. But when you’re dehydrated, you’re body is essentially being forced to work overtime to make up for the lack of water in your system. The result? You may feel as if you’ve just ran a marathon even though you’ve only walked up one flight of stairs. The solution? Water – healthy, non-carbonated water, and consumed throughout the day (you can stop around 6 pm or 7 pm if you want to reduce your middle-of-night trips to the facilities).

Is your body – and your skin – sufficiently dehydrated?

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If you noticed that you suffer from any of these symptoms of dehydration – AND you know you’re “not a good water drinker” and have ruled out other health conditions –  we suggest you look into different ways of incorporating water drinking into your daily regime to give your body — your health – and your skin — the boost it needs to look and feel it’s healthiest best.

The good thing about dehydration is that, whilst the condition is common – it has an easy-made solution.  It starts with steadily sipping on clean H20, with or without a wedge of real lemon or line. It’s also an affordable and readily available resource for most of us living in Australia – so there’s really no excuse for depriving your body of adequate water intake.

You’ll feel and look your best when you drink enough water throughout the day!

If you want to get your skin back into peak condition, or reduce acne, dryness, wrinkles, redness or facial ageing – including correcting sun damage and pigmentation issues or skin cancer – give our Dermal Clinicians or Plastic Surgeons a call today on (03) 8849 1444.

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