ZocdocAnswersDoes being dehydrated make your skin dry?

Question

Does being dehydrated make your skin dry?

My skin has been really dry all over for about a month. Is this because I'm dehydrated? If I drink more water will my skin not be as dry?

Answer

It is probably something of a myth that not drinking enough water is a major contributor to dry skin. Although it is true that if a person is very dehydrated it will affect their skin (and every other part of their body as well!), in reality it is unlikely that a person would become this dehydrated unless they were very ill. In other words, it is important to look elsewhere for causes of dry skin. One very common cause is taking frequent hot showers and using strong skin care products, as these tend to strip away the skin's natural protective oils. Taking less frequent and shorter showers, and immediately applying a high quality skin moisturizer afterwards, can help a lot. Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is another major cause of dry skin. Atopic dermatitis usually responds to good skin moisturizing, just like regular dry skin, but steroid creams are also often needed, especially if there are particular areas that are scaly, flaky, or itchy. Occasionally, there is another medical problem that is provoking the dry skin. For example, hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid gland, is a very common cause of dry skin. See your primary care doctor to help you figure out what is going on!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.