The skin is our largest organ. It is over 70% water, which is why hydration is so important to its overall health. Insufficient levels of water in the skin can lead to a variety of issues. These can range from milder issues, like itchiness, redness and dullness, to more severe ones, like cracking, inflammation, and infection. Plus, fine lines, wrinkles and sagging aren’t just caused by aging — they also appear faster in skin that’s consistently dehydrated.
The Main Causes of Dehydration in the Summer
Scientific research conducted in 2012 found that UV exposure damages the intercellular strength, strain and cohesion of the stratum corneum (the uppermost layer of the skin). This leads to serious issues related to dehydration, including cracking and scarring. When ultraviolet rays reach your skin, they damage the epidermis. Your immune system reacts by increasing blood flow to the affected areas, which is why your skin becomes redder and hot to the touch. Peeling and flakiness occurs when white blood cells attack and remove damaged skin cells. But even if you don’t get a sunburn and just get a tan, this is still indication that your skin has been damaged. A tan is simply your body redistributing melanin (pigment) to protect itself from further UV exposure.
UV exposure compromises skin health, which is why fine lines, wrinkles and sagging develop faster in tanned skin. It’s important to note that even if you don’t purposely lie on the beach, roasting in the sun, the damaging effects of UV exposure can be still be caused by all those times you don’t protect yourself while outdoors. So, don’t forget to use sunscreen all the time!
You lose a lot of water when you sweat. Even though sweat can be hydrating while it’s on your skin, this effect is very temporary. As the sweat on your skin evaporates, it leaves a salty residue. Make sure to increase your fresh water intake during hotter days, or when you’re physically active. In fact, doing strenuous outdoor activities is the most common reason why people become dehydrated in the summer.
Are you still bathing in hot water? Consider switching to lukewarm, because hot water strips the skin of its natural protective oils (sebum). While this might be harder to do in the colder months, it’ll be refreshing in the summer!