What does it mean to have a dehydrated skin? Is it the same with a dry skin? What causes it? Get the meaning, causes, symptoms, treatments, prevention and more in this post.
Always, a dry skin syndrome is the most common thing the clients criticize about but wait a minute, the first important step is to differentiate between a dry and a dehydrated skin. This will also help to determine the potential cause.
Usually, many people confuse between skin oil production and hydration. According to Dr. Michael Lin, board-certified dermatologist who runs drlinskincare.com, “Dry skin is the type of skin people have at baseline. It’s kind of the way your skin generally behaves. Dehydrated skin is more of a skin condition. It means somehow the skin has been altered and affected and has lost its ability to retain moisture.”
So, I want us to be very clear, dehydration is more of skin condition than type while skin dryness is a type and any type can be dehydrated. Webmd.com concludes that, “Dehydration is a condition that occurs when the loss of body fluids, mostly water, exceeds the amount that is taken in. With dehydration, more water is moving out of our cells and bodies than what we take in through drinking.”
Our skin loses water every day in form of water vapor in breath we exhale or sweat, urine and stool. Generally, any condition that has potential to cause rapid and continued fluid loss can lead to skin dehydration. Sometimes dehydration can just be due to simple things such as lack of drinking enough water may be when you are travelling, camping, sick, busy, hiking or when you don’t have the access to enough safe water for drinking. It can also be due to severe causes such as some diseases like Diabetes. Read about to explore the common causes of skin dehydration below:
Increased urination can causes dehydrated skin and it can be due to many factors. They include certain medication such as diuretics and blood pressure medications. Increased urination can also be due to veiled or undiagnosed diabetes or other diseases.
It is true that your skin can get dehydrated when you sweat a lot. This may be due to vigorous activities or exposure to raised temperatures, sun or too much exercise. It can also be due to air-conditioning and central heating. Therefore you must be able to drink enough water during such extreme exercises. Hot and humid weather can also increase sweating and hence the amount of fluids you lose.
Diarrhea and Vomiting
On can really lose huge amounts of water and mineral as well as electrolytes. According to mayoclinic.org “Severe, acute diarrhea — that is, diarrhea that comes on suddenly and violently — can cause a tremendous loss of water and electrolytes in a short amount of time.” So if you are vomiting and at the same time have diarrhea, you should drink enough amount of water and seek immediate medical attention.
Significant Illness or Diseases
Usually medical conditions are related to other conditions that can contribute to dehydrations. Here, were are going to have a look at ailments that can be a cause or symptoms of dehydrated skin. Some of these diseases can also increase the risk of having dehydrated skin. They include:
- Kidney failure
- Low blood pressure
- Muscle cramps
- Staph infection
- Migraine headache
- High red blood cell count
- Kidney infection
- Heat rash
Inability to Access or Drink Fluids
Inability to drink or access enough water is another causes that also compound the degree of dehydrated skin and may also cause severe dry skin. This can be due to lack of access to safe drinking water or inability to drink enough water for instance the infants or disabled persons. People in a comma or sick infants can also have impaired ability to drink enough water.
Significant skin injuries can also lead to dehydration. Injuries such burns and sore or even severe conditions/diseases or infections can also lead to this problem. Biologically, skin plays a major role in regulating body fluid and temperature but when relatively a large area is injured, that potential of it to maintain that regulation can be lost. So burns victims or people suffering inflammatory diseases can experience dehydrated skin.
Lifestyles Choices and Diet
Some lifestyles habits can also trigger dehydration. People drinking alcohol and caffeine are more vulnerable. Smokers are also not excluded, they too can also experience this issue. According to skin-fitness.com.au, “Alcohol based tonics wiped on skin remove sebum and act like strong cleansers” and hence triggering dehydration.
Poor diet is another factor. You should bear in mind that excessive consumption of water table salt or what is known as sodium chloride can have skin dehydrating effects. Sodium chloride will transfer water from the interior of the cell to the interstitial fluid and thus leading to water retention. All these will contribute to dehydrated skin. Coffee in addition can also lead to the same problem.
Poor Cleansing and Hot Showers & Baths
It is believed that any skin cleanser leaving it “squeaky clean” can be dehydrating. Harsh soap having alkaline, stripes the hydro-lipid film from the surface of the upper layer of skin leaving the horny layer exposed and unprotected. Such condition may make the skin more prone to moisture lose. Other alkaline washes that are used in other skin conditions can also result to severe acne i.e. pustules and cysts leading hydration since water can be easily lost through a damaged skin.
Hot showers can also contribute to skin water loss.” The friction and heat of hot water remove sebum from the skin’s surface, inviting capillary damage and dehydration” [skin-fitness.com.au]
Ageing is a factor for many skin conditions including dehydration and dryness. While it gets older, it will be hard for it to maintain its moisture levels. Dermatologist Dr. Ariel Haus says that, “The ageing process makes our bodies more dehydrated, including the skin.” He also explains that “Structural changes associated with the ageing process cause more dehydration”
It is very true that anybody can have a dehydrated skin but some people are at higher risk than others. Here are the groups of persons with higher risks of developing this condition:
- Older adults who their body`s fluid reserve grows smaller and hence the ability to conserve water is limited are prone to dehydration
- Persons who exercise or work outside, they can be at risk of being exposed to hot and humid weather which increases the level of sweating
- Infants and children are the groups that is at higher risk of experiencing dehydrated skin. They are likely to experience severe diarrhea and vomiting which leads to severe dehydration that can even lead to death. Again young infants can’t speak, so we can’t determine whether they feel thirsty or not.
- Persons with chronic illness are also another vulnerable group. Untreated or uncontrolled diabetes can increase the risk of one getting a dehydrated skin. Kidney disorder or cold sore or throat also increases chances.
Signs and symptoms
The resultant symptoms of dehydrated skin will vary depending on the underlying causes. They will usually range from mild to moderate to severe. Such symptoms may also vary depending on the age i.e. some symptoms may be specific to adults or children. In many circumstances, you will find many symptoms of dry and dehydrated skin are similar. Here are the common symptoms accompanying in adults and children:
- Dry mouth or dry skin on face
- Bright yellow urine
- Amber-colored urine
- Minimal or no urination
- Tea-colored urine
- Fainting, coma
- Pale, wrinkled, dry and cool skin
- Increased heart rate or tachycardia
- Increased breathing rate
- Chapped lips, itchy throat
- Fatigue, vertigo, lightheadedness, drowsiness or insomnia, difficulty concentrating, impaired memory
Infant or young children
- Dry mouth and tongue
- No tears when crying
- No wet diapers for three hours
- Sunken eyes, cheeks
- Sunken soft spot on top of skull
- Listlessness or irritability
Sometimes dehydrated skin be due to serious causes that may lead to very serious life-threatening symptoms, therefore, see your doctor if experience it alongside following symptoms:
- Severe headache
- Fainting or unconsciousness
- Blurred vision
- No sweating despite the extreme temperature
- Bloody or black stool
- You had diarrhea for 24 hours or more
There are more severe symptoms but it is simple, make sure you visit your doctor when you can handle any kind of symptom at home. This condition can also lead to mild to severe complications. They include heat injury, seizures, urinary and kidney disorders, electrolyte abnormalities and low blood volume shock.
Examination and test (diagnosis)
To determine the underlying causes, the doctor will have to perform some tests and examinations. Blood or urine samples may also be sent to the library for tests.
- Signs of fever, increased heartbeat, faster breathing and decreased blood pressure can signify dehydration and other illness.
- “Taking the pulse and blood pressure while the person is lying down and then after standing up for 1 and 3 minutes can help determine the degree of dehydration.” [Webmd.com]
- Blood chemistries can also be determined to show the degree of dehydration. The number of salts and sugar and indicators of kidney function are very vital for determining the level or rather the causes of dehydration.
- Complete Blood Count can also be used to show the causes of dehydration especially if it is due to infections. Sometimes liver function tests may also be important.
- Lastly, we have what is known as urinalysis. The color, the urine specific gravity and the presence of ketones may help to determine the degree of dehydration. Increased glucose in the urine indicates the presence of diabetes or impaired diabetic control and cause of dehydration. Kidney problems may also be determined by the excessive protein in the urine.
The most effective treatment is restoring blood volume and body fluids while considering the primary causes. Here are the most recommended remedies:
1. Cooling therapy
It is said that when the body core temperature is more than 104 °F, the whole body should be cooled. This can be enhanced by evaporation with fans, mists, cooling blankets and baths.
Fluid replacement is the best treatment for dehydration. Water can be replaced through the mouth but if this is not possible, intravenous fluid (IV) may be needed. If oral rehydration is considered important, small amounts of clear fluids may be needed. Such fluids include water, clear broths, popsicles, Jell-O and more.
Patients with improved conditions may be discharged and sent at home with the care of their friends or families to monitor the progress of their condition. When the dehydration persists, and the victim still experiences symptoms such as confusion, fever and more severe symptoms, the victim may be needed to still remain in the hospital for further treatment.
If you suffer from fever and it is the cause of dehydration, the use of acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be applied. This can be taken orally (by mouth) if you are not vomiting or through rectal suppository if unable to take anything by your mouth. Your medical service provider may have more treatment options or dehydrated skin products he/she may prescribe depending on the causes or the symptoms.
Symptoms of extremely dry skin can be treated using best products such as moisturizers, home remedies, soap, and cream for very dry skin among other Treatments.
How to prevent skin dehydration
Prevention is the first step in any treatment procedure. In our case, all preventions measures are or should be aimed at increasing fluid intake.
- Take extra water prior to outdoor events and workplaces where you suspect increased sweating, heat stress, exercise, an activity that may increase fluid loss. In this case, athletes and outdoor workers are encouraged to drink enough amount of water equivalent to body fluid loss.
- Older people and infants, as well as children, should have plenty amount of drinking water or fluids available. The disabled persons should also be provided with water or encouraged to drink enough water.
- Consumption of alcohol, coffee, smoking cigarette and too much consumption of salts should also be limited. All these can lead to significant water loss that can result in dehydration of your skin.
- Those carrying out various activities outdoors should wear light clothes and carry personal fans to cool themselves
- You should avoid exposure to sunburn, hot temperatures. After exposures to hot temperature may be due to unavoidable circumstances, you should find shady and cool area to allow your body to cool
- You should also check weather forecasts for high heat index days. During the rise in temperatures, you should avoid exercise or outdoor exposure. All these are aimed at preventing this problem.
Skin dehydration is a condition that normally occurs and recovers automatically but some cases may be weird.
Causes such as heat exposure, decreased water intake, too much exercise is very easy to control, but severe causes such as vomiting and diarrhea can be very serious to cope up with and can lead to death, therefore, any symptom of dehydration should be given an immediate response before they develop to their severity.
Remember if you feel you experience symptoms you can’t bear at home or severe symptoms, please visit your doctor immediately.