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Dear Dr. Prager: Does Dehydration Cause Wrinkles

Dear Dr. Prager,

I was recently told that my dark circles and wrinkles could be related to not drinking enough water. I drink at least a few cups of tea and decaffeinated soda throughout the day, so I know that I have liquids in me. How much is enough?

Marissa

Dear Marissa,

Thank you for such a timely email. With the summer months fast approaching and holiday season in full swing, many people will need to increase their water intake and focus much more on hydration than they already do – that is, if they even think about it at all. While I could not locate the exact numbers for those who suffer from chronic dehydration here in the UK, I would be surprised if it were not close to the 75% of Americans who do.  The sad truth is that most of my patients are well-versed in the benefits of topical hydrating agents such as hyaluronic acid, but few pay attention to how much H20 they are putting into their organs (which includes the skin),

You mention a few things in your email that I would like to address. First, tea’s, even some decaf blends, have some caffeine in them which can lead to dehydration. While caffeine free sodas may not dehydrate you the same way, many are loaded with sugar. When your blood sugar is elevated, it can result in osmotic diuresis. This is when the sugar exits through your kidneys, carrying water out with it and your kidneys are unable to reabsorb the water.

Dark circles can be caused by a number of factors and wrinkles are often caused by repetitive movements and the sun, but being that your skin is very much like a sponge that wrinkles up when dry and fills up when hydrated, you can see how not drinking enough water can bring both signs to the surface. Moving beyond the skin, water is essential for our organs to function properly. When they don’t, we can experience sleepiness and constipation as well as confusion, muscle cramps, dark circles and a dull complexion.

The tell-tale sign you need more water? Dark coloured urine, exhaustion, thirst and even hunger.

Finally, I suggest you find some fun ways to keep your water intake where it should be: The summer months is a perfect time to enjoy watermelon, grapes, glasses of water with a slice of lemon, lime or oranges.

Happy hydrating!

Dr. Prager

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