We, as human beings, consist of approximately 60% water – depending on your gender, body composition, age and the state of your health. Maintaining optimal hydration levels is essential for overall health, and this impact extends to the health and appearance of your hair. Dehydration, on the other hand, can lead to a myriad of issues, including hair loss and lacklustre hair. Our hair shafts are composed of about 25% water, and when our bodies are dehydrated, the hair can become brittle, dry, and prone to breakage. Water is also involved in the transportation of essential nutrients to the hair follicles, ensuring their proper nourishment and healthy growth. Understanding how water affects our hair underscores the importance of drinking water for hair growth and help you achieve the hair you’ve always wanted.
Water and scalp health
As we live, we continuously consume water and expel it through perspiration, urination, breathing, defecation, tears and other bodily fluids (saliva, mucus etc.). This creates a need to top up those lost reserves on a regular basis, precisely why it is recommended to consume 2.7 or 3.7 litres of water per day for women and men respectively. In this article we focus on scalp health, since scalp – is skin and water plays a crucial role in maintaining skin’s health.
Moisture balance in scalp
Water helps maintain the body’s overall moisture balance. When you drink enough water, it helps replenish the water content in your cells, including the skin cells. Well-hydrated cells are plump and resilient, which contributes to healthier-looking skin.
Improved circulation to hair follicles
Drinking an adequate amount of water improves blood circulation throughout your body, including the tiny blood vessels that supply nutrients to your hair follicle cells. Improved circulation ensures that essential nutrients and oxygen reach the skin, promoting its overall health and vitality.
Toxins and hair loss
Water aids in the elimination of toxins and waste products from your body. The scalp itself doesn’t have the ability to store toxins in the same way that other organs, like the liver or fat tissues, do. But toxins accumulated in liver, kidneys and fat tissues affect your body’s ability to cleanse itself which would have an impact on your scalp and your hair health.
Toxins in the body can contribute to hair loss and hair thinning through various mechanisms:
- When the body is exposed to toxins, such as heavy metals, pollutants, or certain chemicals, it can lead to oxidative stress and body inflammation, including scalp inflammation. This oxidative stress can damage the cells, including those responsible for hair growth and maintenance.
- Toxins can disrupt hormonal balance, interfere with nutrient absorption, and compromise the immune system, all of which can impact the health of the hair follicles. Over time, these effects can contribute to hair loss and hair thinning.
- Some toxins do accumulate on hair and scalp: those from external sources, such as environmental pollutants, chemical residues from hair products, or certain heavy metals, can adhere to the scalp’s surface and hair strands. Over time, these toxins may build up and negatively impact the overall health of the scalp and hair.
Water and proper hydration play a vital role in the elimination of toxins from the body. It supports functioning of your kidneys and liver: the primary organs responsible for filtering and eliminating toxins. Water helps to flush out waste products and toxins through urine and sweat, aiding in their removal from the body.
Therefore, drinking water for hair growth supports optimal blood circulation, allowing nutrients to reach the organs efficiently which facilitates the elimination of toxins. It also helps to maintain the balance of bodily fluids, which further supports the body’s natural detoxification processes.
Scalp elasticity and water intake
Hydration plays a significant role in another aspect of hair growth, namely: production of collagen in scalp. Collagen is a structural protein that helps maintain the skin and scalp’s strength, elasticity, and firmness. Its fibres also uphold the skin structure around the hair follicle.
Drinking water for hair growth supports collagen production
When the skin is well-hydrated, this supports the production and synthesis of collagen fibres around the hair follicle. This aids the scalp’s ability to repair and maintain its structural integrity. On the other hand, dehydration can impair collagen production, leading to a thinner scalp, and hair bulbs having insufficient support during anagen (growth) stage – which can lead to hair thinning and eventually hair loss. So drinking water for hair growth and supporting hydration levels is crucial for supporting collagen production and promoting scalp’s health.
Dehydration and hair loss
Dehydration can have a significant impact on hair health, and one of the consequences of prolonged or severe dehydration is hair loss. When you are dehydrated your body lacks sufficient water to support essential bodily functions, let alone hair growth. Here’s how dehydration can contribute to hair loss:
- Nutrient Transport: Water plays a crucial role in transporting essential nutrients to the hair follicles. When the body is dehydrated, the circulation of nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles becomes compromised. This results in weakened hair follicles, leading to hair thinning and eventual hair loss.
- Hair Shaft Moisture: Your hair strands require adequate moisture to maintain their strength, flexibility, and overall health. Dehydration can cause the hair shafts to become dry, brittle, and prone to breakage. Dry and brittle hair is more susceptible to hair loss, as it is more likely to snap or fall out.
- Hair Growth Cycle Disruption: The hair growth cycle consists of three phases: anagen (growth phase), catagen (transitional phase), and telogen (resting phase). Dehydration can disrupt this cycle, leading to a higher proportion of hairs entering the telogen phase prematurely. This happens due to body thinning it is under stress and trying to conserve the energy for essential functions like keeping your heart beating, your liver or kidney functions. When your hair follicle enter telogen effluvium at once – it is known as telogen effluvium, which can result in excessive shedding and temporary hair loss.
- Scalp Health: Dehydration can also affect the health of the scalp. A dehydrated scalp is more prone to dryness, flakiness, and itchiness. These scalp conditions can disrupt the hair growth process and potentially lead to hair loss.
To prevent dehydration-related hair loss, it is crucial to maintain proper hydration by drinking an adequate amount of water throughout the day. Additionally, a balanced diet rich in water-dense fruits and vegetables can further support overall hydration and promote hair health.
Tips for drinking water for hair growth
1. Drink sufficient amount of water
- Drink sufficient amount of water. Aim to drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day. The general recommendation is to consume around eight 8-ounce glasses / 8 x 240ml of water, which is roughly 2 liters or half a gallon. However, individual water needs may vary based on factors such as activity level, climate, and overall health. Men have a higher requirement for hydration than women by about 1 litre more.
2. Carry a water bottle
2. Carry a water bottle. Keep a reusable water bottle with you at all times. Having water readily available will remind you to drink and make it more convenient to stay hydrated throughout the day.
3. Set reminders
3. Set Reminders. Use calendar reminders or hydration apps on your phone to prompt you to drink water regularly. You can set timers or alarms at intervals that work for you.
4. Flavour your water
4. Flavour your water. If plain water feels monotonous, try infusing it with fruits, herbs, or cucumber slices to add a hint of flavor. This can make drinking water more enjoyable and encourage you to consume more.
5. Monitor urine colour
5. Monitor urine colour. Pay attention to the colour of your urine. Clear or pale yellow urine indicates good hydration, while darker urine suggests dehydration. Use this as a simple indicator to assess your hydration status.
6. Eat water-rich foods
6. Eat Water-Rich Foods: Incorporate hydrating foods into your diet, such as watermelon, cucumbers, oranges, berries, and leafy greens. These foods not only contribute to hydration but also provide valuable nutrients.
7. Limit dehydrating beverages
7. Limit Dehydrating Beverages: Minimize the consumption of dehydrating beverages like alcohol, caffeinated drinks, and sugary sodas, as they can increase fluid loss from the body.
8. Hydrate before, during and after exercise
8. Hydrate Before, During, and After Exercise: Drink water before, during, and after physical activity to replenish fluid loss through sweat.
9. Pay attention to thirst
9. Pay Attention to Thirst: Listen to your body’s thirst cues and drink water when you feel thirsty. Thirst is a signal that your body needs hydration.
Remember, staying hydrated is a daily practice, and making it a habit will contribute to your hair health, your overall health and well-being.
Dietary water affects human skin hydration and biomechanics, (1)
The influences of skin visco-elasticity, hydration level and aging on the formation of wrinkles: a comprehensive and objective approach (2)
Effect on Transepidermal Water Loss, Stratum Corneum Hydration, Skin Surface pH, and Casual Sebum Content (3)