How does drinking enough water help your hair?

Drinking enough water helps keep your skin soft and supple. Staying hydrated helps fight hair loss and helps your hair grow.
Drinking enough water helps keep your skin soft and supple. Staying hydrated helps fight hair loss and helps your hair grow.

The human body is 60% water. The brain and heart are composed of 73% water, while the skin consists of 63% water. Needless to say, staying hydrated is important. 

Regarding the skin, your overall hydration level has a direct impact on it as well as your scalp. That's what causes dandruff — a dry scalp. But a lot more than dry scalp can happen if you're not drinking enough water daily. 

Drinking enough water helps keep your skin soft and supple. It can prevent wrinkles and help your skin retain more of its elasticity. It has similar benefits for your scalp. Staying hydrated promotes circulation and oil production of the scalp, keeping your hair follicles healthy and your locks strong, encouraging growth. 

When you're dehydrated, your body knows that water may be in short supply. This triggers it to divert resources to vital processes, leaving your hair on its own. Your hair may stop growing completely, and the remaining strands may become brittle and prone to breakage. When your hair is breaking and not growing back, you'll start to notice thinning.

Keeping your scalp hydrated can also relieve the itching that comes with dandruff and, potentially, dandruff itself. If your dandruff is caused by a dry scalp, drinking more water may help.

How much water is enough to be hydrated?

The precise amount of water you need to be hydrated depends on a lot of factors, like your gender and age. An adequate fluid intake for men is 124 ounces and 92 ounces for women, according to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Most of the fluids you need come from beverages like water and tea, but about 20% also come from the foods you eat.

Your specific body composition, along with your age and whether you're pregnant or nursing, will determine the exact amount of water you need. These guidelines provide a starting point, but you'll want to monitor your body for dehydration. If you feel thirsty or experience a dry mouth, you may be dehydrated. Also, your urine will be very light yellow or clear when you're hydrated. It'll be dark yellow or brown if you're dehydrated.

What are some ways to keep your scalp healthy?

Aside from drinking plenty of water, there are several other things you can do to keep your scalp healthy.

Avoid using hot water. Hot showers are one of life's great pleasures, but they're not great for your scalp. This is especially true in the winter, when your skin may already be dry due to the cold weather and drier indoor conditions. 

Protect your scalp. If you're going to spend time in the sun or out in the cold, wear a hat. Protecting your scalp from the elements will limit environmental damage. You should also consider wearing a swim cap when swimming, as chlorine or saltwater will also dry out your scalp.

Don't wash your hair more than necessary. How often you wash your hair should be determined by your hair type. If you have oily hair, which means that your scalp produces extra oil, it's ok to wash it every day. If your scalp is dry or feels tight and itchy after you wash it, you should wash it less often. It's ok to only wash your hair two or three times a week, or more often if it's actively dirty.

Check the pH level of your shampoo. The pH level measures how acidic or basic a liquid is. The oils in your scalp are generally acidic, which means that your shampoo should also be slightly acidic. Using a shampoo that's more basic than your natural oils will neutralize them, which can damage your scalp.

Use moisturizing oil on your scalp. This may sound strange, but oils are excellent for moisturizing your scalp. Many hair care companies make hair oils intended to be used on the scalp, but you can also use jojoba or shea oil for the same effect. It doesn't take much oil to have a moisturizing effect, and your scalp will thank you. You'll want to apply it to your scalp the night before you're scheduled to wash your hair. Leaving the oil on your scalp for too long may result in irritation and have the opposite effect you want.

Staying hydrated is important, not only for your skin but also for your hair. If you want to fight hair loss and help your hair grow, make sure you're drinking enough fluids every day.

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Medically Reviewed on 12/6/2021
References
SOURCES:

Evergreen Beauty College: "5 Expert Tips for a Healthy and Clean Scalp."

Mayo Clinic: Water: "How much should you drink every day?"

Minnesota School of Cosmetology: "How Dehydration Affects Your Hair & Skin."

U.S. Geological Survey: "The Water in You: Water and the Human Body."