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Can dehydration cause sagging skin?

Dehydration can definitely cause skin to appear saggy and loose. When the body is dehydrated, it loses water content, which can lead to the skin losing its plump, youthful appearance. In this article, we’ll explore the link between dehydration and sagging skin, and provide tips on how to keep your skin hydrated and supple.

How dehydration impacts skin

Dehydration causes the skin to lose water, leading to a temporary loss of elasticity and volume. Here’s a closer look at how dehydration affects the skin:

  • Reduced water content – The skin contains water that keeps it looking plump and firm. Dehydration reduces water content in skin cells, causing the skin to look flatter and less supple.
  • Loss of elasticity – Water gives skin its elastic quality. When the skin lacks sufficient water, it becomes less flexible and resilient.
  • Less collagen production – Collagen gives skin its structure. Dehydration hampers collagen production, allowing skin to sag.
  • Increased visible wrinkles – Hydrated skin helps smooth out fine lines and wrinkles. With dehydration, these wrinkles become more pronounced.
  • Dull complexion – Water keeps skin looking radiant and glowing. Dehydrated skin often looks duller.

In essence, dehydration robs the skin of the water and moisture that helps keep it looking plump, smooth, and youthful. Even mild dehydration can leave skin looking dry and saggy.

Groups at risk for dehydration

Certain populations have an increased risk of becoming dehydrated, which can accelerate skin sagging. Groups at higher risk include:

  • Older adults – The body’s ability to conserve water decreases with age. Older adults often don’t feel thirsty even when dehydrated.
  • People who exercise – Exercise results in fluid loss through sweating. Inadequate fluid intake after exercise can lead to dehydration.
  • Those with certain conditions – Diabetes, diarrhea, vomiting, and fever all increase fluid loss from the body.
  • People taking certain medications – Diuretics, laxatives, and blood pressure medications may interfere with fluid retention.
  • Residents of hot climates – Living in hot, humid environments increases sweating and fluid requirements.

People in these groups, as well as anyone not drinking enough water per day, are vulnerable to mild or temporary dehydration that could accelerate sagging.

How much water do you need?

To avoid becoming dehydrated, it’s important to drink adequate water every day. The Institute of Medicine provides these general guidelines on water intake:

  • Women: Around 11 cups (2.7 liters) per day
  • Men: Around 16 cups (4 liters) per day

However, water needs can vary based on factors like age, activity level, health conditions, and climate. The color of urine is a simple way to gauge if you’re drinking enough water. Pale to clear urine means you’re well hydrated, while dark yellow urine usually indicates dehydration.

Tips for staying hydrated

Here are some tips to help ensure you’re drinking enough to keep your skin supple and hydrated:

  • Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning
  • Carry a refillable water bottle throughout the day
  • Choose water over sugary drinks
  • Eat fruits and vegetables high in water content
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol intake
  • Drink extra water after exercise or time outdoors
  • Listen to your thirst signals and drink when thirsty
  • Monitor your urine color

Making hydration a priority is key to maintaining skin’s hydration and elasticity as we age.

Can you reverse sagging skin from dehydration?

The effects of dehydration on skin are largely reversible. Increasing fluid intake can bring water back into dehydrated skin cells and tissues. This helps skin look fuller and smoother again.

It may take a couple days of adequate hydration for skin to regain its supple, plump appearance after dehydration. But simply drinking enough water and following a good skincare routine can generally reverse sagging caused by temporary dehydration.

Long-term dehydration and skin elasticity

While short periods of dehydration only temporarily affect skin, long-term dehydration can impact skin elasticity over time. This makes it more prone to sagging.

Chronically low fluid intake results in a constant loss of water from the skin. If the skin lacks sufficient water content for weeks, months or years, it may slowly lose elastic fibers and collagen.

This makes the skin less able to snap back after stretching and bending. Wrinkles and sagging become more permanent effects rather than temporary ones.

That’s why consistent hydration is so important, especially as we age. Drinking enough water every day provides lasting benefits for keeping skin firm, supple and resilient.

Other causes of sagging skin

While dehydration is one cause of sagging skin and wrinkles, there are other contributing factors, including:

  • Aging – Skin naturally loses collagen and elastin over time.
  • Sun exposure – UV radiation breaks down collagen in the skin.
  • Smoking – Chemicals in smoke can damage skin proteins like collagen.
  • Weight loss – Losing a significant amount of weight causes excess skin.
  • Muscle loss – Declining muscle mass contributes to sagging.
  • Genetics – Some people are prone to developing loose, sagging skin.

Hydration alone cannot completely overcome these other causes of sagging. However, ensuring the skin stays well hydrated remains an important part of keeping your skin as firm and supple as possible as you age.

The takeaway

Dehydration has clear links to temporary skin sagging. The lack of water causes skin to lose its plump, elastic quality. However, in most cases the effects are reversible by resuming proper hydration.

While staying well hydrated may not be enough to completely prevent age-related skin sagging, it is certainly beneficial. Drinking adequate water supports healthy, supple skin across a lifetime. aims to hydrate the skin from the inside out.

So be vigilant about hydration, especially as you get older. Your skin will thank you!

Frequently Asked Questions

How much water should you drink daily for skin?

Most guidelines recommend drinking around 2-3 liters of total fluids per day for women and 4 liters for men. The exact amount can vary based on factors like age, climate and activity level. Aim to drink enough so that your urine is a pale yellow color, which indicates good hydration.

What are early signs of dehydration?

Early signs of mild dehydration include thirst, fatigue, headache, dry mouth, dizziness and decreased urine output. The skin may lose some elasticity and appear slightly saggy or sunken when even mildly dehydrated.

Do bananas help with hydration?

Yes, bananas can help with hydration. Bananas contain potassium and electrolytes that support fluid balance in the body. The fruit itself has a high water content as well. Bananas are a great portable, healthy snack that can provide hydration.

What foods hydrate better than water?

Some foods that hydrate very effectively due to their high water content include cucumbers, watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit, peaches, oranges, celery and tomatoes. While water is still essential, eating these foods can supplement your fluid intake.

Can drinking more water make your face less puffy?

Yes, proper hydration can reduce facial puffiness caused by water retention. When dehydrated, the body may hold onto excess water, leading to puffiness in the face and around the eyes. Drinking adequate water helps reduce this swelling by improving water balance.


Dehydration is a common, reversible cause of temporary sagging skin. Ensuring you drink enough water every day provides lasting benefits for keeping your skin supple, elastic and better able to resist sagging over time. While good hydration is not a magic solution for age-related skin changes, it remains a crucial part of overall skin health and anti-aging self-care.