Britons, it is often claimed, are a nation of over-drinkers when it comes to alcohol – but this week a new report suggests that when it comes to water we’re a nation of under-drinkers. The knock-on effects of both too much alcohol and not enough water equates to a whole lot of dehydration – a known contributor to certain forms of hair loss.
Fizzy-drink makers SodaStream were behind the latest survey, in which it was found that only a quarter of the 1,000 people questioned drank enough water each week. Worse, around seven per cent of the population are barely drinking any water at all: the findings suggest that in a typical week roughly four million people don’t have a single glass.
Effects of dehydration
Dehydration is not something to be taken lightly. Guidelines suggest that in order to stave it off, men need to drink about three-litres of water-based beverages per day; for women the figure is 2.2 litres, although this can vary. The NHS advises, “Studies have tried to establish a recommended daily fluid intake, but it can vary depending on the individual and factors such as age, climate and physical activity.” Stressing that you must remember to replace lost fluids, particularly from excessive sweating during hot weather, illness or exercise.
Normal signs of minor dehydration include headaches, dizziness and fatigue but the worse the drop in hydration, the more severe the symptoms. A drop in body water of 15 per cent or more is often fatal.
Quoted in a Daily Mail article about the survey, GP Dr Ellie Cannon said: “Water energises us, aids digestion and weight loss and improves the complexion, to name just a few of the benefits.”
Causes of dehydrated hair
Whilst not drinking enough fluids is certainly bad for your hair, it is not the only way in which your hair – and skin – can be affected by dehydration. A number of lifestyle factors can also cause parched hair, including smoking, using central heating and an over-reliance on heated hair styling tools.
Hair breakage from dehydration is common. This is caused when the hair becomes dry and brittle due to malnourishment, eventually snapping off along the shaft, leaving a frizzy split end behind. It’s quite easy to spot: in America, hairstylist Lyric Elise hit the headlines when she started dispensing medical advice to her customers, based on what she’d seen when cutting their hair. Dehydration was a regular occurrence.
Restoring hair health
Having an adequate water intake is all part and parcel of maintaining an individual’s overall health. The hair loss conditions Telogen Effluvium and Diffuse Hair Loss (Chronic Telogen Effluvium) cause thinning hair all over the scalp. They are often closely linked to mental and physical wellbeing, and dehydration can compound these problems.
The first step in addressing signs of dehydration is, of course, to drink the right amount of fluids each day. Ideally water but squash or fruit juice is fine too, just be wary of the sugar content. Women’s Health magazine recommends that one way to stop water being “boring” is to add watermelon chunks and mint or orange slices. There’s even an app – Waterlogged – that can give you regular reminders.
If your hair is still a concern once your fluid intake is more balanced, visit a specialist hair loss treatment centre for an expert diagnosis and advice on how best to proceed. If you have been experiencing either form of Telogen Effluvium this may take a little while to correct itself naturally – usually up to 12 months after the underlying cause is addressed.
Treatment for Telogen Effluvium may help expedite regrowth while targeted supplements, such as Belgravia’s Hair Vitalics, can boost the hair’s health. However, in those with a genetic propensity to Male or Female Pattern Hair Loss, this can be triggered by Telogen Effluvium so getting the right diagnosis is crucial in order to tailor the most effective treatment plan to help you get your hair back on track.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.