Every year at about this time, we are blanketed by a haze that not only irritates our breathing passages, it plays merry hell with our skin. So, it is at this time of year that you will see a lot of articles and advice for you to drink more water because staying hydrated helps keep your nasal passages clear.
We also need water to keep ourselves hydrated and to well, literally stay alive! But not long ago, I had a bit of problem that saw me drinking less water in a day than I should. I was only drinking about 2 mugs a work day, which was really ridiculous. Slowly but surely, I later noticed some effects on my body that troubled me, but went away when I started upping my water intake.
At work, I usually have a bottle on my desk to keep myself hydrated. It saves me from walking up and down (although that’s actually one way to keep myself from dozing off!) But what it also does is remind me that I have to drink, and I do.
But following the trouble I had not long ago, I stopped this habit of keeping a bottle on my desk. After just a week or so, I started noticing some negative signs in my body that had me wondering what was wrong. It didn’t strike me it was my reduced water intake until much later.
So here are the 8 signs my body was telling me that I wasn’t drinking enough water. I’m no medical or science expert, so this is purely based on my personal experience. If you are noticing any one of them, before you run out and buy that latest skincare or health supplement, think instead of your water intake. Have you experienced any of these symptoms?
#1 Skin breakouts
I noticed when I was drinking less water, that my skin started breaking out. This was around my chin area, which I had found was usually related to digestive problems. I was rather perturbed by this, doing my best to get rid of the bumpy skin without much success, when I realised that it might have been to do with my water/fluid intake.
When I upped my water intake, I noticed that the breakouts were happening less. Existing bumps under the skin didn’t go away, but I wasn’t getting any new bumps. I’m not certain it’s 100% related, but I figured it might be to do with the body not flushing out toxins regularly. When you drink a lot of water, you do end up going to the toilet more often and that is actually a good thing! So, if you’re experiencing sudden inexplicable breakouts or rough skin, start by increasing your water/fluid intake and see if that helps.
#2 Dull Skin
Which leads us to the 2nd thing I noticed, dull skin. My skin had a dull cast to it that no amount of exfoliation or serums or creams could help. I spent a lot of time during this period learning to use highlighters to fake this “glow” (which isn’t a bad thing, now I think about it 😛 ) It was as if it was less plump even, and looked tired. I’m not saying that drinking more water will give you plumped, glowing skin, but it is one way to get there.
Our body needs water to transport blood cells and nutrients throughout the body, and if you don’t sufficiently replenish the water in your body, this function might slow down. The first thing that goes is the skin because it’s actually the least important thing to keep going. Your body will have to keep your essential organs functioning first, to help you stay alive, so the skin condition will deteriorate. I noticed that when I went back to drinking more water during the day, my skin looked much better.
#3 Yellow Pee
One of the first signs you’re not drinking enough water is indicated by your urine. We don’t like talking about pee on a beauty blog do we? LOL But it’s an essential indicator and might tell you more about your health than you realise. If you aren’t sure if you’re drinking enough water in a day, your pee will tell you. The more yellow it is, and the more it smells, the poorer your water intake. The aim is for your pee to take on a clear, almost colourless … erm… colour, when you’re notice also that it doesn’t smell very much. That’s a sure way to know you’re drinking enough water!
The reason for this is because our bodies excrete toxins and waste through our pee, and if we don’t drink enough water, this waste that is being excreted is concentrated. Think of it like a science experiment. If you have a chemical that’s very thick and dark in colour, when you dilute it with a lot of water or liquid, it will lighten and take on a clearer appearance and any scent also dissipates with dilution. For our bodies, it’s a good thing because our kidneys don’t have to work as hard at extracting and excreting waste. It might be TMI, but it gives me a certain pleasure to see clear pee LOL! 😀
This was something I noticed quite significantly when I don’t have enough water. For some reason, I get very constipated! Ok, I know it is TMI, but just as our kidneys need water to ease the excretion of toxins and waste, so do our intestines. The less water you have, the harder your body has to work to extract whatever liquid they can from your food intake. So, just think about that for a bit, and see if you don’t realise just how you can get constipated 😛
Needless to say, when I upped my water intake, things eased up eventually. Whew! Incidentally, I also noticed that if you get constipated a lot, it can reflect on your skin as well. I always notice an increased number of breakouts and congested skin when that happens. I often wonder if there’s a co-relation. Perhaps there are more toxins in our body that eventually purge out through our skin?
#5 Poor Digestion and bloating
Aside from constipation, I noticed that I had a lot of trouble with my digestion. I’d get bloated very easily and eating any sorts of food left me feeling uncomfortable. I wouldn’t even have appetite most days, which was awful because I love eating!
When I drank enough water, these problems tend to go away of their own accord. I did some research and realised that it was because our bodies need water to help with the digestive process, and to aid in the breaking down of the food we eat. If we don’t drink enough water, there is an imbalance in the Force (hur hur!) and things just go haywire.
For me, this eventually leads to problems #1-4 above. It is all co-related some how!
#6 Dry Cuticles and Skin
I also find that poor water intake leads my cuticles to dry out and peel. I’d get hangnail or bits of dry skin around my nails, which not only looks unsightly, also prompts me to peel at them and injure myself. Keeping myself well hydrated tends to reduce and eventually solve this problem. But if I don’t, boy does it come back with a vengeance!
As for my skin, dehydrated skin is one of the obvious symptoms as well of insufficient water/fluid intake. I already have dry skin so imagine if you will, skin that is even more dehydrated than normal! It’s no wonder it was breaking out as per #1 above!
#7 Poor Concentration
This wasn’t very obvious, but I definitely experienced poorer concentration. I’d find it hard to focus on doing anything for very long, and my mind would wander quite alarmingly. I didn’t notice this consequence much until I restarted my regular water intake again, when I noticed that I was doing better at focusing on what I was doing.
#8 Lethargy and Tiredness
If you are feeling tired and lethargic for what seems like an inexplicable reason, be assured that I did too. Again, I didn’t notice how much staying hydrated helped me stay less lethargic, until much later. According to science, our bodies need water and fluids, to carry electrolytes around our body, which keeps us energetic and literally keeps us going. The harder we make it for our bodies to work, the harder they have to work and quite often, it may only be working half as efficiently as it should. So, if you too are feeling lethargic or tired all the time, pause for a moment and consider if you’re drinking enough water. If you aren’t, try upping your intake and see if it helps.
How much water is enough?
Most of us remember the general rule – 8 glasses of water a day. But how big a glass? 8 ounces or 237ml glasses are the general rule. However, it’s a little more technical than that (link). Each of us needs different amounts of water, depending on size, weight and lifestyle. If you exercise a lot, naturally, you need more water because you lose water through perspiration.
The general recommendation however is at least 2.2 litres a day. Believe me, it’s not easy hitting that target daily! I find that it’s easier when you have a water bottle with a fixed measurement, as that’ll help you. My daily water bottle is about 1125ml and I try to take in at least 2 bottles a day.
While the general rule is that we’re measuing fluids, not plain water, I personally stick to plain water. I don’t have problems drinking plain water so I’m good. Tea or coffee, while liquid, are diuretic so they can actually cause you to lose more water. Fruit juices, while again liquids, can help you pile on the pounds due to the sugar content. So, personally, I just stick to plain water. I don’t even infuse my water with fruits, as is popular now. I don’t like the taste of infused water, which I feel is neither here nor there. If I want a fruit juice, I’ll drink a fruit juice. If I want water, I’ll drink it plain.
Have you experienced any symptoms from not drinking enough water in a day?
I was surprised actually at how my body reacted to the reduced water intake. This is even before taking into consideration the most easily noticeable symptoms of dry mouth, bad breath and thirst! If you’ve experienced any other symptoms, please do share. We can all learn from each other 🙂
Disclaimer: I am not trained medically nor scientifically. This account is purely based on my own experience