The Independent Pharmacy

Understanding How Dehydration Affects Your Hair

Scott McDougall
Scott McDougallMPharmDirector & Registered Manager

Reviewed on 6 Oct 2023

Adequate hydration is key for overall health and hair wellness. When fluid intake is insufficient, the body prioritises critical functions, which can limit support for hair health. Dehydration may negatively affect hair strength, scalp condition, and increase shedding.

Consuming sufficient fluids and maintaining good hydration habits helps counter these effects. Drinking adequate water keeps strands strong and the scalp moisturised, providing hair the nutrients it requires. Simple measures like sipping water during the day, eating hydrating nourishment, and utilising moisturising hair products assist in keeping hair healthy. Caring for the scalp also prevents dryness that can cause hair woes.

With some additions to our daily regimens, we can better hydrate hair. Doing so assists it in appearing thicker and feeling softer.

In this guide, we’ll explore the link between dehydration and hair health and provide you with practical guidance to help you maintain adequate moisture levels for optimal strength, growth, and sheen.

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Key Effects of Dehydration on Hair Health

Can Dehydration Cause Hair Loss?

It’s understandable to be concerned if you notice hair loss, and it’s important to know that dehydration can be a contributing factor. When the human body is water deficient, it focuses on supporting vital organs, often reducing energy for non-essential functions like healthy hair growth. Dehydration impacts the hair cycle, potentially increasing shedding and slowing regrowth.

The hair strand grows from roots that are located in tiny pockets under the skin of your scalp, called hair follicles. The hair follicle requires adequate blood flow and nutrient supply to productively grow the hair. Not drinking enough water can lead to poorer blood flow, which means less nutrients and oxygen reach the hair roots. This can disrupt healthy hair growth.

Additionally, dehydration causes cells within the hair follicle to function less optimally. Without enough water, the cells in your hair roots don’t have the energy they need to grow new hair properly. Over time, these effects can manifest as thinning hair or hair loss.

Impact on Hair Strength and Scalp Health

Dehydration also affects hair strength and scalp condition. As the body loses water content, tissues become dry and inflamed. This particularly impacts outward-facing organs like skin. A dehydrated scalp often feels itchy or irritated. A dry scalp also cannot effectively hold onto hair strands, causing easier pull-out during grooming and styling.

Additionally, dehydration influences hair texture and resilience. Adequate hydration helps give hair its protective barrier and shine. If you’re finding your hair dry and fragile, know that you’re not alone. This often happens when the outer layer of the hair lifts up, making it more prone to breakage. Ultimately, chronic dehydration can leave hair looking frizzy and dull.

How Do You Know If Your Hair Is Dehydrated?

There are certain early signs indicating hair needs moisture. Look for split ends, particularly near the middle or ends of strands, instead of just the tips. Also, notice if your scalp feels dry or flaky and itches frequently. These symptoms arise as the hair shaft loses its protective outer layer due to insufficient hydration.

You may also perceive changes in texture like hair feeling rougher or looking frizzy despite using your normal hair products. Dehydrated hair often tangles more easily as well. Pay attention to hair elasticity, too - signs like difficulty curling hair or styles “falling flat” faster can indicate a lack of moisture.

What to Do for Dry Hair

If you notice your hair exhibiting dryness, start adjusting your hair care routine. Increase hydrating methods like hair masks or hot oil treatments. Switch to a deeply moisturising shampoo and conditioner set. Products containing oils like argan, coconut, or marula can help restore moisture. Limit the use of hot tools and harsh treatments that worsen texture and natural oil production.

Getting adequate water and key nutrients can also help restore moisture internally. In some cases, an underlying health condition like anaemia may lead to dry, brittle hair. Consulting a healthcare professional can provide personalised advice and treatment options.

Simple Ways to Keep Your Hair Hydrated

Staying sufficiently hydrated is key for healthy hair. Aim to drink at least 2 litres of water per day or half your body weight in ounces. Carry a reusable water bottle to increase daily water intake. Drink a full bottle before and after physical activity to offset sweating losses.

Moisturise hair daily with products containing hydrating ingredients like shea butter, aloe vera, or avocado oil. After shampooing, apply a deep conditioning hair mask weekly to restore moisture. Limit heat tools, chemical treatments, and over-washing that worsen texture. Consider specialised shampoos like Alpecin Caffeine Shampoo or Alpecin Double Effect to invigorate the scalp.

Eating and Drinking for Healthy Hair

Loading up on hydrating fruits and vegetables boosts water content to nourish hair. Foods like cucumbers, watermelon, zucchini, grapes and strawberries brim with moisture. Leafy green veggies such as broccoli, spinach, cabbage, lettuce and kale provide hydration along with essential hair vitamins.

It helps to swap out sugary drinks for refreshing options like fruit-infused water, coconut water or sparkling water. Herbal teas hydrate, too, without caffeine’s drying effects. Don’t forget foods filled with B vitamins, iron, zinc and vitamin C to feed hair follicles from within.

How To Maintain Scalp Health to Prevent Hair Issues

A well-hydrated scalp is vital for healthy strands. Hair follicles rely on adequate blood flow and secretion of oils to grow hair properly. Keeping the scalp moisturised ensures sufficient circulation and sebum production to nurture new and existing hair.

On the other hand, a scalp that is always dry can have a hard time growing hair effectively. Dehydration causes scalp skin to become tight, irritated, or inflamed. This can disrupt the hair growth cycle, leading to issues like thinning or hair loss over time.

Tips for Scalp Care

Use mild, sulfate-free shampoos to avoid stripping natural scalp oils. Try to wash your hair only 2 to 3 times a week. Apply aloe vera gel or hydrating oils to moisturise the scalp between washes. During showers, finish with cool water to promote circulation. Avoid harsh treatments like dyes, bleaches, or chemically straightening hair to maintain a healthy scalp environment.

Consume foods and liquids that support scalp health, like fatty fish, nuts, spinach, and green tea. Consider taking supplements like biotin, vitamin E, or omega fatty acids. Stay stress-free and get sufficient sleep to enable the body to nourish the scalp. If you’re still experiencing symptoms like redness or itching despite trying home treatments, it might feel frustrating. Seeing a dermatologist can provide you with more personalised care and relief.

Daily Choices Affecting Your Hair’s Moisture

Our daily habits and environment influence our hair’s hydration. Spending lots of time in dry air from heating or cooling systems can parch hair over time. Swimming in chlorinated pools regularly also dries out strands and depletes moisture. Not properly rinsing out hair products or overusing hot tools causes buildup or damage, too.

Adjust routines to support moisture instead. Humidify living spaces, tie up hair while swimming, and rinse thoroughly after conditioner and masks. Alternate hot tools with air drying and utilise heat protectants. Getting sufficient sleep enables the body to replenish itself overnight.

Long-term Hair Care for Moisture

Caring for hair’s moisture should become an ongoing priority. Continuously check for early signs of dryness, like brittle strands or scalp flakes. Pre-emptively use deep conditioning treatments even before harsh weather or activities. Maintain adequate daily water intake and eat a balanced diet.

Making hydration a cornerstone of your hair care regimen will help minimise seasonal dryness and damage from styling. Commit to supportive habits, products, and foods to keep hair its healthiest over the long term. Be vigilant with moisture levels to enable hair to thrive.

Strive Towards Healthier Hair With The Independent Pharmacy

Caring for total hair health requires both internal and external hydration. Consuming adequate daily water and eating a nutrient-rich diet supplies hair follicles properly to facilitate strong strands. Utilising moisturising products and scalp care techniques prevents parched cuticles and degradation of locks. Addressing hydration helps minimise multiple issues like dandruff, increased shedding, or lacklustre appearance.

At The Independent Pharmacy, we offer solutions to counteract dehydration for optimal hair wellness. Products like Alpecin Caffeine Shampoo invigorate the scalp to support healthier regrowth. We also offer medications such as Finasteride, Propecia, Regaine, and Regaine for Women to treat hair loss and thinning hair.

Contact our experts for tailored guidance about addressing your unique hair needs. We understand that investing in all-around hydration is key for vibrant, healthy-looking manes.


How Long Does It Take to Fix Dehydrated Hair?

It may take a few weeks to properly rehydrate hair. First, concentrate on adjusting daily hydration habits and hair care methods. Then, give new moisturising products or targeted treatments for at least 2-3 months to improve moisture levels. Seek out individualised medical advice if you are still struggling with excessively dry hair.

Can Thinning Hair Regain Fullness?

Yes, in many cases, thinning hair can regain density with strategic changes. Ensuring adequate moisture intake and scalp health provides the best conditions for optimal regrowth. Using medications like minoxidil or finasteride may also assist. Though new strand formation seems slow, diligent hydration and care often help thinning hair become fuller.

Why is My Hair Suddenly Thinning?

Sudden hair thinning can stem from factors like nutrient deficiency, stress, medications, illness, or postpartum hormonal shifts. Dehydration and lack of protein can cause abrupt loss. Scalp conditions or autoimmune disorders may also contribute. See a doctor or dermatologist to determine the cause of rapid thinning.

What Should I Do if My Hair is Thinning?

Start by examining diet and hydration habits if experiencing hair thinning. Ensure adequate daily water intake and consumption of nutrients that support hair growth. Next, incorporate a moisturising hair care regimen suited to your hair type. Medications like minoxidil or supplements may also help. See a healthcare professional if thinning persists despite home treatment.


Stress - Every Mind Matters - NHS (

Good_hair_care_advice_GHPI1694_01_22.pdf (

Water, drinks and hydration - NHS (

Eating a balanced diet - NHS (

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