Last year, while siting down having a conversation with my supervisor. I looked down at the palms of my hands and noticed something peculiar. My palms were white with dryness and I had tiny little areas of where my skin began to peel. I quickly picked those areas of skin out of embarrassment hoping the problem would soon go away. Days later, the entire palms of my hands were flacking and peeling. I'd never experienced anything like it. I thought I'd been infected with some type of skin eating bacteria. The more I peeled the loose skin, the worse it became.
My peeling palms were very embarrassing but the most disturbing part was I couldn't figure out how to stop it. So finally, after days of throwing around ideas and inquiring to myself about what could have caused this, I got the notion of increasing my water intake. The amount of water I was drinking at the time was very minimal. Like now, the weather was cooler and the desire to drink water was not that strong. I figured that since I wasn't thirsty, I didn't really need to drink much water.
So for the next couple of days, I faithfully filled my water bottle and proceeded to drink water at every opportunity. I think my goal was to drink at least 2 liters a day. I promise you that 3-5 days later, the peeling stopped and by the next week, my hands we back to normal. That experience was huge for me because it really taught me the power of drinking water and, more importantly, the consequences of being dehydrated.
That whole experience got me thinking. Could the reduction of water intake during the winter months also have a negative impact on the health of my hair? Let's think about what our hair experiences during summer:
- Circulation is improved, growth is increased.
- Shedding is minimal
- The hair thrives overall
In the winter, I normally experience the opposite: super dry scalp, increased shedding, and slower growth rate. I used to think these results were just a normal part of winter but the whole palm peeling incident has really made me think. "Is it possible that some of my hair's winter symptoms have to do with my water lower intake?" When the body's water supply is insufficient, it uses whatever little water it has for critical functions such as making sure the brain and other organs are operating at proper levels. This leaves very little water for our extremities which leads to such things as dry hands, feet, lips, etc. We can see and experience dry hands and feet. But instead of moisturizing our bodies with water, we slather on lotions, butters, and lip balm to cover the problem.
The last thing I was thinking about, when my palms were peeling, was the possible impact of my dehydration on the scalp and my hair follicles. It's important to reiterate the hair strand is 25% water. Not only is the strand made up of water, it also relies on water to carry to the strand nutrients, vitamins, and proteins. If the palms of my hand were suffering at the hands of dehydration, what was going on with my hair? Looking back at my old posts from last fall/winter, one reoccurring message in my posts was about my constant shedding. Because of this, I'll make an un-proven assumption that the amount of water I drank had something to do with my dry, itchy scalp, my massive shedding, and my dry brittle hair. Once I remember being stranded on the side of a highway and, while waiting for the guy to come bring me gas, I read through an entire thread on Longhaircareforum on drinking a gallon of water day challenge. Those who managed to stick to the challenge faithfully boasted of experiencing more moisturized hair along with other desirable benefits. More specifically, they noted that their hair was more able to retain moisture overall. One member, amara11, provided us her opinion on whether increasing water intake actually could affect the already existing hair, not just the new growth. I took the liberty of posting her comment below for your reference:
This year, I'm not taking any chances. I have a new mindset when it comes to what my hair will experience this winter. It's inspiring to know there's something I can do to help manage my dry scalp and the health of my follicles. Along with the help of ultra-moisturizing hair products, I must focus on drinking enough water to make a difference this winter. Now, my water drinking will have a purpose. This purpose is motivating enough to encourage me to drink water even when I'm not thirsty. Hopefully you too have been inspired to really make a commitment to yourself regarding how much water you drink on a daily basis. I know for some drinking water isn't the easiest thing to do in the world. Heck, I only drink water and even I struggled to keep myself hydrated in the winter months. So now comes the time when we talk about some practical ways to turn our water drinking habits from a desire to reality.
One tip that I'll never forget is to start the day off with a large glass of water. At night our bodies are diligently working away to collect toxins. By drinking water first thing in the morning we jump start our digestive system and promote the removal of the toxins collected overnight. Once you've consumed your morning water, fill a couple of water bottles to take with you for drinking during your work day. When you return home refill your bottle and sip until you've drank close to half your body weight in ounces. Before getting into bed, refill another bottle so you've got water waiting for you for when you first awake in the morning. It's a process so don't get down on yourself if you don't drink as much water as you like one day. Just raise the amount even a little bit the next day.
So don't let the cooler weather rob your hair of the vital moisture it needs to thrive. We already have to deal with harsh external factors such as winter winds and lower humidity, the worst thing we can do is deprive the strands of water from the inside. Make the commitment today to combat winter dryness with plenty of water. Your hair will thank you.