Do certain food & drinks make your skin drier?

I noticed that on some days, my skin becomes exceptionally dry for unknown reasons. I use the same products and I don’t notice a major change in the environment so I can’t tell what’s the cause. Initially, I thought it was due to my hormones but recently, I wonder if it might be due to the amount of tea I drink on those days. I usually just down a cup in the morning but if I work at home, then I might down another two more cups of tea in the afternoon.

Tea is commonly said to dehydrating because it is a caffeinated beverage that depletes our body of fluid. However, this claim has been dismissed as an urban myth (source: BBC News). Personally however, I do find that even drinking a cup of tea in the morning makes me thirsty and I need to visit the toilet almost immediately. So despite the health benefits, I still think it’s best to drink tea in moderation.  One or two cups won’t have much effect but if you tend to drink three or more, chances are you may feel you need more water to compensate for the thirst. I find drinking green tea has the same effect even though it is often said to be beneficial for our health and skin.

I do not drink coffee often enough to conclude if it is the same as tea but coffee is also known to be diuretic and is often said to have a dehydrating effect as well. Drinking caffeinated beverages depletes the body of fluids, which will require drinking even more water (source). Again that has been refuted and it is even said that regular users develop a strong tolerance to this effect, and that studies have generally failed to support the common notion that ordinary consumption of caffeinated beverages contributes significantly to dehydration.

There are definitely differences in the ability of different people to metabolize caffeine. In general, however, low to moderate amounts of caffeine consumption do not appear to increase water loss very significantly. By “low to moderate,” we mean a consumption level that keeps caffeine under 250 milligrams. A “standard” 8-ounce cup of coffee would usually contain at least half this amount, and in many cases would contain this entire amount. And a large, specialty coffee (like a 16-ounce “grande”) might contain over twice this level.
(Source: WHFoods)

But then again, caffeine is also known to be a stimulant that increases heart rate and cardiac output. An increased cardiac output do send more blood to the kidneys, causing an increased amount of urine excretion, leading to the dehydration. Hence, it is still best to drink coffee in moderation.

Soda and bubbly drinks
Both regular or diet soda are also said to cause dehydration because they contain sodium, which cause acidity. Carbonated water has dissolved carbon dioxide in its composition, which is also highly acidic, so avoid other bubbly drinks as well.  Anyway, they are a very unhealthy source of beverage and should be consumed only occasionally.

This is definitely a diuretic that draws water from the body and dehydrates the skin. If you had a lot to drink the night before, you’ll most probably notice your skin looking kind of dry with irregular skin tone the morning after.

Salty food
While our bodies need some amount of salt, too much salt will cause dehydration. I think there’s no doubt that eating a bag of chips or pretzels makes us thirsty and in need of water. So yes, I think salty food, especially those found in tidbits, do dry out skin.

As with most other experiences, the effects of taking such food and beverages may differ with individuals. However, I think the saying that “too much of anything isn’t a good thing” holds truth. Like even drinking water is said to be good, drinking too much of it may pose a health hazard for some people!

What’s your say?

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  1. pf1123 says

    Totally agree.

    Btw, I think we should take the pro caffine reports with a pinch of salt. Tea and coffee are too big a business in the world to be ignored. People trade them as commodities in the financial markets. Very high possibilities of businesses influencing scientific research. We don’t really know who is truly independent now. Sorry to sound so skeptical…I do enjoy my tea and coffee, but not in large quantities.

    Yes, you’re right. Moderation is the way to go for a reasonably healthy lifestyle and diet nowadays. :)

  2. Happy Feet says

    I am wondering aloud if drinking diuretic beverages actually lead to more clog pores, as the skin produces more oil to combat dryness? I notice this when I started drinking more coffee a few years ago.

    • sesame says

      You did? Sounds like the culprit is still due to dry skin with clog pores being a side effect of it.

  3. Rinka says

    after a big night out, i definitely notice my skin looks more sallow and dull. but the fun part of that is that i get to do all kinds of face masks and treatments for my skin lol, though i guess prevention is the key.

    i drink a cup of instant coffee every morning but i dont feel it has a diuretic effect on me. diet coke on the other hand makes me need to use the bathroom like every 5 minutes!

    • sesame says

      One cup shouldn’t have much effect. Anyway, it’s good you’re giving your skin regular treatments.

  4. says

    I cannot do without a huge mug of freshly brewed coffee every morning. Its one of the reasons I get out of bed. But I do drink lots of water to compensate for this indulgence. A cup or two of tea and coffee is okay if you are keeping up your two litres of water a day routine.

  5. says

    when you refer to tea, do you mean green tea or black tea.. cos i think green tea is supposed to be beneficial to the skin!

    • sesame says

      I’m referring more to black tea but green tea has about the same effect if I drink too many cups.

  6. stella says

    alcohol definitely makes my skin more dehydrated and duller but since i don’t drink all that much (too tired for fun after work; i love drinking actually lol!), it doesn’t bother me. i do drink a lot of tea daily, i just like tea and drink at least 4 cups a day–before 2pm only, as i’m insomniac; it does make me go to the toilet more but i drink water constantly in an airconditioned room as i’m always dehydrated due to the cold air anyway, so it’s ok. i do try to keep coffee to just 1 cup a day if i do have any at all, it dries my skin out more than tea. i think tea in all forms has actually benefitted my skin, which looks younger than my actual age; my mom, who is a huge tea drinker also has young-looking skin; but maybe it’s just genes *shrug*

    • sesame says

      I think the drinks affect different people in different ways. I think drinking tea and coffee is okay, as long as there is some moderation there. Alcohol and soda probably occasionally. I believe the Japanese also drink lots of tea, and their complexion is generally known to be good so probably it’s the lifestyle and diet as a whole too?

  7. KTee says

    A speaker at a beauty workshop i attended years ago said that we needed to drink 6 cups of water to make up for the dehydration caused by a cup of coffee or tea!! I have no idea how true was that but i agree that coffee and tea do make me feel more ‘thirsty’.

  8. jolie says

    i’ve got a question for discussion: between suntanning and smoking(either 1st hand/2nd hand smoking), which do you guys think harm the skin more? causing it to be dry/lack of collagen etc?

    • sesame says

      I would say both are harmful and smoking is bad for health but if you want me to choose, I’ll say suntanning does more harm to the skin based on my experience.

  9. stiffedneck says

    I’ve just recently did a quick research on the internet to see how many cups of water to make up for drinking one cup of coffee. And now they say that still count that one cup of coffee as your daily liquid intake. 98% of coffee itself is water while the other 2% is flavor (coffee). My gf drinks 4 cups of coffee a day, doesn’t drink any water, and sometimes a bit of tea and her skin’s fine. While her sister lives much a healthier lifestyle, yet her skin’s always bad and dermatologists are her friend. So I don’t know what to make out of that.
    I also read a lot of articles saying that whatever your weight is (in pounds), divide that number in half, and that’s how many ounces you should drink a day because not everyone’s the same. So say I’m 100 lbs, I should drink 50 ounces a day. I don’t drink water, so everyday I drink 52 oz of green tea (3 tea bags).

    • sesame says

      Yes, that’s what is said. There were many disputes that liquids we consume should be counted as water intake but I think the ingredients in the beverage might make a difference to how thirsty we’ll feel later. But then again, it really depends on individual. Some pple can take more without any effects than others.

  10. fwy says

    I only drink Genmai Cha nowadays. I believed the caffeine level is rather low. Not sure they will dry my skin though?

    • sesame says

      I suppose if the caffeine level is low, then the effects will be minimal especially if you don’t drink too many cups. It should be more beneficial…

  11. says

    Awww, I drink like 5-7 cups of black tea a day, and I do think it has negative effect on my skin… But what to substitute it with? I can only stand drinking a certain amount of water, and rest of the drinks are so stuffed with sugar :(

    • sesame says

      Try to drink lesser cups of tea and drink more water. Water is bland I know…try adding a slice of lemon.

  12. says

    Yes, for every cup of caffeinated beverage that you drink, you need to drink twice the amount of water to replenish the fluid loss caused by it.

    Very interesting and informative post.

    • sesame says

      Twice? Wow, that’s quite a lot especially if one were to drink 3 to 4 cups of coffee or tea a day.

  13. chenyze says

    hmm and i also noticed that when i gulp down water too fast, it tends to not be absorbed (i.e. have to run to the toilet in like half an hour!) compared to when i actually sip it slowly.

    • sesame says

      Oh? That’s interesting…I wonder why. I remember someone wrote in one of the comments that it’s better to sip water slowly than gulp down to enjoy the benefits.


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