Does Being Dehydrated Cause Pimples?

When your body loses more water -- through urination, tears, sweat and respiration -- than it takes in, you can become dehydrated. You can also lose fluids when you are sick and vomiting or experiencing diarrhea. Dehydration adversely affects your health overall, causing seizures, brain swelling, coma and even death, but even a mild case can detract from your skin's health 5. .

Clogged Pores

Dehydration adversely affects the skin by making it overly dry and rough and causing it to peel 5. As a result of dehydration, you might experience an increase in dead skin cells on the top layer of skin 5. These cells can accumulate and clog the pores, a problem that may worsen when normal dirt and debris on the skin combine with the dead cells. Clogged pores, in turn, contribute to the development of acne pimples or aggravate them. As such, dehydration can indirectly cause pimples 5.

Overproduction of Oil

The skin contains sebaceous glands that keep it well lubricated. When your skin becomes overly dry as a result of dehydration, these glands may go into overdrive and produce extra oil 5. Excess oil combines with dead skin cells, dirt, dust and other particles to clog the pores and produce acne pimples. The presence of bacteria on the surface of the skin only makes matters worse and further encourages pimple development.

Skin Care Mistakes

You may make common skin care mistakes as you attempt to deal with pimples that develop because of dehydration 5. For example, using an oily moisturizer to combat your dry skin can further clog pores and contribute to additional pimple development. You might also wash your skin more often, using a skin cleanser helpful for treating pimples. Often, these cleansers contribute to dehydration of the skin's surface, which compounds the lack of hydration that affects the whole body 5.


When you are dehydrated, your top priorities will likely include hydrating with water and fluids that restore electrolytes, which are minerals essential for organ health. In some cases, medical treatment may prove necessary as well. Once you are well hydrated, you can attend to your skin. For example, you may use a humidifier and water-based moisturizer to relieve dryness. You might also benefit from choosing a mild cleanser that does not overdry the skin. In addition, restoring your body to a properly hydrated state will promote clear skin from the inside out.