Skin turgor

  • Alternative Names

    Doughy skin; Poor skin turgor; Good skin turgor; Decreased skin turgor

    Home Care

    A quick check of skin turgor by pinching the skin over the back of the hand, on the abdomen, or over the front of the chest under the collarbone is a good way to check for dehydration at home.

    Mild dehydration will cause the skin to be slightly slow in its return to normal. To rehydrate, drink more fluids -- particularly water.

    If turgor is severe, indicating moderate or severe dehydration, see your health care provider immediately.

    Call your health care provider if
    • Poor skin turgor occurs with vomiting, diarrhea, or fever.
    • During a check of skin turgor the skin is very slow to return to normal, or the skin "tents" up. This can indicate dehydration that is severe enough to require immediate treatment.
    • You have reduced skin turgor and are unable to increase your intake of fluids (for example, because of vomiting).

    What to expect at your health care provider's office

    The health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your medical history, including:

    • How long have you had symptoms?
    • What other symptoms came before the change in skin turgor (vomiting, diarrhea, others)?
    • What have you done to try to treat the condition?
      • Did it make it better?
      • Is it getting worse?
    • What other symptoms do you have (such as dry lips, decreased urine output, and decreased tearing)?

    Tests that may be performed:

    • Blood chemistry (such as a chem-20)
    • CBC
    • Urinalysis

    Intravenous fluids may be necessary for severe dehydration. You may need medications to treat other conditions that affect skin turgor and elasticity.