To alleviate stubbornly dry skin, moisturizing the skin is often not enough because you need to treat this concern from the inside out by increasing your consumption of the right kinds of foods.
Of course, staying hydrated is just as important, but that’s just common sense. So, which foods should you eat to rehydrate and plump up dry skin? The list below includes a variety of plant and animal foods that have been proven to increase skin health and improve skin dryness, take a gander.
1. Do not avoid oils
If you have dry skin, avoiding oils is probably the last thing you want to do. This is because the very definition of dry skin is skin deficient in lipids and consuming more oils would help your body replenish those lipids. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should start overindulging in dairy and fatty meat, as those are rich in saturated fats that are bad for the heart.
So, instead, take the plant-based route and use extra virgin cooking oils in your food. Since every cooking oil has its own unique cocktail of antioxidants and fats, it’s nice to mix things up and use a variety of oils. Some of the best oils for dry skin are:
- Olive oil - this oil has a skin-calming, anti-inflammatory effect and consists primarily of monounsaturated fat, which has been shown in studies to also increase skin elasticity and firmness.
- Flaxseed oil - may reduce sun damage and has demonstrated in studies to improve skin hydration and make skin smoother when consumed regularly.
- Pumpkin seed oil - pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of vitamin A and zinc, both of which are known to boost skin health, make it more youthful, and improve the skin’s barrier function.
If you don’t have any of these oils at home or simply don’t enjoy them in foods, don’t go out of your way and purchase them - any good quality cooking oil will help dry skin because it’s rich in lipids.
2. Red grapes
Though red grapes may not be accessible where you live year-round, it’s an excellent fruit to consider if it is available, especially since many people experience skin dryness all year, and not only in the winter. The reason why red grapes are so beneficial for dry skin is due to an ingredient called resveratrol that’s present in the skin of red grapes.
Apart from the ability of this compound to reduce the effects of skin aging, in-vitro studies also suggest that resveratrol also slows down the production of free radicals that damage the skin and make it more prone to conditions like dryness, acne, and even sun damage. In addition, grapes are among the most hydrating foods out there, consisting of about 82% water, so they make a great snack for those of you with dry skin.
3. Salmon and other kinds of cold-water fish
Plants are not the only source of healthy fats to consider if you have dry skin. In fact, eating more fish does wonders for your skin’s health, as it contains an entire cocktail of ingredients that improve skin health. As you probably know, fatty fish like salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel hold plenty of omega-3 fatty acids that are super healthy for our brain and the entire body. This includes your skin, especially when it’s dry or inflamed.
In addition, fish is a source of protein, zinc, and vitamin E, all of which reduce inflammation, help renew and produce new skin cells, and boost overall skin health. "Certain fish like halibut and yellowfin tuna also contain selenium, which preserves elastin in the skin, helping your skin stay supple, smooth, and tight," Brooke Alpert, a registered dietitian also pointed out.
4. Nuts and seeds
If you’re not a fan of fish, a great alternative source of healthy fats is nuts and seeds. As we’ve already mentioned, pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds are extremely beneficial for those who have dry skin. Many seeds and nuts, particularly almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts are rich in both omega-3 fats and vitamin E, just like fish.
Consuming any kind of nuts and seeds will improve the lipid barrier of the skin, help protect your skin from sun damage, reduce skin inflammation, so they’re essentially a natural remedy for dry skin. For some tips on which nuts to choose for you, read our previous article titled The 10 Healthiest Nuts and Their Remarkable Health Effects.
Asparagus is probably the easiest and one of the healthiest side dishes imaginable - just trim of the woodsy ends and sautee them with a touch of olive oil and maybe some garlic for 10-15 minutes, et voila, it’s ready to serve. This peculiar looking vegetable is super rich in vitamins, notably vitamin E, which guards your skin against the elements, improves skin texture, and may even prevent wrinkles.
6. Tangerines and other citrus fruit
Apart from being a festive treat, tangerines will also hydrate the skin and provide it with the much-needed vitamin C. While many are aware of the role vitamin C plays in immune health, few know of the importance of this vitamin for skin health. As a potent antioxidant, vitamin C prevents environmental damage to the skin, but the main function it plays in the skin is boosting collagen production.
Collagen is a jelly-like building block of skin, the lack of which causes wrinkles, loss of firmness, and dryness. Unfortunately, our skin tends to slow down the production of collagen with age, but vitamin C has been shown experimentally to speed up this process. In addition, not consuming enough vitamin C can lead to dry and scaly skin on its own, so make sure to consume plenty of foods that contain it to keep your skin hydrated, plump, and healthy.
Another excellent source of vitamin C that’s actually savory and not sweet is the tomato. But that’s not the only skin-beneficial ingredient tomatoes have, as they also contain carotenoids, which are essentially different versions of vitamin A. More specifically, tomatoes are rich in beta carotene, lutein, and lycopene.
These ingredients don’t just give tomatoes their bright color, they also prevent your skin from being damaged by the environment, prevent wrinkles, and promote collagen production.
8. Sweet Potatoes
An alternative side dish to consider if you have dry skin is sweet potatoes. As every orange fruit and veggie, sweet potatoes are quite rich in vitamin A and beta carotene, the skin-repairing and plumping benefits of which we’ve already touched upon. Drizzle some pumpkin seed oil on top of baked sweet potato to add some healthy fats, and you’re golden!
Cucumbers are famous for, well, being mainly water. But that’s by no means a disadvantage, especially if your skin is craving water so much. And while putting cucumber slices over the eyes was once a popular skin treatment, dermatologists and estheticians today say that you’re likely better off if you eat that cucumber instead of putting it on your skin, preferably with the peel, too. Apart from just hydrating your skin, cucumber peels hold silica, which also nourishes and calms the skin.
Most people are aware of the fact that avocados are super rich in healthy fats, which is true, but that’s not the only reason you should start eating more avocado toast and guacamole when your skin is dry. In fact, avocados are also packed with compounds called polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols and antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin according to scientific articles.
These compounds help repair the skin, protect it from environmental damage, and fight inflammation in the skin. So, definitely add some avocado goodness into your diet.
Share these tips with those who are tired of having dry skin!