Dealing with dry skin is not just about lathering skincare products on the outside! You must take care of it from the inside. Add these 8 nutrients for dry skin to your diet.

Anyone with dry skin will tell you how much it is a struggle to manage it. Dry skin means itching, irritation, flaking, and even redness. Despite constant efforts to keep the skin moisturised and smooth, you can’t seem to get rid of parched skin. If it is happening to you, it is time to hydrate your skin, not just externally but internally as well. While drinking enough water helps maintain skin moisture and keep it hydrated, you must pay attention to adding essential nutrients for dry skin in your diet. These include omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin C, and others that nourish and protect skin from within.

Symptoms of dry skin

While dry skin is common during the winter season, you may get it even in other seasons. Here are some common signs of dry skin:

  • Flaky skin
  • Skin tightness
  • Itching
  • Rough texture
  • Fine lines or cracks in skin
  • Skin peeling
  • Irritated and painful skin

8 essential nutrients for dry skin

Here are 8 nutrients that should be a part of your regular diet to deal with dry skin:

1. Vitamin C

Known for boosting immunity, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and is also a key component of collagen synthesis. “If you have dry skin and it is causing patches, flakiness, and itching, adding vitamin C to your diet can help hydrate your skin and maintain skin elasticity and firmness,” explains dermatologist Dr Rinky Kapoor. Additionally, it can accelerate the healing of damaged skin cells and enhance the skin’s ability to retain moisture. As per the Indian Dermatology Online Journal, vitamin C can help in treating hyperpigmentation, which can be triggered by dry skin.

Vitamin C rich foods: Citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons, strawberries, kiwis, and bell peppers.

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8 essential nutrients for dry skin
Citrus fruits
Eat citrus fruits to increase your vitamin C content Image courtesy: Freepik

2. Vitamin A

Vitamin A, also known as retinoids, is a fat-soluble micronutrient that is vital for both skin and hair. When it comes to skin, vitamin A promotes cell turnover and repair, keeping skin soft and smooth, according to a study published by Pharmacological Reports. It also supports the production of sebum, a natural oil that moisturises the skin.

Vitamin A rich foods: Sweet potatoes, carrots, leafy greens like spinach and kale, and liver

3. Vitamin D

Essential for bones, vitamin D is also an important nutrient for dry skin. It helps regulate skin cell growth, and repair, supporting the skin’s barrier function. “Adequate vitamin D levels can enhance moisture retention in the skin, reducing dryness and preventing conditions like eczema,” says Dr Kapoor.

Vitamin D rich foods: Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel), red meat, fortified dairy products, and egg yolks.

4. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that protects the skin from oxidative stress and damage caused by free radicals. It also helps to maintain skin barrier function by reducing water loss and keeping your skin hydrated. A study published in the Public Library of Science One indicates that vitamin E can help with skin conditions such as psoriasis and dermatitis, which are some of the causes of dry skin.

Vitamin E rich foods: Almonds, sunflower seeds, spinach, red bell pepper, and avocado.

Home remedies for dry skin
Vitamin E rich foods can help prevent dry skin. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

5. B vitamins

B vitamins, especially B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), and B7 (biotin), play essential roles in maintaining skin health. “B3 helps to improve the skin’s moisture barrier, B5 supports skin hydration, and B7 contributes to overall skin health,” says Dr Kapoor. These water-soluble vitamins must be consumed to make skin more hydrated and nourished.

Vitamin B rich foods: Get B3 from chicken, lentils, and bananas. Eat mushrooms, eggs, chickpeas, and cabbage for B5. B6 is present in nuts, and raisins.

6. Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are well-known for their anti-inflammatory properties and their ability to enhance the skin barrier. A study in the Journal Of Young Pharmacists suggests they can help reduce sunburn, mitigate cancer risks, and lessen photosensitivity. Additionally, it helps regulate oil production in the skin and promotes hydration.

Omega-3 fatty acids rich foods: Salmon, mackerel, and sardines, as well as in plant-based sources such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.

7. Zinc

From reducing breakouts to boosting collagen production, zinc is one of the crucial nutrients for the skin. It helps repair and regenerate the skin’s cells and supports the skin’s natural barrier function, preventing moisture loss. Not only this, its anti-inflammatory properties are known to prevent skin conditions such as dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema, as noted in a study published in the Journal of Dermatology.

Zinc rich foods: Oysters, beef, poultry, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

8. Collagen

Collagen makes up around 30 percent of your body’s protein and is essential for the health and structure of your skin, joints, muscles, and hair, according to a study published in Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology. As you get older, you create less collagen, which can leave your skin dry and dull. Hence, collagen is essential for skin health.

Collagen rich foods: Bone broth, chicken, salmon, sardines, citrus fruits, berries, leafy green vegetables, and nuts.

Collagen rich foods
Collagen also hydrates your skin. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Causes of dry skin

There are several reasons why you may develop dry skin. Here are 7 common factors that can contribute to dry, patchy skin:

  • Excessive heat and sun exposure without enough SPF protection can damage your skin barrier function, causing dry skin.
  • Washing your face so many times or excessive bathing a day with harsh soaps can disrupt the skin’s natural oils.
  • Skin ageing can also reduce the chances of retaining moisture for the skin and stay hydrated.
  • Certain skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, can cause chronic dryness.
  • Lifestyle factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and poor nutrition can contribute to dehydrated skin by impairing skin barrier function.

Importance of drinking water for skin

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration, which can have negative effects on your skin, leaving it itchy, dull, and dry. Drinking enough water throughout the day helps hydrate the body from within, ensuring that skin cells receive adequate moisture.

When adequately hydrated, the skin maintains its elasticity and barrier function, preventing dryness and promoting a healthy skin tone. “Drink at least 8 glasses or 2 liters of water per day to keep yourself well hydrated and support overall skin health, making it less prone to dryness,” suggests Dr Kapoor.

Woman drinking water
Do no leave yourself dehydrated Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

5 other tips to deal with dry skin

Follow these 5 tips as well to protect your skin and prevent dryness:

1. Keep your bath short, 5-10 minutes should be enough.
2. Use a mild, hydrating cleanser to avoid stripping natural oils.
3. Apply moisturiser immediately after bathing to lock in moisture.
4. Bathe or shower in lukewarm water to prevent further drying of the skin.
5. Wear sunscreen daily to shield skin from UV rays that can exacerbate dryness.
6. Never scratch regardless of how much it itches. Apply a moisturiser wherever you feel the need to scratch.

A diet rich in these essential nutrients and vitamins can help prevent dry skin!

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