Experiencing dry skin can certainly be frustrating and uncomfortable, thanks to the itchiness and flaking that may occur as a result. And during the winter months, when the air becomes more dry and cold, dry skin can become an issue for many.
There are many solutions people lean on that offer some help in the dry skin department, including applying moisturizer on the skin, using a humidifier in the home, and avoiding extremely hot baths and showers. But what we put in our bodies may affect how our skin as well, especially during the chillier months. Our dietary choices may have a profound effect on how our body retains moisture, at least according to some medical literature.
If you are experiencing dry skin, here are five eating and drinking habits that might be causing or exacerbating your condition.
The concept is quite simple to understand: If your body is not adequately hydrated, your skin may appear dry as a result. Dehydration can be linked to dry skin, essentially because the body does not have enough fluid.
“It’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. This not only is important for your cells to function at optimal levels, it’s also important for skin hydration,” shares Sarah Allen, MD, dermatologist and founder of the Skin Clique.
It is recommended to eat approximately 8 ounces of fish every week. Fish, particularly cold-water oily fish, contain DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids, or a variety of “healthy fats” that may support factors like cardiovascular, visual, and mental health.
And although more well-designed, human-based clinical trials are needed, some data suggests that the skin barrier can be influenced by these omega-3 fatty acids, with suppressive effects on the scratching behavior induced by dry skin.
Having an occasional glass of wine or a mug of beer likely won’t have a huge effect on your skin integrity. But drinking too much alcohol can have dehydrating effects on the body, which may play into a person’s risk of experiencing dry skin.
If you are in the mood for a cocktail, try a mocktail instead for an enjoyable beverage without the booze.
The yolk of the egg is a nutritional powerhouse, containing a slew of key nutrients including vitamin D. Some data suggests that low vitamin D levels may be linked to skin hydration status, highlighting how eating foods with vitamin D can be so beneficial. A recent science advisory from the American Heart Association (AHA) indicates that “healthy individuals can include up to a whole egg or equivalent daily” as part of a heart-healthy dietary pattern.
Not a fan of egg yolks? You can also get vitamin D in your diet by eating salmon, mushrooms that are exposed to UV light, and fortified 100% orange juice.
Collagen is a hot ingredient in supplements, snacks, and even drinks to support skin health. And while some claims surrounding this addition may be questionable, the link between collagen intake and skin dryness may actually have some truth to it. Studies using collagen tripeptide showed notable improvement in skin elasticity and hydration, suggesting that this addition may help those with dry skin. While this remedy won’t work for everyone, and data is still sparse, trying it out comes with very little risk and it may help.
Allen added that if a person has “a well-balanced diet, they do not need collagen supplements. Beef, chicken with skin, and broth (chicken, pork, and beef) are great sources of collagen and they are perfect for winter!”
Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, CLEC