Having dry skin can certainly be frustrating and uncomfortable, thanks to the itchiness and flaking that can result. And during the winter months, when the air becomes drier and colder, dry skin can become a problem for many.
There are many solutions that people rely on to offer help with dry skin, including applying moisturizer to the skin, using a humidifier at home, and avoidance of extremely hot baths and showers. But what we put into our bodies can also affect how our skin looks, especially during the colder months. Our food choices can have a profound effect on how our bodies retain moisture, at least according to some medical publications.
If you have dry skin, here are five eating and drinking habits that could be causing or worsening your condition.
The concept is quite simple to understand: if your body is not sufficiently hydrated, your skin can appear dry. Dehydration can be linked to dry skin, basically because the body doesn’t have enough fluid.
“It’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. It’s not just important for your cells to function at optimal levels, it’s also important for skin hydration” , share Sarah Allen, MDdermatologist and founder of the Skin Clique.
It is recommended to eat about 8 ounces of fish each week. Fish, especially cold-water fatty fish, contain omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, or a variety of “healthy fats” that may support factors such as cardiovascular, vision, and mental health.
And although more well-designed human clinical trials are needed, there is some evidence to suggest that the skin barrier may be influenced by these omega-3 fatty acids, with suppressive effects on dry skin-induced scratching behavior.
Drinking a glass of wine or a mug of beer once in a while probably won’t have a huge effect on the integrity of your skin. But drinking too much alcohol can have dehydrating effects on the body, which may play a role in the risk of getting dry skin.
If you fancy a cocktail, try a mocktail instead for a nice non-alcoholic drink.
Egg yolk is a nutritional powerhouse, containing a host of key nutrients including vitamin D. Some data suggests that low levels of vitamin D may be linked to skin hydration status, highlighting how consuming foods containing vitamin D can be so beneficial. A recent scientific advisory from the American Heart Association (AHA) states that “healthy individuals may include up to one whole egg or its equivalent per day” as part of a heart-healthy diet.
Not a fan of egg yolks? You can also get vitamin D in your diet by eating salmon, UV-exposed mushrooms, and 100% fortified orange juice.
Collagen is a hot ingredient in supplements, snacks, and even drinks to support healthy skin. And while some claims about this addition may be debatable, the link between collagen supply and dry skin may actually have some truth to it. Studies using a collagen tripeptide have shown a noticeable improvement in skin elasticity and hydration, suggesting that this addition may help people with dry skin. Although this remedy does not work for everyone and data is still sparse, trying it is very low risk and may help.
Allen added that if a person has “a well-balanced diet, they don’t need collagen supplements. Beef, chicken with skin and broth (chicken, pork and beef) are excellent sources of collagen and they are perfect for winter!
Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, CLEC
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning dietitian, book author and recipe creator who has been practicing for nearly 20 years. Learn more about Laurent
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