There’s a reason the trite-but-true saying goes, “You are what you eat.” What you put into your body affects its appearance, including your skin. So when you eat certain hydrating, moisturizing foods, you can soothe and nourish dry skin.
Here’s what food for dry skin you should stock up on to heal, soothe, and smooth it.
1. Sardines, Herring, And Mackerel
“Eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids is one of the best choices to combat dry skin and to keep skin well-hydrated. Cold-water fish that are wild-sourced are an excellent source of Omega 3s. Best choices include salmon; eat the skin which is packed full of nutrients; [as well as] sardines, herring, and mackerel. Farm-raised fish are generally fed grain instead of the small fish that normally eat plankton, hence the reason that farm-raised fish are generally not packed with the same nutrients as wild fish,” says Robin Evans, MD
2. Pumpkin Seeds and Shellfish
Vitamin A is considered one of the best anti-agers and skin moisturizers. It’s also been proven to help smooth roughness. Zinc helps vitamin A do its job, which is why Slayton recommends eating shellfish and pumpkin seeds as foods to alleviate dry skin symptoms.
3. Sea Buckthorn
Slayton singles out sea buckthorn as her favorite moisturizing food for dry skin. “If you want luminous skin, think of this pretty orange berry that tastes like a Sour Patch Kid.” You can get shots of it at many juice purveyors like Juice Generation, or you can buy unsweetened Sibu puree. “It’s rich in omega-7 oil, beta-carotene and vitamin C, all of which help the skin conditions associated with dry skin.”
4. Citrus Fruits
“Citrus fruits help provide vitamin C, which promotes collagen formation and slows the effects of free radicals, helping to maintain firm and youthful skin,” says Taub-Dix. “Pink grapefruits also provide lycopene, an antioxidant that helps skin stay resilient and smooth. ”
Soy may be controversial, but as far as soothing dry skin, it’s a winner. “It might be a good time to try some soy milk in your latte or go for a tofu scramble,” says Taub-Dix. “Soy is rich in isoflavones that may protect against sun exposure and preserve skin-firming collagen to curtail wrinkles and prevent skin dryness.”
Eggs are high in protein, promote cell regeneration and supply sulfur and lutein, which hydrates skin and elasticity. They’re also low in fat. Studies have found that omitting the healthy fats found in foods like nuts and avocados, high-fat diets increase the chances of developing wrinkles.
7. Water-Rich, Low-Sugar Fruits
Fruits are a great way to hydrate and protect your skin because they’re full of water. In fact, eating your water is just as effective — or more so — than drinking water, given the extra nutrient boost you get with fruit. “Most fruits contain high levels of vitamins A and C, and powerful antioxidants that replenish nutrients in the skin, promote collagen production and help keep your skin supple and firm,” says Alpert. While all fruits are a positive addition to most people’s diets, opt for low-sugar fruit like berries (raspberries, cranberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries) and kiwis versus high-sugar ones such as figs, cherries, mangos, and grapes.
8. Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds are power foods that host omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, B, and E, monounsaturated fats, minerals, and antioxidants. “Foods full of vitamin E … such as nuts help retain moisture and strengthen the skin barrier,” Dr. Rhonda Q. Klein, MD/MPH tells us. Alpert also recommends nuts and seeds because of their nutritional density, ability to hydrate the skin, promotes its elasticity, helps regenerate cells, and protects against pollutants and free radicals.
9. Dark Leafy Greens
“While much of dry skin is affected by environmental factors (cold, dry, windy winter weather, long hot showers), there are foods that can help support your skin health. Foods high in vitamin C help boost immunity as well as collagen production. Look for foods like kale. Foods high in antioxidants, like leafy greens, help fight free radical damage in the skin,” says Dr. Lee.
There’s a good reason we can’t stop singing the praises of avocado (even if you’re sick of seeing it on your Instagram feed). The blend of healthy fats, proteins, and vitamins make it a powerhouse for your body inside and out. “The protein helps support the structures of collagen and elastin in your skin, while the fat keeps your skin moisturized,” says Alpert.
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