Moisture levels play an important role in overall skin health. If your skin type is dry, dehydrated, or somewhere in between, replenishing hydration can be a challenge. The key to maintaining healthy skin is balancing nutrition, skin care, and other lifestyle factors. Incorporating some of the best food for dry skin into your diet is one way to encourage hydrated skin.

Nutrition and Skin Health

Nutrition can directly affect your skin health. When it comes to replenishing moisture in dry skin, this means amping up your water intake from both food and drink.

Remember that not all foods are equally beneficial to the skin. Mayo Clinic recommends avoiding foods that can cause skin damage, such as processed food, refined sugar, simple carbohydrates, and unhealthy fats. These foods can accelerate aging and weaken the skin's natural barrier against external elements, making it even more challenging to maintain hydrated skin.

Best Food for Dry Skin

Making good nutrition a priority can go a long way when it comes to dry skin. Although you're unlikely to see results overnight, incorporating more foods that help dry skin into your diet can make a real difference over time.

1. Foods High in Water Content

As may be obvious, water is a quick source of hydration. When you drink water, your cells become hydrated—and this includes skin cells. Fortunately, many foods are rich in water. Fruits and vegetables are a great example given that they are made predominantly of water content. Some of the most hydrating foods are cucumber, lettuce, celery, tomato, zucchini, melons, and berries. When you eat foods rich in water content, your skin reaps the hydrating benefits.

2. Fruits and Vegetables

There are many reasons why dietary guidelines across the globe recommend multiple servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Not only are they a great source of water content that dry skin is longing for, but they're also full of nutrients that are beneficial to the skin.

Fruits and vegetables are among the best food for dry skin because they contain antioxidants, essential fatty acids, water, vitamins, minerals, and other compounds—a concoction of nutrients that will perk up dry skin. Healthline specifically recommends red grapes, avocados, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, and broccoli.

3. Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fatty fish is often touted as one of the best foods to help dry skin. This is because they're one of the most potent sources of essential fatty acids, which are known to improve skin barrier health and plump up the natural lipids in skin. When you have a healthy skin barrier, it works to seal in moisture and ward off aggressors that compromise healthy, hydrated skin. Plant-based sources include flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, soy, pumpkin seeds, and canola oil.

4. Plenty of Protein

Proteins are often referred to as the building blocks of life. This is because every cell in the human body contains protein. The role of protein is to encourage development, repair wounds, and create new healthy cells.

When it comes to skin health, and dry skin in particular, foods rich in protein will encourage healthy levels of proteins called collagen, elastin, and keratin. These proteins help maintain a healthy skin barrier, as well as firmness and elasticity.

5. Other Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins A, C, and E are all essential antioxidants for skin health. They help fight off free radicals, which can weaken the skin barrier and speed up aging. Dark leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, and collards, are excellent sources of antioxidant-rich vitamins. Vitamin D is also linked to increased moisture in skin. Dietary sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, eggs, milk, and fortified foods, such as soy milk.

Certain minerals, such as zinc and selenium, are also especially beneficial for dry skin. Seeing as zinc is anti-inflammatory, it can prevent skin dryness and redness. Legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains are excellent sources of zinc. Selenium is a notable mineral for dry skin because it boosts antioxidant properties and prevents rough, itchy skin. Some of the best sources of selenium include Brazil nuts, fish, tofu, whole-wheat pasta, and mushrooms.

Skin Care Tips to Hydrate Dry Skin

Tailoring your skin care routine to dry skin doesn't have to be extensive and complicated. A simple skin care routine for dry skin should include the following:

  1. A gentle cleanser that doesn't strip the skin of its moisture. Some facial cleansers are too harsh on the skin. They're designed to wash away excess sebum and dirt, but they take the skin's natural oils with them. Swap in a gentle yet effective facial cleanser that leaves skin feeling balanced.

  2. A hydrating moisturizer that contains moisture-boosting ingredients. Hyaluronic acid is especially great for dry skin because it encourages hydrated and supple skin.

  3. A broad-spectrum sunscreen that fights off free radical damage from sun exposure. Sunscreen acts like a shield, protecting your skin from environmental stressors that weaken the skin barrier. Having a strong and healthy skin barrier will help your skin retain moisture and appear supple and plump.

Other ways to care for dry skin include getting enough sleep, managing stress, and drinking plenty of water. Though a harsh and dry climate can also affect your skin's moisture levels, hydrating your body on the inside and out can help alleviate dry skin. Implementing a moisturizing skin care routine and incorporating foods that help dry skin is a great place to start.