Many suffer from dry skin during winter months, when the skin is exposed to indoor heat and cold, dry air. Skin is also prone to dryness as we age, when thinning skin traps fewer natural oils. Yet at times, dry skin is a sign of an underlying health condition, like eczema, psoriasis or autoimmune disease.
How does diet play a role in dry skin?
Many nutrients play an integral role in the health of your skin. Here are three:
Essential Fatty Acid Deficiency
Fats differ widely in their impact on our bodies. Knowing your fats can make all the difference to your health. Trans fat, such as those found in processed foods can be pro-inflammatory. This can also be true of high amounts of saturated fats, as in animal products including dairy. The opposite is true of omega 3 fats, as in fish oil. These can reduce inflammation in the body. Plant-based oils from nuts and avocados are good sources of healthy monounsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats, like olive oil, grapeseed oil and salmon also help produce the skin's natural oil barrier, which are necessary to promote hydrated, supple and younger looking skin.
B vitamin deficiency. B vitamins are essential for cell repair and renewal. They also help to manage stress by promoting energy production your body needs. Food sources include legumes, dark leafy greens, meat, whole grains, eggs, sunflower seeds, almonds, avocados, banana and citrus.
Skin Care Routine
Lastly, pay closer attention to your skin care habits. Over-washing, using harsh soaps, fragrances and chemicals and anything alcohol based can only cause more dryness. Minimize shower and bath time. Apply moisturizers containing emollient oils (like jojoba) right after your shower to seal in moisture.
If you have very dry or cracked skin and/or itching consult your dermatologist. This may be a sign of an underlying condition which may require further assessment and treatment.