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What Vitamins and foods should I take to improve dry skin? I've recently lost a lot of weight but I notice my skin has become more dry than before and look somewhat scaly. I've tried many different body lotions and moisturizers but none seem to work enough on extremely dry skin. I think it may have something to do with my recent weight loss because I've had very oily skin my whole life. – Juliette, New York.


Which Vitamins Help Dry Skin?


Hi Juliette,

It's good to hear you've lost weight. You're right; it's possible that your dry skin problem is appearing now due to weight loss, more so if you cut fat out completely from your diet.

Fats aren't necessarily bad for you. Your body needs small amounts of good quality fats –  essential fatty acids (EFAs) – to keep your skin strong and healthy, and stop it from losing its natural moisture and suppleness.

If you don't eat enough fats, fat-soluble Vitamins (A, D, E and K) pass right though your digestive tract without being absorbed. Therefore, you can't take in the essential nutrients you need to maintain good skin health. Most skin care experts agree that we should aim for around 20 grams of fats per day to help keep our skin lubricated, stimulate collagen production and absorb Vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant the helps prevent signs of premature aging such as fine lines and wrinkles.

To ensure you're getting enough fat and not sabotage your diet, my suggestion is to consume moderate amounts of foods rich in healthy fats (omega 3 fats) such as seeds (flax, sunflower, pumpkin), nuts (almonds, walnuts), avocado, oily fish (such as salmon, tuna, mackerel) and olive oil rather than sweet treats that are high in saturated fats or even trans fats, sugar and empty calories.

Essential fatty acids will also help treat dry skin conditions, pimples and acne. Eczema and psoriasis sufferers can benefit from the anti-inflammatory effect of omega 3 commonly found in oily fish.


What Foods and Vitamins Are Good for Dry Skin?

Vitamins A, C, E act as potent antioxidants, protecting your skin from free radicals and oxidative stress caused by a number of external factors such as sun exposure and pollution among other things. Free radicals have been known to accelerate skin aging and damage collagen deep within the skin, causing wrinkles, skin blotches, and inflammation.


Vitamin A

What does Vitamin A do for your skin? Vitamin A helps your body to regenerate healthy skin cells and improve collagen production, giving your skin a firmer and tighter texture, so you look and feel younger.

Vitamin A is very good for improving the condition of dry skin and prematurely aged skin. It helps prevent dry skin by stimulating sebum production (your skin's own natural oil), which is necessary for keeping skin moist and hydrated.

In addition, this powerful antioxidant also has antibacterial properties to fight off skin infections and will greatly benefit people with skin conditions such as acne, pimples, psoriasis, and eczema.

Vitamin A is found plentifully in liver, tuna, sardine, fish oil and eggs, but you can also find it in spinach, broccoli and mozzarella cheese. Vit A is also available in a wide variety of yellow-orange colored fruits and vegetables such as sweet potato, squash, pumpkin, carrots, apricots and papaya. All of them are rich in the carotenoid pigments, which your body converts to Vitamin A.

I strongly recommend you drink a glass of fresh carrot juice every day; it's a delicious and powerful antioxidant drink that does wonders for dry skin.




Vitamin C

Vitamin C (or ascorbic acid) is another potent antioxidant Vitamin that aids in the production of collagen. Collagen is a natural protein found in connective tissue that keeps your skin elastic and firm.

Not only required for the synthesis of collagen and elastin to boost your skin's elasticity and firmness, Vitamin C also helps repair damaged skin cells and tissues, and fights the effects of free radicals and photoaging on your skin.

In addition to that, Vit C also helps inhibit melanin production, and may assist in reducing skin pigmentation, thereby lightening dark skin.

Vitamin C, like Vitamin B, is a water soluble vitamin and is not stored in your body so you have to consume it daily. If you don't have enough Vitamin C in your diet, your skin will become dry and scaly and feel rough and bumpy. Good sources of Vitamin C include parsley, spinach, green peppers, tomatoes, cranberries, and citrus fruits such as orange, lemon, and grapefruit.




Vitamin E

Vitamin E is highly popular and widely used in many beauty products as it plays a critical role in anti-aging skincare regime. Its excellent moisture-retaining quality strengthens your skin's barrier function and keeps your skin hydrated and plump-looking, thereby reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Vit E also helps produce new skin cells and tissues by improving blood circulation throughout your body.

Vitamin E is found in abundance in many foods such as avocado, wheat germ, almonds, flaxseeds, asparagus, and all kinds of vegetable oils such as olive, sunflower, sesame, and corn oil.




Other Nutrients

Zinc and biotin are other nutrients that are just as important as Vitamins A, C and E for dry skin.

Zinc is a mineral with antioxidant activity that is helpful in treating skin problems like acne, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. You can obtain zinc from foods such as oysters, shellfish, red meats, baked beans, peas, yogurt, cheese, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

Biotin (also known as Vitamin H or Vitamin B7) is essential for healthy skin. A low  biotin intake can cause dry and scaly skin. Biotin is commonly found in foods such as mushrooms, brewers yeast, beans, whole grains, cooked eggs, pecans, and bananas.



In order to maintain healthy and beautiful skin, you shouldn't overlook the importance of proper hydration. Drink around 8-10 glasses of water a day, and you'll see a massive improvement in your skin – radiantly fresh, smoother, and alive!

If you don't like the taste of plain water, try livening it up with a squeeze of fresh lemon, lime or orange juice. Alternatively, add a splash of fresh fruit juice like watermelon or cranberry. A small sprig of mint leaves in ice cold water will also do the trick, and at the same time, help you burn some calories.




By Diane Hanson


what foods and vitamins improve dry skin

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