Everything from dehydration to seasonal changes in the weather can cause your skin to become dry and cracked. Normally, this isn’t a major issue, and many dry skin conditions can be treated relatively easily through the use of moisturising cream or ointment.
If you regularly suffer from dry skin, it’s worth taking a proactive approach to the problem. One of the best ways to do this is to improve your diet, as a diet rich in nutrients can significantly benefit your skin.
However, most of us simply don’t have the time to rigorously plan our meals based on the kinds of vitamins and minerals they contain. If that’s the case for you, it may be worth topping up your daily intake of vital nutrients by using nutritional supplements. Below, you’ll find some of the best supplements for preventing dry skin.
Cod liver oil
Fish oil (particularly cod liver oil) is well known for its ability to help maintain the skin’s natural moisture barrier, the stratum corneum. Cod liver oil supplements can help to boost your skin’s hydration and bolster its defences against inflammation and sun damage.
Better yet, cod liver oil has also been proven to improve the symptoms of psoriasis — an unpleasant skin condition that causes cracked, scaly, and dry skin. So, if you frequently suffer from dry skin, consider introducing cod liver oil capsules into your diet.
In addition to maintaining DNA and RNA (ribonucleic acid) functions and strengthening the immune system, zinc also helps to heal wounds, and can be particularly beneficial for anyone suffering from dry skin.
Zinc is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, and is known to prevent UV damage. Applied topically, zinc is a strong antibacterial and antioxidant, and is great at relieving red, inflamed skin. Most multivitamin formulations contain zinc, but this mineral can also be found in foods such as:
- Red meat
Vitamin C is great for your skin, and here’s why: it’s got antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it helps to repair damage to your skin, and it protects your skin from sun exposure. Vitamin C is present in a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, including:
- Bell peppers
Vitamin C is inexpensive and widely available as a dietary supplement. These supplements come in a variety of forms, from chewable gummies to pills and effervescent tablets. The recommended daily amount of vitamin C is 90mg for men, and 75mg for women, and ensuring you receive your daily dose can help your body to:
- Produce collagen, a vital protein that helps to maintain your skin’s elasticity
- Heal wounds
- Diminish the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines
- Even your skin tone
Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining the integrity of your skin’s natural barrier, which acts as the first line of defence against harmful bacteria. If you fail to get enough vitamin D, your skin could soon suffer from eczema or psoriasis — both of which are linked to dry skin. Vitamin D also helps to regulate the skin’s moisture levels, and similar to vitamin C, supplements are available in a wide range of forms.
Vitamin D deficiency is surprisingly common — especially here in the UK. Usually, we’d receive most of our vitamin D from sunlight, but for anyone in the northern hemisphere, the small amount of sunlight our skin does manage to absorb just isn’t enough, particularly during the winter months.
Getting enough vitamin E is vital if you want to achieve healthy, moisture-packed skin. A common ingredient in skincare products, vitamin E is an antioxidant, and as well as being widely available as a supplement, it is also commonly found in foods such as:
- Sunflower seeds
- Red bell peppers
- Wheat germ oil
Similar to vitamin C, vitamin E helps to protect your skin against the sun’s harmful UV rays, by preventing UV-induced free radical damage. It’s also been shown to help your body heal from sunburn, too.
Collagen is a protein that is naturally found in the skin and connective tissues — it’s one of the most abundant proteins in the body. Named after the Greek word for glue (“kólla”), collagen helps to hold your muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, and organs together.
However, one of collagen’s most important functions is to help provide structure and elasticity to the skin. Unfortunately though, as we age, our body's production of collagen decreases. Collagen powder is a popular supplement that can help to restore the plumpness and elasticity of your skin.
The aloe vera plant has been used for centuries to treat burns, rashes, and dry skin. Topically applied, aloe vera gel can promote the growth of new skin cells, and as a supplement, is a great antioxidant.
Psoriasis flare-ups may be better managed with aloe vera added to the mix, as its anti-inflammatory properties help ease the symptoms. The same can be said for eczema, a skin condition that causes your skin to become itchy, red, and prone to fungal and bacterial infections. This is thanks to aloe vera’s antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal properties, which can help to soothe and hydrate the skin while protecting it from further infection.
Probiotics are live bacterial cultures that help to balance the levels of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria in your body. Any skincare products you use can directly affect your skin’s microbiome, but probiotics can help to address this by topping up your levels of good bacteria.
The term ‘probiotic’ actually refers to a variety of different types of bacteria — we’ve listed three of the best for improving your skin’s health below:
- Bifidobacterium — this probiotic has been shown to reduce the skin’s sensitivity and appears to be particularly effective for patients suffering from eczema.
- Lactobacillus — reduces skin inflammation and improves skin barrier function. It may also reduce acne and redness.
- Vitreoscilla — may improve the skin’s defences by building up its natural barrier against infection.
By fulfilling your body’s nutritional needs, you’ll give your skin the best chance of defending itself against becoming dry and irritated. Of course, the best way to get your vitamins and minerals is through your diet, but if that isn’t possible, then any of the supplements above should help!