If you’re looking for a cure for dry skin, you may want to make some changes to your diet. Dr. Cynthia Baily, a dermatologist in Sebastopol, California, who has her own skin care line, says that there is no substitute for eating natural foods to keep skin healthy. If you are thinking of taking vitamin supplements, reconsider and fill your diet with foods that promote healing for dry skin conditions. Before changing your diet, talk to your health care provider about curing dry skin with therapeutic nutrition.
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Include essential fatty acids in your diet. Dry skin needs essential fatty acids to protect the skin’s outer lipid layer, but make sure you are eating or cooking with the right fats. The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends avoiding foods that are high in fat and cholesterol if you have psoriasis, a condition that causes dry patches on the skin. Use un-hydrogenated vegetable oils for cooking. For low temperature cooking, use olive oil. For high temperature cooking, use Canola oil.
Eat plenty of fruits and drink fresh fruit juice to keep skin hydrated and protected from free radical damage. Fruits are therapeutic for dry skin because they are high in antioxidant vitamins and water. According to the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, approximately 80 percent of raw fruit is water. Fruits, especially citrus fruits, help the skin produce collagen, which gives skin a plump, moisturized look and feel. You will also benefit from the rich source of bioflavonoids if you eat the fruit's peel. Bioflavonoids protect the skin from free radical damage and help vitamins work better.
Add plenty of green leafy vegetables to your diet, such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and spinach. These vegetables contain important phytochemicals that act as free radical scavengers in the body. They protect the skin from the harsh effects of the sun and other environmental factors that dry skin and prematurely age skin.
Include foods that contain lipoic acid. A study published in the September 2010 edition of the “British Journal of Dermatology” suggests that foods that contain lipoic acid can reduce dry skin and damage caused by sun exposure. Foods that contain lipoic acid include tomatoes, poultry, calf liver, round steak and green leafy vegetables.
Make sure your diet contains fiber. Fiber flushes toxic chemicals from the body such as smoke, smog, stress hormones and other environmental factors that can cause dry skin. However, be careful about filling up on fiber. According to The American Dietetic Association, too much fiber intake prevents the body from absorbing important vitamins and nutrients that are vital for healthy, moist skin. The daily fiber recommendation for women is 25 grams for those under 50 and 21 grams for those over 50. For men, daily fiber intake should be 38 grams daily for those under 50 and 31 grams for those over 50.
- Dr. Bailey's Skincare: Dermatologist’s Nutritional Recommendations for Healthy Skin, Hair and Nails Naturally
- National Psoriasis Foundation: Eating Well and Psoriasis
- University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture: Water Content of Fruits and Vegetables
- Natural Health Research: The Alternative Approach: Lycopene-Rich Tomatoes Can Do Your Skin Good
- American Dietetic Association: Fiber