No one likes having Sahara Desert-level dry skin. But if your regular skin care regimen isn’t cutting it, trying different vitamins for dry skin can help you out.
Here’s how to treat the issue from the inside out. Just make sure you chat with a healthcare professional before introducing a new supplement to your diet.
1. Vitamin C
Normally, the skin contains high levels of vitamin C: up to 64 milligrams per 100 grams of epidermis, to be exact. When it falls below that level, your skin might start feeling a little zapped of moisture.
Meanwhile, a 2016 study of 152 women found that a 54 milligram supplement of vitamin C, zinc, and marine protein, helped to significantly reduce rough skin.
2. Vitamin D
No, not the same vitamin D that Bey was singing about. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that does a lot for your whole bod, including playing a key role in skin barrier protection and skin cell growth.
A 2019 study also found that a supplement containing 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D significantly boosted skin hydration in participants.
But since the supplement contained a combo of nutrients (including vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E), it’s unclear whether straight vitamin D would have the same impact.
However, a 2013 study did find a correlation between vitamin D levels and skin hydration, so it just might be worth picking up a bottle online or at your local drugstore.
Are you actually vitamin D deficient?
3. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory benefits. It’s also been used by derms for over 50 years thanks to its many skin-boosting benefits. Ingesting it may help heal wounds, combat acne, and prevent skin cancer, to name just a few.
A 2015 study also found oral Vitamin E to be effective in treating eczema, a skin condition that causes dryness, redness, and itchiness.
Since Vitamin E helps protect against free radical damage, adding it to your diet just might soothe your skin’s dryness issue.
You can find it naturally in many plant-based oils, nuts, seeds, fruits, and veggies, including peanut butter, sunflower seeds, spinach, red bell peppers, and avocados. If you want an added dose, a supplement may do the trick.
Vitamin E has a similar effect as gamma-Linolenic acid (GLA), which is also often recommended for people with dry skin or eczema. GLA supplements can be found in oils like borage oil, evening primrose oil, and black currant oil.
4. Fish oil
Dietary supplements containing fish oil may help boost skin hydration and bolster the skin’s fatty acid barrier (basically offering added protection against elements and locking in moisture).
Fish oil also may help treat psoriasis, a chronic, inflammatory skin disease that causes outbreaks of dry, irritated patches on the skin. A 2015 study found that a daily supplement of fish oil for a period of 6 weeks to 6 months improved symptoms.
Another 2015 study of rats with induced dry skin revealed that oral fish oil supplements significantly boosted skin hydration, reduced water loss, and relieved itchiness compared to rats who didn’t get the supplement.
Though humans obviously aren’t rats, evidence suggests that your skin may respond similarly when taking a fish oil supplement.
You’ve prob heard about loading up on probiotics to treat those dreaded UTIs or yeast infections. That’s because probiotics help balance the “good” bacteria in your gut, keeping you healthy and regular.
Preliminary research also hints at a link between probiotic consumption and healthy, hydrated skin. A 2015 study found that giving subjects a dose of Lactobacillus plantarum bacteria on the daily boosted skin barrier function and hydration after 8 weeks.
While the research isn’t conclusive, a diet rich in probiotics might just help skin stay soft, smooth, and hydrated.
Probiotics are found in foods like yogurt, kefir, kombucha, pickles, miso, sauerkraut, and kimchi. But if your diet isn’t giving you enough of that good gut stuff, you may want to consider a probiotic supplement.
A 2019 study of 69 women found that participants who took 2.5 to 5 grams of collagen per day (for 8 weeks) had significant improvements in skin hydration and elasticity.
A review of 11 studies also found that taking 2.5 to 10 grams of oral collagen supplements a day for 4 to 24 weeks boosted skin hydration and treated dry skin.
Basically, research suggests that collagen supplementation just might give you the hydration you need to truly #glow.
7. Hyaluronic acid
Hyaluronic acid as a skin care ingredient can work wonders for diminishing fine lines and pumping up the hydration in your skin.
When applied topically, it helps the skin retain moisture to help combat dry skin and make skin appear smoother and plumper.
So far, there’s limited research on the effects of nomming on oral hyaluronic acid.
But, one 2017 study found that a hyaluronic acid supplement combined with biotin, vitamin C, copper, and zinc significantly improved skin moisture and elasticity. It also helped skin roughness and wrinkles in participants after 40 days.
While it’s too early to chock up all the benefits to hyaluronic acid, it just might be worth adding to your supplement arsenal. Just be sure to chat with your dermatologist or doc before you do.
Ceramides are fat molecules that make up 50 percent of your skin’s natural barrier. While they’re relatively new on the skin care scene, these lipids help protect the skin against the elements and lock in moisture.
In a 2018 study of 114 women, researchers found that a ceramide supplement significantly reduced eye wrinkle volume over a period of 8 weeks, which may point to its moisture-retention benefits.
While the research on ingesting ceramide remains limited, there is significant evidence to suggest topical ceramide boosts skin hydration. One 2018 study found ceramide cream successfully mimicked the skin’s “own natural moisturizing symptoms” and reduced dryness in subject participants.
9. Aloe vera
Aloe vera‘s skin care benefits go beyond soothing redness and irritation from baking in the sun. The plant contains a bunch of mucopolysaccharides, which is a molecule chain that helps hydration and is often found in moisturizers.
In a 2016 study of 64 women, researchers found that taking supplements of aloe vera-derived fatty acids for 12 weeks significantly improved skin moisture and elasticity compared to a placebo.
Since it’s more commonly found in topical form, the research remains limited when it comes to supplements. However, early science does seem to suggest that it may just be the natural dryness remedy you need.
Supplements might help improve your dry skin, but other underlying conditions could be blame that go beyond your skin.
Dehydration is a common cause of skin dryness, and you might want to try sipping on more H2O first and foremost. Drinking water is often an effective (and amazingly simple!) way to improve skin hydration.
Aside from dehydration, there are other underlying health conditions that can contribute to dry skin. Eating an unhealthy diet, having micronutrient deficiencies, or eating too little may cause or worsen your dry skin prob.
Certain diseases and illnesses can also cause dry skin, like kidney disease, hypothyroidism, anorexia, psoriasis, or allergies.
So, if your skin’s super dry — it could signal much more than an aesthetic issue. Chatting with a healthcare pro if you experience persistent and regular skin dryness might be your next step.
Some simple lifestyle changes may also help you get some much-needed dry skin relief. Here are a few dermatologist-approved tips:
- Limit your shower or bath to just 5 or 10 minutes. Sure, it feels good, but too much moisture can actually dry out your skin.
- Wash with warm instead of scorching-hot water.
- Apply a minimal amount of cleanser. A dot is a lot!
- Use a mild, fragrance-free cleanser and body wash. The fancy stuff can cause unnecessary irritation.
- When you hop out of the shower or wash your face, gently blot your skin until it’s damp, not totally bone-dry. This will help your skin retain moisture.
- Apply some moisturizer immediately after washing your skin or showering. (Look for products with all-star ingredients like jojoba oil, glycerin, mineral oil, lactic acid, or shea butter.)