9 Healthy Foods That Will Revamp Your Dry Skin—No Moisturizer Needed

Updated: Apr. 29, 2021

Health experts identify the top foods to eat that can act as a dry skin remedy to keep your skin soft, supple, and hydrated.

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Foods to moisturize dry skin

If you have dry skin, it probably feels like there is no amount of moisturizer can help keep it soft, supple, and hydrated. (These are the best facial moisturizers for your skin type.) Now, this does not mean you should skimp out on moisturizing, but, it does mean you should look into your diet. The foods you eat contain nutrients that can help boost skin health and most importantly (for those with dry skin), keep it hydrated. (Also, this is the difference between dry and dehydrated skin.)

So, what foods are dry skin-friendly? We spoke with a wide range of experts, from registered dietitians to dermatologists, who identify the top foods people with dry skin should add to their diets and why. Also, remember, you should consult a dermatologist to see what treatment plan is best recommended based on your skin care needs.

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Eat more sweet potatoes

These tasty tubers are not only delicious but they’re super healthy and are a great for dry skin remedy. “This root vegetable—don’t forget to eat the skin—packs a double dose of skin-protecting nutrients, including vitamin A and beta carotene,” says Alex Roher, MD, a board-certified anesthesiologist in San Diego.

Why it works: Vitamin A aids in skin repair, while beta carotene strengthens the skin’s protective barrier, helping to moisturize and plump up skin cells.

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Amp up the avocados

Scoop up some guacamole. Turns out, avocados are great for people with dry skin, which may be why avocado is a key ingredient in natural face masks. These fruits and great for your hair and nails, too.

Why it works: “Avocados contain an abundance of vitamin E and monounsaturated fats—specifically omega-6 fats—that keep the skin moist and prevent the skin from aging,” says John Diaz, MD, a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills.

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Consider cucumbers

If you’ve ever layered cucumbers around your eyes to reduce puffiness, you can probably guess that there’s a reason why these antioxidant and vitamin C-containing veggies should top each and every salad—or get sliced and dropped into a refreshing ice-cold glass of water.

Why it works: The vitamin C in cucumbers, which are a nice addition to any garden, helps treat inflamed skin. The silica in the peel of the cucumber nourishes, hydrates and firms the skin, Diaz says.

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Take time for tangerines

Like many citrus fruits, tangerines are packed with vitamin A and C as well as beta carotene, which helps maintain your skin’s moisture and they may even help protect against type 2 diabetes.

Why it works: The vitamins in tangerines, especially the vitamin C, helps improve the collagen in your skin to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, firm the skin and speed up your skin’s rebuilding process. “Vitamin C helps reduce the damage caused by the sun and pollution, too,” says Abbey Sharp, RD and a YouTube host and the founder of Abbey’s Kitchen Inc.

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Consider coconut oil

This popular ingredient isn’t just great for cooking but it’s an excellent moisturizer, too, and has multiple uses for hair and nails. “You can consume it directly or use it as a cooking substitute for butter or vegetable oil,” says George Skandamis, MD, board-certified dermatologist in Columbus.

Why it works: Packed with antioxidants, coconut oil has been found to help improve the skin in those with atopic dermatitis, according to a study published in Dermatitis. “Unlike most foods, it can also be used as a topical application directly on the skin to help moisturize,” Sharp says. Be sure to check out these other 10 best face oils for dry skin too.

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Keep that water bottle handy

Staying hydrated is extremely important for fighting dry skin, says Sharp. “When you’re dehydrated on the inside, your skin starts to look dry, dull and crepey, so any fine lines become more visible.”

Why it works: Your skin is one of your largest cleansing organs and needs ongoing hydration. “You don’t need an expensive juice to cleanse your body of toxins, but you do need to make sure you stay hydrated so that your skin can do its work as a bacterial barrier and remove toxins from the skin,” she says. (Now that the warm weather is here, consider watermelon for a hydrating boost or any of these other foods to get hydrated this summer.)

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Satiate with salmon (and other fatty fish)

Fatty fish like salmon, trout, and tuna are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Your goal: Aim to eat at least four ounces of fish twice a week, says Kerry Clifford, RD and health coach at Interactive Health in Chicago.

Why it works: The fatty acids in fish are said to reduce inflammation caused by UV radiation and may help reduce the risk of inflammatory skin problems like psoriasis, dermatitis, and skin dryness.

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Seek out nuts and seeds

Filled with fiber and packed with vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids, nuts and seeds make an ideal snack for your skin. “Walnuts and flaxseed are especially rich in omega-3 fatty acids,” Clifford says.

Why it works: Count on the vitamin E in nuts and seeds, such as almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds, to help protect the skin from sun damage and inflammation, acting as a natural dry skin remedy.

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Consider asparagus your best side dish

Whether you love these green spears sautéed in EVOO or prefer to grill them and pair with lean protein like chicken, there are loads of recipes to cook up using this vegetable and you’ll be helping your skin at the same time.

Why it works: The vitamin E in asparagus helps protect and guard your skin against damage from the sun. “Asparagus also helps improve skin texture and may prevent wrinkles,” Clifford says.