There's a supplement for seemingly every ailment these days—to thicken and grow hair, to reset your gut health, and even for energy and relaxation. Some have even used adaptogenic herbs in their coffee each morning as a replacement for an Adderall prescription (naturally, make sure to talk to your doctor before taking a new supplement and discuss any possible negative effects). So as health and wellness trends continue to skew holistic, we wondered if vitamins for dry skin were a plausible solution to add to our skincare routine.
We reached out to both a celebrity nutritionist and a supplement expert for their thoughts. Of course, before you add any supplements to your diet, be sure to talk to your doctor.
Meet the Expert
- Elissa Goodman is a celebrity nutritionist based out of Los Angeles. She specializes in holistic healing through food while educating clients on the power of nutrition.
- Jeffrey Gladd, MD, is an integrative physician who emphasizes the power nutrition has on health. His work has lead him to create a nutrition depletion calculator and advise vitamin company Care/Of.
Read on to learn more about the top expert-recommended vitamins to keep dry skin hydrated.
"Vitamin E can be used as both a supplement and as a topical remedy for dry skin. When taken orally, vitamin E's powerful antioxidant properties can help to protect the skin from further damage. Plus, it acts as an anti-inflammatory to soothe that dry, itchy redness that comes with dehydrated skin. When used topically, as a facial oil, it can help to prevent water loss from the skin, keeping it moisturized," says celebrity nutritionist Elissa Goodman.
"One way that your body will tell you if you're deficient in Omega-3s is through dry and itchy skin," says Goodman."Omega-3s are extremely helpful when it comes to preventing inflammation, so you want to make sure you're getting enough. Flax seeds and fish are some of the best ways to get omega-3s in your diet, but if you're not a fan of either, you can always try a fish oil supplement."
Lutein and Zeaxanthin
"These two carotenoids are powerful antioxidants that are not produced in the body, so they have to be added to the diet. One study found that supplementing lutein and zeaxanthin can increase the amount of moisture in the skin, which keeps it from drying out. The best way to get them in your diet is through leafy greens, so make sure you're eating plenty of kale and spinach." says Goodman.
"Vitamin D can be absorbed through your skin, but getting proper amounts can also affect how your skin looks. Low levels of vitamin D3 specifically have been linked to lower levels of moisture in the skin," notes Goodman. In addition to supplements, you can get vitamin D by eating vitamin D-enriched foods.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and one of the most critical vitamins for biological function. Our skin is an important natural reservoir for its production, triggered by UV light into synthesis. The vitamin helps protect the skin, decreases inflammation, and normalizes cell production.
"It's no wonder many lotions and creams that help to treat rashes and dry, itchy skin contain zinc. Zinc, because of its anti-inflammatory benefits, can prevent skin dryness and redness. Plus, it supports immune system–aiding enzymes that could help prevent conditions such as eczema that can cause dry skin," explains Goodman.
Evening Primrose Oil
"Filled with the fatty acids your body needs, evening primrose oil can help support healthy, moisturized skin from the inside out. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) comprise omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids and play a key role in maintaining good skin health," says Jeffrey Gladd, MD, a member of the Care/Of Scientific Advisory Board.
Unlike some of the other vitamins on our list, getting enough EFAs requires that we pay attention to what we put in our bodies, Gladd adds. "Our bodies don't naturally produce EFAs, and therefore they can only be obtained through our diet and supplementation. evening primrose oil's role as a dry-skin preventative may be key in maintaining good skin health."
"Many dry skin conditions are rooted in inflammation," notes Gladd. "Since inflammation comes from the immune system and the majority of your immune system lives in your digestive tract, it is essential to ensure you're supporting healthy digestion. Several recent studies have demonstrated that probiotics are key to good gut health. So it seems natural to say that what is good for your gut is good for your skin."
In addition to ingesting probiotic capsules, you can reap the benefits from taking probiotic shots and eating fermented foods, such as yogurt.
"Research has demonstrated this antioxidant's ability to promote skin health and prevent signs of aging," says Gladd. "Supporting studies have also directly shown astaxanthin's role in suppressing water loss from the skin. Astaxanthin is what gives salmon and shrimp their bright coral color and is extracted from cultivated marine microalgae. As an antioxidant, astaxanthin reduces the natural oxidative stress on our skin over time and can support moisture retention to promote overall skin health."
Collagen is one of the skin's most important structural proteins, so it stands to reason that introducing more of the naturally-occurring protein into our bodies would benefit our skin. Simply put, it acts as a building block for the skin, hair, nails and joints — but as we age, we begin to produce less of it.
Though it's made by our bodies, additional forms of collagen can be derived from plants and animals via collagen powders and ingested once or twice a day.
Vitamin C is a collagen producer, so adding it to your body (and using a sunscreen with UVA protection) can help prevent your body's collagen from breaking down any further. It's also a powerhouse in the world of skincare, often popping up on the ingredients list of some of the popular serums and creams on the market today.
Vitamin C works from the inside out, too, as an antioxidant that can help prevent the formation of free radicals caused by UV damage or everyday pollution. While there are plenty of gummies and tablets on the market (which are certainly convenient), there are also several high-quality Vitamin C powders that can be mixed into drinks and ingested that way. the vitamin's citrusy taste makes it an easy one to incorporate into your daily routine.
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Al-Niaimi F, Chiang NYZ. Topical Vitamin C and the Skin: Mechanisms of Action and Clinical Applications. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2017 Jul;10(7):14-17.