6 Foods That Hydrate Your Skin From Within 

The holidays are over and winter is in full swing. For many, harsh winter weather and intense central heating mean dry skin (and no more presents to help us feel better about it).

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that way. While great products and habits are an important part of any skincare routine, healthy skin can come from within. There are lot of foods that you can add to your diet to bring out that healthy, dewy glow.

Here are some of my top picks.

First: The Source of the Problem 

Dry winter skin happens for two main reasons:

  1. You’re not properly hydrating
  2. You have compromised your skin’s natural barrier

This is something that can become a major problem pretty quickly. Even mild dehydration can make your skin look tight and flaky. As a result, skin can age and over the course of a winter, cause bigger problems like:

  • Exacerbated fine lines and wrinkles
  • Trapped impurities underneath the skin, which leads to skin congestion
  • Redness
  • Cracking
  • Inflammation or dermatitis

To combat this, you need to incorporate foods that help rehydrate the skin and restore that natural barrier. This includes:

  1. Fish

Certain fatty fish – like wild salmon, herring, and trout – are very high in omega-3 fatty acids. These are really great essential fatty acids that can help with cellular function, joint health, lowering inflammation, and more. They also act as natural moisturizers for your skin, hair, and nails, helping you rebuild your natural barrier.

I recommend at least 1-2 servings of fish a week to reap the benefits.

  1. Nuts 

Similarly, nuts like brazil nuts and almonds are packed with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. They also contain natural oils, which enrich sebum and help protect the skin’s barrier.

Furthermore, nuts contain Vitamin E and other nutrients, which can help stop cell oxidation and protect against free radical damage.

  1. Avocado

Avocado is getting a lot of hype in the wellness world right now – and for good reason. The fruit is famously rich in monounsaturated fats. This helps moisturize the skin and reduce inflammation (it can even lower cholesterol and help regulate blood sugar levels).

It also contains over 20 other vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that make it excellent at fighting free radical damage. This helps prevent inflammation, and protects the skin from within. 

  1. Olive Oil 

Olive oil is heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory, and full of healthy phytonutrients. It’s:

  • Anti-inflammatory, which comes from its high content of omega-6 fatty acids
  • Packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which have been linked to lower risk of heart disease, lower total cholesterol, and lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels
  • Full of antioxidants and phytonutrients, which fight free radical damage and provide the bioavailable nutrients that your body needs

When it comes to dry skin, this translates to exactly the nutrition and protection that your compromised skin is craving.

  1. Water-Rich Foods 

The most obvious solution to dry skin: water! The ideal, of course, is to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day (or herbal, caffeine-free tea if you want some flavor). But you can also eat your H2O by adding foods with a high water content to your daily diet, including:

  • Watermelon
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce

And, of course, avoid things that further dehydrate like smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

  1. Sweet Potato 

Another key vitamin to help revitalize tired, dehydrated skin is vitamin A. Known in the skincare world as retinol, vitamin A is known to repair tissue damage and help keep skin healthy. Plus, it can boost collagen and help with the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin A, antioxidants, and the healthy complex carbohydrates that you need to help fuel your body throughout the day.

Incorporate these foods, and you should see a much more moisturized winter (and hopefully a fast-approaching spring).

By Dr. Maura Henninger, Licensed and Board-Certified Naturopathic Physician.  For more information on Dr. Maura, please visit



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