When you think of skincare, you may think of creams, lotions, and other cosmetic products. However, when it comes to the health of your skin, topical treatments are just a fraction of what it takes. After all, your skin is an organ — and just like any other organ in your body, your skin, too, needs proper nutrition.
In order to keep your skin hydrated and healthy, you need a steady stream of several common vitamins and nutrients. However, you may not expect the vitamins and nutrients that play a key role in keeping your skin smooth and hydrated.
What Vitamin Deficiencies Can Cause Dry Skin?
Although your skin is on the outside, what you put in your body matters quite a bit. Your nutrition plays an important part in supporting your skin. A deficiency in any of the following nutrients can take a toll on the health and appearance of your skin.
1. Vitamin C
Although the reputation of vitamin C is centered around its benefits for your immune system, this vitamin also has an important role in supporting hydrated skin. Vitamin C is a crucial nutrient for maintaining proper collagen production, and collagen is vital to the health and texture of your skin.
Collagen is a type of protein that supports the elasticity and flexibility of your skin as it has an important role in your skin’s structure. Collagen also helps support hydrated skin — and if you are lacking in vitamin C, you may experience dry skin.
You canconsume more vitamin C by eating peppers, citrus fruits, and leafy greens, among other foods. Vitamin C supplements are also considerably popular and easy to include in your daily routine.
Just like vitamin C deficiency, but more direct, lower amounts of collagen in the body can result in or exacerbate dry skin. Collagen is naturally produced by the body, but as you age, your body’s collagen production begins to slow.
Your body’s collagen levels can start to run low if you do not obtain enough vitamin C or if you smoke, eat too much sugar, or spend too much time in the sun. All of these can break down the body’s collagen, contributing to wrinkles, decreased resiliency, and dry skin.
You can usually find collagen supplements in most health food stores, typically made from animal products. Since the body produces collagen on its own, taking vitamin C and other nutrients like zinc and copper can help to support collagen production.
3. Vitamin D
Although vitamin D comes from the sun and is known as the sunshine vitamin, it does something that the sun’s rays cannot — hydrate your skin. Vitamin D helps your skin retain moisture by playing a part in the skin’s natural barrier and trapping in moisture as a result.
This important vitamin can also help soothe irritation and dryness on the skin. By providing the skin with relief, vitamin D helps preserve the skin’s natural moisture.
Vitamin D can be synthesized in the skin from sunlight, but it can also be obtained through several foods. Vitamin D-rich foods include salmon, red meat, egg yolks, and fortified foods like breakfast cereals and milks.
4. Lutein and Zeaxanthin
Lutein and zeaxanthin are both little-known but very beneficial compounds. These two compounds are powerful carotenoids — types of pigments that are found in plants.
These pigments are rich in antioxidants and can help support overall eye and skin health. Both carotenoids act as powerful filters in your eyes and skin, helping to protect both systems from harmful UV radiation and sun damage. In doing so, the carotenoids can help maintain the health, texture, and youthfulness of your skin.
Since these pigments are rich in antioxidants, they can help support your skin against damaging free radicals. Free radicals are harmful to your cells and can lead to damage and premature aging of your skin cells. By consuming these antioxidant-rich carotenoids regularly, you can help support your skin health.
Not only are these two carotenoids helpful for protecting the longevity of the skin, but they also play a role in supporting your skin’s hydration. Carotenoids can help protect your skin against water loss to keep it healthier and hydrated longer.
A common source of zeaxanthin is krill, as it gives the little ocean creatures their pinkish-red color. Lutein can also be found in marigold flowers and exists in some plant-based supplements for those who avoid consuming animal products.
Like vitamin C, zinc is better known for its positive effects on the immune system and less for its ability to soothe dry skin. However, zinc is another important factor in helping you avoid dry skin. In fact, it is zinc’s ability to support a healthy immune system that helps play a key role in supporting hydrated skin as well.
Irritation is one of the biggest threats to hydrated skin. Zinc helps you maintain smooth, healthy, and hydrated skin by supporting your immune system and your body’s natural defenses. Zinc helps keep these defenses strong so that you can avoid the potential consequences of irritated skin.
Again similar to vitamin C, zinc has an important role in supporting healthy collagen production. As a result, this mineral helps to keep your skin hydrated and resilient. Popular sources of zinc include seafood, meats, legumes, nuts, seeds, and soy.
Your skin is a living organ that is abundant with life. The skin has its own microbiome that supports billions of healthy bacteria. The bacteria on your skin help maintain proper hydration and keep irritants and stressors out. Probiotics are valuable for supporting the number and diversity of bacteria in the body, which supports the strength of the skin barrier and can help prevent unnecessary water loss.
Probiotics also help support the health of your gut microbiome, which contributes to the strength of your immune system as well. With a stronger gut microbiome, your body is also better at absorbing nutrients which can play an additional role in helping you avoid potential nutrient deficiency.
Sources of probiotics include yogurt and fermented foods, like kimchi, sauerkraut, and even pickles. You can also find a wide variety of probiotic supplements, either as pills or as reinforced foods.
7. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Although these nutrients are often touted for their role in maintaining a healthy heart and healthy circulation, among other benefits, they are very valuable in promoting healthy skin as well. Omega-3 fatty acids support the strength of your skin barrier, which helps lock in moisture and keep your skin hydrated.
Omega-3s also help support your skin against irritation and damage, which, as a result, helps keep your skin hydrated. These nutrients have also demonstrated potentially positive effects when used to maintain healthy skin against some forms of irritation.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be obtained from various sources. The most popular source of omega-3s is fatty, oily fish, like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines. For convenience, many people choose to take a fish or krill oil supplement instead of eating fish directly.
However, there are still many people who prefer to stay away from fish entirely, whether they are on a plant-based diet or just have a general distaste for fish and its powerful, residual smell. Fortunately, there is a plant-based form of omega-3s — algae. Algae is nature’s primary source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). As a key part of a fish diet, algae is the key reason that fish are rich in omega-3s.
As a result, when you take an algae-based omega-3 supplement, you are obtaining these key nutrients directly from the source.
Boost Your Skincare Routine With Omega-3s
Start taking your skincare routine to the next level by paying attention to more than just what topical products you are using. Combatting dry skin requires careful attention to your nutrition. By including the right vitamins and nutrients in your daily diet, you can support healthy, hydrated skin.
iwi life helps you take an easy first step toward improving your nutrition for healthier and more hydrated skin. Through our convenient, once-a-day omega-3 supplement, you can start improving your nutrient intake and obtain your daily recommended intake of omega-3s. Our algae-based supplement helps support your skin on top of a wide range of other great benefits. Explore our complete family of products for yourself to see all the potential health benefits of algae.
The Best Way You Can Get More Collagen | Cleveland Clinic
The Role of Carotenoids in Human Skin | PMC
Vitamin D and atopic dermatitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis | ScienceDirect
Diet and Psoriasis: Part 3. Role of Nutritional Supplements | PMC