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5 Eating and Drinking Habits That May Lead to Dry Skin

Find out which eating and drinking habits can potentially impact our body's ability to retain moisture.
FACT CHECKED BY Jordan Powers Willard

Experiencing dry skin can certainly be frustrating and uncomfortable, thanks to the itchiness and flaking that may occur as a result. And during the winter months, when the air becomes more dry and cold, dry skin can become an issue for many.

There are many solutions people lean on that offer some help in the dry skin department, including applying moisturizer on the skin, using a humidifier in the home, and avoiding extremely hot baths and showers. But what we put in our bodies may affect how our skin as well, especially during the chillier months. Our dietary choices may have a profound effect on how our body retains moisture, at least according to some medical literature.

If you are experiencing dry skin, here are five eating and drinking habits that might be causing or exacerbating your condition.

You aren't drinking enough water

woman taking glass of water from nightstand

The concept is quite simple to understand: If your body is not adequately hydrated, your skin may appear dry as a result. Dehydration can be linked to dry skin, essentially because the body does not have enough fluid.

"It's important to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. This not only is important for your cells to function at optimal levels, it's also important for skin hydration," shares Sarah Allen, MD, dermatologist and founder of the Skin Clique.

 Here's What Happens to Your Body When You Drink a Gallon of Water Every Day

You aren't consuming enough fish every week

eating salmon

It is recommended to eat approximately 8 ounces of fish every week. Fish, particularly cold-water oily fish, contain DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids, or a variety of "healthy fats" that may support factors like cardiovascular, visual, and mental health.

And although more well-designed, human-based clinical trials are needed, some data suggests that the skin barrier can be influenced by these omega-3 fatty acids, with suppressive effects on the scratching behavior induced by dry skin.

You drink too much alcohol

woman drinking wine alcohol at home

Having an occasional glass of wine or a mug of beer likely won't have a huge effect on your skin integrity. But drinking too much alcohol can have dehydrating effects on the body, which may play into a person's risk of experiencing dry skin.

If you are in the mood for a cocktail, try a mocktail instead for an enjoyable beverage without the booze.

You skip the yolk when you eat eggs

person eating two eggs off a white plate

The yolk of the egg is a nutritional powerhouse, containing a slew of key nutrients including vitamin D. Some data suggests that low vitamin D levels may be linked to skin hydration status, highlighting how eating foods with vitamin D can be so beneficial. A recent science advisory from the American Heart Association (AHA) indicates that "healthy individuals can include up to a whole egg or equivalent daily" as part of a heart-healthy dietary pattern.

Not a fan of egg yolks? You can also get vitamin D in your diet by eating salmon, mushrooms that are exposed to UV light, and fortified 100% orange juice.

 6 Juices With the Lowest-Quality Ingredients

You don't include collagen in your diet

collagen pills and powder on gold spoons pink background

Collagen is a hot ingredient in supplements, snacks, and even drinks to support skin health. And while some claims surrounding this addition may be questionable, the link between collagen intake and skin dryness may actually have some truth to it. Studies using collagen tripeptide showed notable improvement in skin elasticity and hydration, suggesting that this addition may help those with dry skin. While this remedy won't work for everyone, and data is still sparse, trying it out comes with very little risk and it may help.

Allen added that if a person has "a well-balanced diet, they do not need collagen supplements. Beef, chicken with skin, and broth (chicken, pork, and beef) are great sources of collagen and they are perfect for winter!"

Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, CLEC
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian, book author, and recipe developer who has been in practice for almost 20 years. Read more about Lauren