Having healthy skin on the outside of our bodies reflects what’s inside our bodies. The nutrition that we consume—be it through diet or supplements—can help or hurt the largest organ of the body.
Our skin needs many key vitamins and minerals to perform its functions. Caring for your skin also means making sure that it stays hydrated.
If your skin tends to be dry, there are products that may help improve your skin’s natural moisture and elasticity. This article discusses 10 vitamins and supplements that benefit dry skin.
Causes of Dry Skin
Dry skin is a common condition that can affect people of all ages. For some people, dry skin is an occasional annoyance, but for others it can be a chronic condition that needs to be carefully managed.
If you have a skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis, your skin is likely to be consistently dry. But several factors also contribute to dry skin, the first of which is your age.
As you get older, your skin will get drier because your body’s oil and sweat glands do not produce enough moisture. You may start to notice these age-related skin changes as early as age 40, at which time sebum production starts to decline. When the skin continues to lose its natural ability to produce water, it will become extremely dry.
There are also other causes of dry skin, including:
- Living in a dry or cool climate
- Taking hot showers
- Working in the water
- Taking certain medications
- Having vitamin or mineral deficiencies
- Having a skin condition like psoriasis or eczema
- Having certain medical conditions like HIV, cancer, and kidney disease
Vitamins for Dry Skin
There are several solutions for dry skin. If you’re looking for a natural remedy, you might want to explore the many vitamins and minerals that are key for skin health.
A supplement is a product used to add specific nutrients to your diet to address your needs. These products contain dietary ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, or amino acids.
Supplements come in different forms, including tablets, powders, liquids, energy bars, enzymes, and capsules.
Talk to your doctor before trying any dietary supplement, including vitamins. They will make sure that you choose a product that meets your needs and is safe for you to take.
Vitamins and Minerals
Your body needs vitamins to function. For example, specific vitamins are necessary for cell growth and to maintain organs. The best way to get vitamins is through food, however there are times when supplements are necessary to address a vitamin deficiency.
B vitamins are not only known to calm your nerves, but they are also a great benefit to your skin.
One study found that B vitamins improve the keratinocytes, which make up over 90% of the cells of the outermost layer of the skin (epidermis). B vitamins are known to minimize natural water loss in the skin, as well as influence human fibroblasts, which improve skin texture and firmness.
The antioxidant properties of Vitamin C make it great for skin health, as it naturally fights against free radicals and pollution, as well as being a natural UV protectant. Vitamin C also boosts collagen in the skin and protects it from water loss.
Studies have shown that vitamin C helps with the formation of the outer layer of the skin. It also can reduce signs of aging and protect against inflammation.
Vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin) helps maintain the immune system of the skin and aids in skin cell growth and skin barrier function. Keratinocytes—the skin cells that create most of the outer layer of the skin—are also the cells that form vitamin D.
Vitamin D has been known to help the symptoms of skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
Vitamin E has a lot of antioxidant properties which can help the skin fight free radicals, making it a popular ingredient in skincare products. When it’s included in these products, vitamin E is often mixed with vitamin C to protect the strength of the vitamin.
When used topically, vitamin E may help with skin dryness and itching. It may also reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks.
In a 2016 study, 96 participants were treated with 400 IU per day of oral vitamin E or a placebo for eight months. Those who took vitamin E saw improvement and, for some, near remission of their eczema.
You can get vitamin E through foods such as nuts, spinach, olive oil, and whole grains, as well as from supplements.
Zinc is a micronutrient that helps maintain the proper function of DNA and RNA regulation, keeps the immune system in working order, and helps with wound repair.
Zinc can be beneficial for dry skin, especially in people with eczema or psoriasis. The mineral has anti-inflammatory properties and is known to prevent UV damage.
When used topically (for example, in the form of zinc oxide), the mineral has strong antibacterial and antioxidant properties and can help reduce chronic inflammation of the skin.
Other Nutrients, Foods, and Supplements
Fish oil is known to reduce inflammation and hydrate the skin, and it may help reduce acne and wrinkles. It can also be used to help treat psoriasis.
A 2014 study showed that when participants took fish oil daily from six weeks to six months, their psoriasis symptoms improved.
Collagen makes up bones, cartilage, and skin. It has gained popularity as an ingredient in many beauty and health products.
A 2020 study included 60 women who took collagen peptides along with vitamin C, zinc, vitamin E, biotin, and acerola extract for 12 weeks. The combination of nutrients improved the quality and appearance of the participants’ skin by improving hydration, renewal, and repair.
Hyaluronic acid reduces fine lines and moisturizes the skin, making it a common ingredient in skincare products.
A 2017 study included 20 women who took hyaluronic acid dissolved in an organic whole food concentrate with copper, zinc, and vitamin C for 40 days. The participants noticed a significant increase in skin hydration and elasticity, and a large reduction in roughness and the depth of wrinkles after taking the preparation.
Aloe vera is a plant that has antioxidant properties and anti-bacterial properties, and is known to boost the immune system. It may also relieve excessive dry skin in people with skin conditions such as eczema.
Probiotics support gut health by balancing the bacteria in your microbiome.
A 2015 study found that participants who took a daily dose of lactobacillus plantarum experienced increased skin hydration and enhanced function of the skin barrier.
You can get probiotics supplements, but they also naturally occur in fermented foods like miso, yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and pickles.
People can have dry skin for many reasons, but sometimes it’s related to a medical condition. For example, if someone has a specific skin disorder like psoriasis or eczema, their skin is prone to be dry. There are also other non-skin-related conditions that can cause dry skin.
Medical conditions or health factors that are associated with dry skin include:
Holistic Skincare Tips
There are many options when it comes to holistic skincare. A holistic approach looks at your skin as a whole and is focused on using natural oils and products for dry skin.
In addition to finding a skincare routine that works for you, you can make several lifestyle changes to support skin health, including:
- Eating a diet with plenty of whole foods (such as fruits and vegetables)
- Reducing your intake of sugar and processed foods
- Drinking plenty of water
- Taking shorter showers that are not too hot
- Taking baths with skin-enhancing oils
- Keeping your skin well moisturized
Dry Skin Home Remedies
Some all-natural products that work alongside vitamins and minerals include coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, shea butter, and rosehip oil. You can use these products topically on your skin.
A Word From Verywell
Having healthy, hydrated skin starts from the inside out. Eating a nutritious diet, drinking enough water, and using products that contain skin-supporting vitamins and minerals can help keep your skin glowing.
If you have dry skin, the first step is to find out what is causing it and find the best approach for addressing the issue—for example, managing a skin condition like psoriasis, or identifying lifestyle habits that contribute to the problem such as smoking or taking hot showers.
It’s also important to talk to your doctor about any supplements that you are considering using. You’ll want to make sure that these products will be a safe and effective option for your dry skin.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do vitamin deficiencies cause dry skin?
Having a specific vitamin deficiency can cause dry skin. For example, if you are deficient in zinc, iron, niacin, vitamin D, or vitamin A, your skin may get dry.
What home remedies help with dry skin?
There are some simple ways to help keep your skin healthy, such as drinking plenty of water, eating whole foods, cutting back on refined sugar, taking short warm or cool showers, and using natural oils such as coconut, olive, and jojoba oils.
What’s the best vitamin for dry skin?
The best way to treat dry skin will depend on how dry it is and what is causing it to be dry. For example, if you have a skin disorder such as psoriasis or eczema, the treatment for dry skin might be different than if you have dry skin because of the climate you live in.