Dry Skin? 12 Healthy Foods That Moisturize Skin Naturally

Megan Dominion

If you’ve got dry skin, you’re not alone! Millions of people worldwide have dry skin and there are a myriad of different reasons for it. Certain genes, dehydration, skincare ingredients, and seasonal changes can all impact the quality and texture of your skin. However, there’s one thing that influences healthy skin more than most, and that’s food.

Food plays a critical role in skin health, which is why the right diet is so important for maintaining vibrant, glowing skin.

If you’re looking for foods that will help your skin naturally retain moisture, elasticity, and softness all year long, you need to read this list.

1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

There are few food products as full of rich, nourishing healthy oils as extra virgin olive oil. Containing high quantities of vitamin E, this nutrient-dense oil is renowned for its positive impact on skin health.

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant, which means its nutrients can get absorbed by the body without causing excess skin sebum to develop. So, splash a bit more olive oil in your cooking or on that salad and enjoy the benefits.

2. Wild salmon

One of the best foods for counteracting dry skin is wild salmon. Jam-packed with omega-3 fatty acids, the natural oils in salmon protect against cancer, prevent skin damage, and keep skin soft, smooth, and well moisturized. It also helps the skin stay firm and enhances collagen production throughout the body.

Olive Oil in glass jug

3. Kiwi fruit

When a fruit tastes this good and helps the skin stay so healthy, you know you’ve got a winning food. Kiwi is packed with vitamin C, which is essential for skin healing, iron retention, and strong immunity. A single serving of kiwi contains 64 mg of vitamin C, which is a whopping 71% of the recommended daily intake.

In addition to its high vitamin C count, kiwi fruit is very hydrating, contributing to the moisturization of your skin. Pop it in a smoothie, into salads, or simply eat it as is for a skin-happy snack.

4. Sunflower seeds

There are many seeds that can benefit skin moisturization, but few do it as well as the sunflower seed. A great source of vitamin E, sunflower seeds are rich in antioxidants and help fight back against UV sun damage done to the skin too.

This makes them ideal to snack on during summer when UV rays are at their peak. Consumed in conjunction with vitamin C, vitamin E-rich foods like this help alleviate inflammation and promote skin clarity.

5. Beef liver

Though perhaps not the sexiest of foods, beef liver is renowned for its potent natural cocktail of skin-health vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. Like many organ meats, beef liver is packed with a particularly high volume of vitamin A, making it an excellent food for promoting cell regeneration and strength.

The nutrients in beef liver also assist the body in retaining carotenoids and retinoids, both of which play essential roles in protecting pathways inside the body that impact the appearance of skin.

Whole avocado being held up by a womans hand

6. Avocado

Avocado pears are so much more than just a pretty fruit. In fact, they’re one of the healthiest foods around. Rich, creamy, and full of healthy fats and proteins, avocados contain a magical blend of nutrients that support skin structure and collagen production.

In addition to this, the fats found in avocado make your skin both look and feel softer, smoother, and more moisturized. Plus, there are endless ways to eat this delicious green fruit, savory or sweet.

7. Cod liver oil

This list of skin-healthy foods wouldn’t be complete without a mention of cod liver oil.

A great source of vitamin D, this fatty fish oil contains nutrients that combat damaging sun rays, promote faster surface wound healing, and inhibits keratinocytes—a type of dry skin dysfunction that causes psoriasis.

Just one tablespoon of cod liver oil contains enough vitamin D to supplement 170% of the recommended daily intake, which is plenty to keep your skin moisturized, healthy, and strong.

8. Turmeric

Anti-inflammatory compounds play a very important role in skin health and moisturization. Turmeric contains curcumin, a type of nutrient capable of reducing inflammation, soothing redness, and facilitating better hydration for both the internal and external parts of the body.

9. Almond, oat, and soy milk

These delicious, creamy, and sustainable nut and grain milks are surprisingly loaded with health benefits that include skin hydration. Fortified with a high quantity of vitamin D, these plant-based milks help the skin lock in essential moisture, combating dryness and reducing inflammation.

10. Oysters

Zinc is another important nutrient needed for maintaining moisturized skin, and oysters are full of it. Just 3 oz of oyster flesh contains 74 mg of zinc, which makes up a staggering 673% of the daily value.

So what makes zinc so important for skin vitality? A few things. It plays a crucial role in protecting the skin from sun damage and helps to prevent the epidermis from drying out in low-humidity zones. It also has an antibacterial effect on the skin, helping it stay clear and blemish-free.

11. Sweet potato

Vitamin A is another vitally important vitamin for well-hydrated skin and it’s used to treat acne, too. A single sweet potato can contain as much as 1,400 mcg of vitamin A, which is double the recommended daily intake (but don’t worry, the upper limit is 3000 mcg per day).

Sweet potatoes also contain a significant volume of antioxidants, which play a role in cell regeneration and protection against free radicals. This orange root vegetable is a true skin superfood!

Sweet potato slices on a wooden cuttingboard

12. Green tea

Last but certainly not least, green tea should be a staple part of your skin-healthy diet. Containing a high degree of antioxidants, this subtly bitter tea helps your body flush out toxins and get rid of blemishes.

However, it’s also very hydrating. By drinking a cup a day, you can not only keep your skin looking bright and healthy, but you can also prevent heart disease.

These fruits, veggies, meats, and seeds are all healthy foods designed to keep you both looking and feeling your best. Next time you go grocery shopping, pick up a few of the items on this list. Your skin will thank you!

Megan Dominion

Megan Dominion is SILKUP's Managing Editor. She's been down both the curly hair and skincare rabbit holes many times and loves that there's always something new to learn; a new science, method, product or personal experience.