Your skin health is an important part of your overall health and wellbeing. Dry skin isn’t just annoying – it can be a symptom of a skin disease such as atopic dermatitis or seborrheic dermatitis. It can also indicate a deficiency in certain key micronutrients.
Minerals & Vitamins for Dry Skin
Sep 24, 2021

Your skin health is an important part of your overall health and wellbeing. Dry skin isn’t just annoying – it can be a symptom of a skin disease such as atopic dermatitis, which is itchy inflammation of the skin, or seborrheic dermatitis, scaly patches and red skin. It can also indicate a deficiency in certain key micronutrients, such as vitamin C or vitamin D. Many creams, moisturizers, and serums will advertise themselves as having fish oil, hyaluronic acid, and other ingredients to keep your skin hydrated and healthy.

While usually not serious, skin dryness can have an impact on your everyday life. It can be overwhelming looking for options to help, but dry skin may be alleviated by simply adjusting your multivitamin intake. There are many vitamins and minerals important to your skin health that can help with moisture and skin hydration. The micronutrients discussed below take care of and improve skin from the inside out by starting the process at the cellular level.

First, we’ll dive into why dry skin occurs, and how this can lead to itching, rashes, and flakiness.

Why does dry skin occur?

While there are many different causes for dry skin, a few big ones include the following:

  • Dehydration
  • Too much sun exposure
  • Dry air and low humidity
  • Chemicals in soaps, perfumes, or other products [1]
  • Inflammatory skin disorders
  • Malnutrition (deficiencies in vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, or iron) [2]

Dry skin can lead to many uncomfortable side effects, some of which include itching, skin roughness, skin tightness, skin inflammation, flaking, and scaling.

Skin Health and Micronutrients

Research has proven that our nutrition is instrumental to maintaining healthy skin. Deficiencies in some vitamins may lead to skin diseases and increase risk of skin infections. With so many creams available to apply these vitamins and minerals topically, is it better to use a cream or to orally ingest these micronutrients and absorb them through the bloodstream?

Studies suggest that because the surface layer of our skin doesn’t allow for many substances to pass through, it is unlikely that nutrients applied to the skin topically would reach the lower layers of the dermis. Therefore, bloodstream delivery may better support and serve dermal layer functions [3]. However, topical application with creams and serums may also be useful in treating various skin conditions—just look at the ingredients and research if they work well together!

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble substance that is also a retinoid, which means it plays an important role in increasing the production of collagen and stimulating the generation of new blood vessels in the skin. Many anti-aging creams contain vitamin A to fight wrinkles and reduce the appearance of lines.

Because of its skin-building and repairing effects, vitamin A can also help fight dry skin. A deficiency in vitamin A may lead to skin dryness and itching, so taking supplements may help prevent dry skin by promoting natural moisture. However, an excessive intake of vitamin A can also lead to skin irritation, among other things, so it is important to maintain an optimal level that is dosed for your body [4].

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is another vitamin that plays a key role in skin health by stimulating collagen production and protecting the skin from the sun’s UV rays with its antioxidant properties [5]. A deficiency in vitamin C may lead to various skin issues, such as atopic dermatitis and porphyria cutanea tarda, which is blistering skin after sunlight exposure [6].

Vitamin C helps fight skin dryness by enhancing the production of skin barrier lipids, which are important to holding moisture. Vitamin C may also play an important role in forming the outer layer of the epidermis, the stratum corneum, and therefore helps the skin protect itself from losing water [7].

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, has long been recognized for its importance to proper function of our skin and overall health. It can be synthesized in the skin after exposure to the sun. Deficiency in vitamin D can lead to many dermatological diseases, including psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and autoimmune skin disorders that can lead to dry skin [8].

Studies suggest vitamin D supplements can help alleviate symptoms of disorders that cause skin dryness and itchiness [9]. Positive correlations have been observed between higher vitamin D levels and skin moisture [10].

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that also acts as an anti-inflammatory in skin and suppresses the breakdown of collagen [11]. Those dealing with skin dryness could benefit from vitamin E supplementation. One single-blind, placebo-controlled study of patients suffering from atopic dermatitis found that vitamin E could greatly improve, and in some cases lead to complete remission of atopic dermatitis [12].

Vitamin E has also been found to protect your skin’s outer layers by improving elasticity, structure, and softness [13]. Vitamin E deficiency, while rare, can lead to skin ulcerations and collagen metabolism [14].

Zinc

Zinc is an important nutrient in our bodies that helps maintain a healthy immune system and is also a key part of protein production. Zinc plays an important role in our skin health by protecting against photodamage and helping to clear bacteria in acne [15]. Zinc deficiency can lead to delayed wound healing, skin sores, and development of some skin diseases similar in symptoms to eczema [16].

Studies have found that zinc supplementation could be useful in treating dry skin in diseases such as atopic dermatitis, in addition to other conditions like rosacea, acne, psoriasis, warts, and leprosy [17].

Iron

Iron is a mineral that your body needs to make hemoglobin and some hormones. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia, a condition in which your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells. If you have dry skin, in addition to other symptoms like fatigue, brittle nails, or pale skin, you could have anemia and may benefit from taking iron supplements [18].

Healthy Skin, from the Inside Out

Healthy skin comes from the inside out. Rootine helps you achieve better health by looking at thousands of data points from your DNA, blood, and lifestyle to create a unique micronutrient formula customized to your body. Your dry, itchy skin could point to a micronutrient deficiency. Get started by testing your levels today and making sure your body has everything it needs to perform at its best in all areas.

About Rootine

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[1] National Institute on Aging. Skin Care and Aging. National Institutes of Health. Available at: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/skin-care-and-aging

[2] Gade A, Matin T, Rubenstein R. Xeroderma. [Updated 2021 Feb 9]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK565884/

[3] Pullar JM, Carr AC, Vissers MCM. The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health. Nutrients. 2017 Aug 12;9(8):866. doi: 10.3390/nu9080866.

[4] Office of Dietary Supplements - Vitamin A. NIH office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/

[5] Pullar JM, Carr AC, Vissers MCM. The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health. Nutrients. 2017 Aug 12;9(8):866. doi: 10.3390/nu9080866.

[6] Wang K, Jiang H, Li W, Qiang M, Dong T, Li H. Role of Vitamin C in Skin Diseases. Front Physiol. 2018 Jul 4;9:819. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2018.00819.

[7] Pullar JM, Carr AC, Vissers MCM. The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health. Nutrients. 2017 Aug 12;9(8):866. doi: 10.3390/nu9080866.

[8] Mostafa WZ, Hegazy RA. Vitamin D and the skin: Focus on a complex relationship: A review. J Adv Res. 2015 Nov;6(6):793-804. doi: 10.1016/j.jare.2014.01.011.

[9] Kim G, Bae JH. Vitamin D and atopic dermatitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrition. 2016 Sep;32(9):913-20. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2016.01.023.

[10] Russell M. Assessing the relationship between vitamin D3 and stratum corneum hydration for the treatment of xerotic skin. Nutrients. 2012 Sep;4(9):1213-8. doi: 10.3390/nu4091213.

[11] Park K. Role of micronutrients in skin health and function. Biomol Ther (Seoul). 2015 May;23(3):207-17. doi: 10.4062/biomolther.2015.003.

[12] Tsoureli-Nikita E, Hercogova J, Lotti T, Menchini G. Evaluation of dietary intake of vitamin E in the treatment of atopic dermatitis: a study of the clinical course and evaluation of the immunoglobulin E serum levels. Int J Dermatol. 2002 Mar;41(3):146-50. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-4362.2002.01423.x.

[13] Michalak M, Pierzak M, Kręcisz B, Suliga E. Bioactive Compounds for Skin Health: A Review. Nutrients. 2021 Jan 12;13(1):203. doi: 10.3390/nu13010203.

[14] Park K. Role of micronutrients in skin health and function. Biomol Ther (Seoul). 2015 May;23(3):207-17. doi: 10.4062/biomolther.2015.003.

[15] Park K. Role of micronutrients in skin health and function. Biomol Ther (Seoul). 2015 May;23(3):207-17. doi: 10.4062/biomolther.2015.003.

[16] Office of Dietary Supplements - Zinc. NIH office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-Consumer/

[17] Gupta M, Mahajan VK, Mehta KS, Chauhan PS. Zinc therapy in dermatology: a review. Dermatol Res Pract. 2014;2014:709152. doi: 10.1155/2014/709152.

[18] Health Topics. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Iron Defiency Anemia. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/iron-deficiency-anemia

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