These 7 Hydrating Foods Will Prevent Dry Skin and Lips This Winter

·5 min read

Temperatures are falling and so is the ability of your skin and lips to protect themselves against the cooler, dryer elements of winter. But fear not: Hydration can be achieved beyond water consumption and with a diet of foods that not only nourish, but moisturize from the inside out. We chatted with plant-based registered dietitian Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, as well as celebrity cosmetic dermatologist, Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, author of The Pro-Aging Playbook ($17, Amazon) for their take on the most hydrating foods you can find, as well as their top tips for staying hydrated as we swap the pashminas for parkas and gear up for snow days.

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The 7 Best Foods for Hydration

The hydrating foods our experts suggest you start consuming more of as the temperatures drop.

Citrus Fruits

"If you purchase 100% Florida orange juice, it is about 89% water!" says Gorin. Other citrus fruits, like grapefruit, boast similar levels. "Just make sure you are not taking any medications that would negatively interact with it."

Citrus fruit lovers will also benefit from an abundance of immunity-boosting properties like vitamin C and flavonoid antioxidants to stave off winter colds.

Cucumbers

Not only do foods like cucumbers (made of 95% water!) help to hydrate the skin, but they also contain vitamins and nutrients that can rid the body of excess fluid.

"Cucumbers are water-packed and loaded with vitamin C," claims Frank. Vitamin C can help to flush the body of toxins and keep skin healthy enough to withstand extreme changes in temperatures.

Mangos

Not every fruit on this list is obvious, with fibrous and starchy mango containing more than 80% water content. Gorin recommends adding a few slices to your oatmeal (coming up next) for double the benefit.

Be mindful of mango's high sugar content, though, which can shorten DNA protein structures called telomeres. "These protect chromosomes against dehydration and damage," reveals Frank. "And a diet rich in sugar can actually shorten them, whereas foods like seaweed, nuts, and some fruits can actually lengthen them."

Oatmeal

The grain is not only a hearty, comforting, winter-time breakfast staple, but also a wonderful way to increase your H2O intake.

"To cook oatmeal, you need to add water," reminds Gorin. Despite the fact that a lot of it evaporates when microwaved or placed on a stove top, a runnier oatmeal will still yield more water content than a bowl of dry cereal with barely any milk.

Related: Healthy Oatmeal Recipes to Start Your Day with Whole Grains

"Plus, it provides filling soluble and insoluble fibers, which means that eating oats will help bulk up the weight and size of your stool," she adds, making it a wonderful addition for those who frequently suffer from diarrhea, which can be dehydrating.

Peaches

Stone fruits like peaches, surprisingly, are some of the most water-heavy fruits you can find, with levels that can exceed 90%. "In addition to that water, you also get vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber," says Gorin.

Soup

It may seem like a no-brainer, but cold temperature-friendly soups with broths like chicken or vegetable can provide a wonderful source of water.

"I love to recommend broth-based soups such as minestrone or vegetable," shares Gorin, though she and Frank are quick to address that many canned or packaged varieties are chock-full of sodium, which defeats the entire purpose. "High-sodium foods cause dehydration of the skin, which breaks down the barrier function and makes skin appear more wrinkled and less supple," says Frank. It's this type of skin that is also more prone to cracking and chafing when battling elements like the wind and cold.

Tomatoes

Perhaps the most hydrating food on this list is tomatoes, due mostly in part to their presence of lycopene—a powerful antioxidant that research has shown to protect the skin specifically.

Related: Fresh Tomato Recipes That Showcase Their Versatility

"It has been shown to increase procollagen, which can actually reverse skin damage," says Frank.

"Tomatoes are also 97% water and may help protect your skin from UV damage," Gorin adds. UV damage can also be responsible for the drying of skin and lips, so be sure to invest in a sunscreen with a minimum 30 SPF.

Quick Tips to Ensure Hydrated Skin and Lips

If you're not a fan of the aforementioned foods or want other ideas to ensure you're getting enough water, keep these quick tips in mind to keep your winter skin in check:

Nothing beats actual liquids

"I like to tell people to think of hydrating foods as bonus hydration," says Gorin. "So aim to drink the base of your water—which can come from plain water, seltzer, tea, and even a few cups of black coffee. And then when you eat water-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and soup, you are getting bonus hydration that will work to help your body function even better."

Look for skincare products that contain foods

"Kiehl's creamy eye treatment with avocado is a very hydrating and brightening eye treatment," recommends Frank, who says to never underestimate the power of a good moisturizer.

"You can even use many water-rich foods, such as oatmeal, to make homemade masks, and there will likely be benefits for the skin," adds Gorin.

Consistency is key

Don't munch on these foods once and expect to see an immediate remedy to cracked skin and lips.

"Aim to include them in every meal and snack so that you stay properly hydrated," says Gorin. "Hydration is important for so many things, even unexpected ones like mental clarity and preventing headaches. Look beyond their benefits for skin and consider these additions as lifestyle enhancements."