‘Tis the season for cozy sweaters, holiday gatherings, and peppermint-flavored everything, but with the onset of winter often comes inflamed, dry skin as well. Between the falling temperatures and the increase in illness this time of year, your skin can suffer more than usual, but you aren’t fated to flakey, red complexions if you know how to take care of your skin. Thankfully, world-renowned dermatologist, author, and skin-care entrepreneur, Harold Lancer, MD, has everything we need to know about the best anti-inflammatory foods for dry skin, no matter the season.
Why inflammation happens in the first place
A lot is coming at us in our modern world that can lead to dry, inflamed skin. Dr. Lancer says that some of the leading causes of skin inflammation include pollution, stress, UV exposure, genetics, and exposure to chemicals and allergens—cosmetics included. He explains that these elements all trigger a series of reactions in your immune system, and if your body isn’t strong enough to fight back, this can also lead to an increase in inflamed skin.
The consequences of letting inflammation go untreated
“If you don’t treat the skin properly with anti-inflammatory topical medication or ingredients, the skin will continue to react, itch, and be impaired causing discomfort and even pain in severe cases,” Dr. Lancer says. “Inflammation also leads to breakdown in collagen, elastin, and hyperpigmentation causing visible unwanted damage.” However, Dr. Lancer is a firm believer in going beyond topical treatments to restore your glow for the long term.
“Diet is key in preventing flare-ups in those who are genetically sensitive,” says Dr. Lancer, who adds that avoiding inflammatory foods, like added or refined sugar, ultra-processed foods, and industrial oils, will help keep the skin healthy and reduce the triggers that cause the inflammation process. “There’s no magic pill here,” Dr. Lancer says. “Eat the good stuff, leave out the junk. Simple.”
But it’s not all about avoidance. There are plenty of amazing foods out there to add in that will do wonders for your complexion while boosting your overall health along the way.
The best anti-inflammatory foods for dry skin
Green veggies (and vegetables in general)
In terms of foods that fight inflammation, Dr. Lancer is all about eating the rainbow, but he’s especially fond of green vegetables, which are good for reducing inflammation and oxygenating the body. If you’re averse to eating greens, Dr. Lancer recommends drinking them instead by making or purchasing green juices or smoothies.
Salmon, sardines, and other Omega 3-rich fish
Dr. Lancer says that omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for improving skin health and <