Originally published: February 16, 2022 by Marissa Matozzo on shefinds.com

If you’re experiencing super dry skin (like finding yourself packing on moisturizer and picking off flakes from your face) and you’re wondering what might be the cause— look no further.

While many of us have naturally dry skin, (and skin that dries more as we age), one reason why our faces can feel so coarse is due to not hydrating enough! Water is crucial for every function your body has, and glowing, healthy and radiant skin is impossible without it.Another way to hydrate your skin this winter (apart from drinking ample amounts of water and moisturizing daily) is making sure that your diet is balanced and nutrient-rich.

After revising expert advice from dermatologist Paula Morgan, M.D., PhD, FRCPC, FAAD and other skincare aficionados, we also spoke with expert Dr. Simran Sethi, M.D., to learn more about 3 common food types.

Read on for her explanations as to why these foods can exacerbate dry skin, and why it’s best to avoid them if you’re currently experiencing any pesky and irritating flakes on your face.

Tip #1— Cut Out Food With Refined Sugars

It is likely that your favorite sweet treats are drying your skin out the most, especially if they’re eaten in excess. Refined sugar often derives from cane, sugar beets, and corn (which are all heavily processed to isolate the sugar). You might know it by its other names, such as sucrose, glucose and high-fructose corn syrup.

Excess refined sugar consumption, Sethi says, causes intrinsic damage to collagen and elastin proteins in skin by the formation of Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs). “This reduces the integrity and elasticity of skin, making it prone to dehydration and wrinkling,” she says. When you’re craving something sweet, she notes that “alternatively, fruits can satisfy a sweet tooth and also hydrate the skin due to their high water content.”

#2— Be Wary of Salty Snacks

Whether you love pretzels, potato chips or french fries, many of these snacks have super high salt content which Sethi says won’t help hydrate your skin (and this can contribute to that awful cracking and peeling).

“Due to osmotic pressure, salt draws water out of cells, including skin cells, leading to dry skin,” says Sethi. Instead of salt, she suggests to try “seasoning foods with lemon, black or red pepper and dried herbs.” Sethi adds that “over time, the body will stop craving higher levels of salt while remaining more hydrated.”

#3— Limit Your Coffee Intake (Especially If You Often Add Sugar)

So many people start their day off with an energy-boosting cup of coffee, and while the beverage does contain many health benefits, Sethi warns that (like many things), too much of a good thing (coffee) can lead to a bad thing, (dry skin).

Caffeine in coffee, she says, acts as a diuretic, drawing water out of cells and excreting that water through the kidneys and urinary system. Coffee has antioxidant properties too, so consuming 1 cup a day can confer health benefits, but “drinking more than that,” she notes, “will cause skin dryness.”

Even though not exactly alike, she suggests “drinking herbal teas or green tea,” as these “will provide healthy antioxidants and hydration which will promote new skin production and give skin a healthier and plump appearance.” The more you know!