Don’t Get Flaky: How to deal with dry skin now!

By on January 1, 2012

By Dr. Ava Shamban –

Even those who normally battle a bit of oil may be feeling a little dehydrated these days. That’s because winter air is drier and indoor heat sucks even more moisture out of the air—and consequently, your skin. To fight back, you can take a two-pronged approach: Eating foods that help bolster your skin from the inside, and applying products that contain potent ingredients to moisturize skin from the outside.

Eat an anti-dry skin diet

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Healthy fats, antioxidants and vitamin C are some of the key ingredients for keeping skin soft and supple. To help your dry skin help itself, add the following foods to your diet on a regular basis:

Water: You know that water hydrates your body, and your skin also benefits from getting at least eight to ten cups a day. If you are very active or drink lots of caffeine (which I don’t recommend since it further dehydrates you), add a couple extra glasses to your daily intake.

Avocado: The monounsaturated fats in avocados provide skin with essential ceramides which contribute to the skin’s natural oil barrier and may reduce dryness.

Blueberries: The red-blue pigment found in blueberries is a powerful antioxidant that supports the structure of the skin.

Salmon, sardines and mackerel: These fish are all rich sources of a type of fat called omega-3’s. Omega-3 has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin, and salmon also contains a carotenoid called astaxanthin that helps keep skin more supple and elastic.

Vitamin C-rich foods: You’ll find high doses of vitamin C in citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli, pineapple and mango. Being deficient in this essential nutrient can contribute to dry skin, reduced elasticity and skin that isn’t able to heal itself properly.

Olive oil: This healthy oil is a good source of monounsaturated fat that can help bolster the skin’s barrier so that skin loses less moisture.

Choose the right moisturizer

Not all moisturizers are created equal, so it’s important to seek out ones that will really deliver on their promises. The key is to make sure they include certain proven moisturizing ingredients. Check the label to make sure you choose one that contains some of the following:

Humectants: These attract moisture from the environment  to increase water content in the skin. Examples of humectants include glycerin, urea, lactic acid and hyaluronic acid.

Occlusives: These form a film on the skin to lock in moisture and help block it from evaporating. Examples of occlusives include lanolin, oils, petrolatum and silicone derivatives.

Emollients: These fill in the cracks between the skin cells, sealing them together to improve skin texture and the skin’s barrier. Examples of emollients include ceramides, fatty acids and lipids such as shea butter and oatmeal.


Ava Shamban, MD, is the author of Heal Your Skin: The Breakthrough Plan for Renewal ( She is the founder of AVA MD, a Medical and Cosmetic Dermatology practice that provides a spirited, results-driven approach to skin care, supported by advanced technology and a rigorously trained staff committed to extraordinary service. In addition to serving as Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the UCLA-Geffen School of Medicine, she is recognized as the “Extreme Makeover” dermatologist and the resident expert on the Emmy winning daytime talk show, “The Doctors.” Dr. Ava is a passionate advocate for natural good looks through scientifically proven treatments and healthy lifestyle changes that restore and heal skin and spirit, at the same time empowering men and women of all ages to live more confident, healthy and happy lives. 

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About Dr. Ava Shamban

Ava Shamban, M.D., Board Certified Dermatologist and owner of the AVA MD Center: for Medical and Cosmetic Dermatology in Santa Monica and in Beverly Hills, California, has built a thriving medical practice along with a successful medical day spa. She was a featured dermatologist on ABC television’s “Extreme Makeover,” and is the author of Heal Your Skin ( First and foremost however, Dr. Shamban considers herself a skin scientist, a participant in dermatological research, technology and product development for skin rejuvenation and the treatment of acne.

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Don’t Get Flaky: How to deal with dry skin now!