Cold weather doesn't have to mean dry skin: A dermatologist shares her insider tips

"The Beauty of Dirty Skin" author Dr. Whitney Bowe shares her tips.

ByABC News via GMA logo
October 18, 2018, 8:29 AM

If you feel the air getting cooler and automatically picture yourself with dry, cracked skin, help is on the way.

Chilly fall air does not have to mean dull skin, according to Dr. Whitney Bowe, a New York-based dermatologist and the author of "The Beauty of Dirty Skin."

Bowe appeared on "Good Morning America" Thursday to share her insider tips on how to have dewy, healthy skin even when the air gets chilly and dry.

Read below for Bowe's answer to three of the most-asked questions, in her own words.

1. Does drinking 8 cups of water daily help skin too?

As I tell my patients, hydrating your skin properly is more complicated than drinking eight glasses of water a day.

Drinking plenty of water is important, but there are other key ingredients you need to help support healthy skin cells, and equally important is what you put on your skin to help seal in the water you consume.

Woman splashing face with water.
STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images

If you don’t have a healthy skin barrier, much of the water you ingest through drinking and eating will evaporate right off the surface of your skin. Without ample hydration, skin loses elasticity, ages more quickly, and in general, looks dry, flaky and dull.

2. Can eating certain types of foods help to keep our skin hydrated?

Our skin cell membranes, which coat every single skin cell, are comprised of a lipid layer. If that layer doesn’t have enough fats, it becomes stiff and can’t function properly.

So, in order to have supple, glowing skin, you need to eat enough fat in your diet, but make sure it’s the healthy kind.

For example, omega-3 fatty acids help nourish skin-cell membranes to keep them fluid. Omega-3-rich foods include fish, olive oil, nuts, and seeds.

Foods high in omega three.
Getty Images/Science Photo Libra

I recommend that my patients minimize their intake of omega-6s. These fatty acids, found primarily in processed foods and commercial oils, are linked with inflammation. A little omega-6 from natural sources (such as flaxseed, hempseed, and nuts) is beneficial.

The ideal ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s, in my opinion, is 2:1.

Moreover, about 20 percent of our water intake comes in food form. The fluid is trapped inside the food’s cells and slowly released during the digestive process for a nice, steady source of hydration.

Vegetables and fruits are naturally water-rich but the sugar in many fruits can cause problems in the skin that might negate the benefits of the water content. Sugar binds to your collagen — a major component of connective tissue — in a process called glycation, and targets it for destruction.

I recommend that my patients limit sugary fruits like mangoes and bananas, and instead, reach for low-glycemic produce like berries, cucumbers, lettuce, and leafy greens.

3. When the seasons change, should we change up our skincare products too?

As the air gets colder, it also gets drier. This cool, dry air steals the moisture out of our skin, which results in dull skin, rough patches, and even more pronounced fine lines.

As I tell my patients, a good rule of thumb is that when you start layering your clothing, you also want to start layering your skincare, thinner to thicker.

You want to apply thinner, more lightweight products, like serums, first before applying thicker, heavier products like a day cream or night cream. When choosing a serum, look for one with hyaluronic acid.

A woman applying moisturizer.
STOCK IMAGE/Getty Images

It’s a sugar gel that’s found naturally inside your body. In fact, it’s the cushion that keeps your bones from rubbing against each other in your joints. It’s also a natural humectant that works by holding up to 1,000-times its weight in water.

In addition to applying hyaluronic acid skincare products topically, new studies suggest that you might actually help moisturize your skin from within by eating and drinking hyaluronic acid! These new studies are preliminary and small, but the results are promising enough to get them on my radar.

New gummies and drinkable shots containing hyaluronic acid are now available, and these products claim to help with dry skin and even help with wrinkles by plumping your skin from the inside out.