Dry skin doesn’t just feel rough to the touch: When it affects your complexion, makeup can look blotchy, drawing, even more, attention to your less-than-supple skin. The good news is that you don’t need to head to the dermatologist or get a prescription to heal your dry skin — there are a number of natural remedy options that you can add to your skin care routine at home. In fact, the ingredients for these dry skin remedies might already be in your kitchen.
Why a Natural Dry Skin Remedy May Be Better
With the countless rows of jars, bottles, and tubes of lotions, creams, and fancy moisturizers, can a natural remedy really be a better choice? The answer is yes, says Christine Lopez, MD, a dermatologist and assistant program director in the department of dermatology at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.
Natural oils and remedies tend to be pure, says Dr. Lopez, which makes them a better choice for many people. “Other over-the-counter products have a ton of ingredients in them,” adds Lopez. “Not only will they contain the active moisturizing products, but they can also have preservatives,” That’s a given with water-based products. Alcohol and fragrances are other common ingredients in commercial products that can cause irritation or an allergic reaction, or be just more drying to the skin.
It’s often a good idea to keep it simple when it comes to beauty care, especially for people with allergies or a very sensitive complexion. Unlike lotions and creams with a water base and preservatives, pure oils have a natural base, making them great dry skin remedies.
The Basis of Dry Skin Remedies
Your skin naturally produces oil (sebum) which helps to protect the skin from moisture loss, but actions we take every day — forgetting to put on moisturizer or washing our hands in drying soap — can strip skin’s natural oils. Using beauty oils can help restore your skin’s sheen and put back a protective barrier against the elements to stop skin from losing its own natural moisture.
There are many ways to use natural oils, both on their own as a simple moisturizer and mixed with other ingredients to make a nourishing mask or exfoliating rub. Castor oil, lavender oil, and avocado oil each make a good natural remedy for dry skin, says Lopez. Aloe vera, a plant with natural healing properties, can also be infused in oils and used as a natural moisturizer. In its purest form, you can simply drizzle your favorite oil into warm bath water and treat yourself to a short soak; pat skin dry afterward to avoid rubbing off all the oil.
Try these dry skin remedies that use oils and other natural ingredients:
Olive oil cleanser: A great natural oil to use is olive oil, which works as a natural cleanser and moisturizer, says Brandy Crompton, a licensed aesthetician and spa manager of Lebliss Salon and Spa in Louisville, Ky. “You just rub the oil into your skin and drape a warm, damp cloth over your face until it cools,” says Crompton, “then wipe away the excess oil.” Olive oil is a good choice for a cleanser because it won’t strip your skin of natural oils, yet will get your skin clean.
Avocado mask: Creating a homemade mask of avocado is another natural way to soothe dry skin. Crompton suggests pureeing half an avocado and mixing it with a teaspoon of olive oil; you can also add a tablespoon of honey for very dry skin. Apply the mask to your face, leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes, and wash it off. Your skin should feel moisturized, but if you need to, Crompton says, you can double up on the hydrating effects by finishing with an application of your regular moisturizer.
Olive oil and sugar scrub: Create a naturally moisturizing exfoliating scrub using a combination of olive oil and sugar. Combine ½ cup of sugar with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, says Crompton. If you want, you can add an essential oil like lavender for a natural fragrance and its relaxation benefits. Gently rub the scrub into your skin, then wash it off.
Easy oatmeal soak: Adding a cup of oatmeal to a warm water bath can naturally rehydrate dry skin, says Lopez. “The oat product itself is soothing,” Lopez explains, and it helps skin retain the moisture from the bath water.
Oatmeal honey mask: Oatmeal also makes a great exfoliator or mask. Mix together 2 tablespoons of oats with a tablespoon of honey and a dash of water. Crompton suggests warming up the mixture, then rubbing it into your skin. You can use it just to exfoliate, wash it off right away, or leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes as a soothing, hydrating mask before rinsing.
How to Avoid a Dry Skin Relapse
Use a rich moisturizer to protect skin and keep it from drying out. Make moisturizing part of your daily skin care routine each day as soon as you step out of the shower — slather your skin from head to toe with a rich, creamy product (the thicker it is, the richer it is). Other tips to keep skin in top shape: Avoid very hot showers, limit baths to 10 minutes, and opt for a mild body wash rather than a drying bar soap. You can also boost your water intake to hydrate your body and moisturize skin from the inside out.
By Diana Rodriguez