The list of factors that contribute to dry skin is extensive and includes everything from regular bathing practices (such as taking hot showers and rubbing oneself dry with a towel) to harsh winter weather to the loss of natural oils in your skin as you get older.
The good news is that, unless you’re treating skin disease, you might not need to see a dermatologist in order to relieve dry skin. Instead, think about including a home remedy into your skincare routine.
It’s possible that you already have the materials in your kitchen for these remedies for dry skin. While many of the components we list below have been used for millennia as homeopathic medicines in civilizations all over the world, some of them, including coconut oil, tea, and aloe vera, is sometimes referred to as “remedies” as a group. Be cautious to speak with a board-certified dermatologist before attempting any at-home remedies, however, if you are managing a skin problem that may be the root of your dry skin. This will prevent your dry skin from getting worse.
“Home remedies are fantastic for many different skin types, especially if you’re in a hurry or choose alternative skin-care cures,” asserts Jennifer Adell, a licensed aesthetician and the senior aesthetician at New Beauty and Wellness in Westport, Connecticut. However, a dermatologist or aesthetician should be consulted if you have chronic skin disorders including rosacea, psoriasis, or cystic acne.
Rather than purchasing a product, why use a natural dry-skin remedy?
It might be worth attempting a home treatment if lengthy ingredient lists worry or confuse you. According to Christine Poblete-Lopez, MD, vice chair of the dermatology department at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and director of the residency program, over-the-counter creams can contain a lot of components, including preservatives in addition to active moisturizing agents.
According to Michigan State University, this is frequently the case with water-based products because bacteria may flourish in these formulations quite quickly. However, despite their best efforts, these preservatives—not to mention other ingredients like alcohol and fragrances—can cause skin irritability, dryness, and occasionally allergic reactions.
If your skin is sensitive or you have allergies, you might opt to keep your skincare routine straightforward. Oils, for instance, have a natural base, making them an excellent choice for dry skin when a skin condition is not present, in contrast to water-based lotions and creams that are preservative-heavy.
But keep in mind that since oils and other OTC medications aren’t subject to FDA regulation, there is no guarantee that they won’t cause any harm. To be safe, it’s always a good idea to consult a dermatologist before including any new DIY recipe in your skin-care routine.
How to Treat Dry, Irritated Skin with Natural Remedies
Sebum, an oil that your skin naturally produces, helps to keep it moisturized and prevents it from losing moisture. However, regular activities like washing your hands with a drying soap or neglecting to use a moisturizer will remove these oils. Oils for acne-free skin help reestablish the skin’s luster and barrier to moisture protection.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, dermatologists typically advise acne sufferers to choose an oil with caution because acne is typically brought on by an excess of sebum (AAD). One alternative is tea tree oil, which has been linked to improving mild to moderate acne in some studies, including one that was published in the August 2017 Australasian Journal of Dermatology. However, you should always see a physician before starting any new acne treatment. Itchy skin can be brought on, especially by tea tree oil.
Utilizing oils’ moisturizing properties to create a homemade nourishing mask or an exfoliating rub is only one of the numerous ways, either alone or in combination with other components. According to Poblete-Lopez, certain persons with dry skin may benefit from using castor oil, lavender oil, and avocado oil.
For those who are not prone to acne, coconut oil, which you may already have in your kitchen cupboard, can be a good option. An earlier randomized controlled research found that applying virgin coconut oil to the skin helped persons with atopic dermatitis, a kind of eczema, and an allergic skin condition marked by dryness and irritation.
Natural moisturizers like aloe vera, a houseplant with healing abilities, work well. Aloe vera gel, which is another naturally moisturizing skin-care ingredient you’ll want to try, contains mucopolysaccharides, like hyaluronic acid, which help lock moisture into the skin. This information comes from a review that was published in the June 2019 issue of Plant Foods for Human Nutrition.
13 Natural, Do-It-Yourself Skin-Moisturizers
Try one of these simple DIY solutions the next time your dry skin needs some tender loving care.
1. Make an olive oil moisturizer to hydrate dry skin.
Extra-virgin olive oil is a good substitute for a moisturizer if you urgently need more moisture, according to Adell, but only in an emergency.
Olive oil has healing benefits for injured skin, according to the author, including vitamin E, antioxidants, squalene, and other compounds. All further points out that due of the chance of pore clogging, this would not be a smart option for people with skin that is prone to acne.
Verify if this treatment is appropriate for you by speaking with a dermatologist before putting olive oil directly on your skin. Inflammation may be reduced by olive oil, according to studies noted in a December 2017 article by the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, however, using it topically alone may harm your skin’s barrier.
Adele advises using olive oil sparingly and opting for a pure, or normal, form that hasn’t been refined with other oils. For example, you may add a few drops to a face mask or rub the oil into your elbows, which are particularly dry.
2. Prepare Your Own Rich, Creamy Avocado Mask
Another all-natural method Adell has tried with her own family at home to relieve dry skin is an avocado mask. She claims that this face mask is bursting to the seams with probiotics and antioxidants that will encourage healthy, radiant skin. She suggests combining 12 avocados with 14 cups plain Greek yogurt (whose lactic acid content may improve skin texture, per a separate review in the September 2019 Nutrients), a drizzle of manuka honey, and 1 teaspoon of turmeric for potential anti-inflammatory benefits and alleviate the symptoms of inflammatory skin conditions like eczema. Apply the mixture to thoroughly clean the skin, then wait 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing it off.
Eat the remaining avocado, please! According to a tiny pilot study published in the September 2022 issue of the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, a group of female participants who consumed avocados on a regular basis saw an improvement in the firmness and suppleness of their skin.
Avocado oil was blended with water and saffron extract in a different procedure that was employed in a study that was published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology in September 2020. Researchers discovered that this mixture refreshed the face and diminished the appearance of wrinkles, though it’s unclear whether any major moisturization was detected.
3. Prepare a sugar-and-coconut oil scrub that is natural.
Consider using a mild DIY sugar scrub to remove dead skin cells that may be causing your skin to feel and look dry. A mixture of 1 cup brown or granulated sugar and 1/2 cup coconut oil is advised by Michigan State University. According to randomized controlled research published in the January 2022 issue of the Journal of Integrative and Complementary Medicine, adding an essential oil like lavender may help you relax and feel less anxious. Lavender also lends a natural aroma. For up to 30 seconds, gently massage the scrub into your skin. Then, remove it with lukewarm water. In order to maintain the advantages of newly exfoliated skin, the AAD also suggests using a soothing moisturizer.
You should be aware that not all skin types may respond well to this kind of physical or mechanical exfoliation. For sensitive, inflamed, or acne-prone skin, the AAD does not advise using scrubs.
Sugar scrubs shouldn’t be used on sensitive skin, especially on the face, according to Adell. Physical exfoliation can easily irritate and produce sensitivity on the face because it has much more fragile skin than your body does, according to her. Chemical peel pads and enzyme powders are my go-to exfoliation techniques.
4. Prepare a quick oatmeal bath to soothe your skin.
Poblete-Lopez claims that adding a cup of oatmeal to a warm bath might help dry skin get moisturized organically. She says, “The oat product itself is calming,” and it aids in keeping the moisture in your skin after a bath. Alternately, tie the oats in pantyhose to your faucet and fill your bathtub with water for a mess-free soak.
Oatmeal may provide relief for dry, itchy, or inflamed skin brought on by both atopic and contact dermatitis if you have eczema, according to DermNetNZ. An anti-inflammatory, calming, and protecting impact of colloidal oatmeal was found to cure hand eczema, according to a double-blind study that was published in March 2020 in Clinical Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology.
5. Apply an oatmeal honey mask at home to exfoliate your face.
The exfoliating and mask properties of oatmeal are excellent. In a small bowl, combine 2 teaspoons of oats, 1 tablespoon of honey, and a little bit of water. You can use it as an immediate exfoliant and wash it off, or you can keep it on for 15 to 20 minutes to act as a hydrating, soothing mask. According to a review published in the October 2021 issue of Open Life Sciences, honey may contain antibacterial qualities that could hasten wound healing.
6. Use Coconut Oil Prior to Sleep
Coconut oil is a well-liked DIY remedy for healthy hair and skin. A review of it in the July 2022 Journal of Drugs in Dermatology highlighted that it has roots in African and Indian civilizations. According to Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at SkinSafe Dermatology and Skin Care in Beverly Hills, California, “Coconut oil becomes a solid at room temperature, so use it as a moisturizing cream at bedtime or anytime.” Apply the oil, cover with thick socks or non-latex gloves, and treat chapped hands and heels.
7. Take a Look at Nourishing Oils
Natural oils are excellent for hydrating the skin and assisting in the restoration of the natural skin barrier, which is frequently compromised by routine hand- and face-washing with water and drying soaps that rob the skin of its protective natural oils, according to Dr. Shainhouse. You can experiment with jojoba, argan, and avocado oils as well as olive and coconut oils, which are natural, irritant-free oils. Shainhouse advises putting a few tablespoons of the chosen oil into a bath that is running to use it. Give yourself a quick soak, and then to prevent removing all the oil, gently pat your skin dry afterward.
However, due to hazards to vaginal health, oil bathing may not be the ideal option for women, according to research published in December 2017 in Women’s Health. To keep your skin soft and moisturized after a shower, you can think about dabbing a little of your favorite oil on it.
8. Apply Milk Compresses on Skin If It Is Irritated
Shainhouse asserts that milk naturally reduces inflammation. The moderate natural exfoliator lactic acid is also present. A lactic acid and ceramide-containing lotion were found to significantly improve skin hydration while removing dead skin cells over the course of a 14-day controlled study, which was published in the August 2020 Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. This finding raises the possibility that lactic-acid products have exfoliating properties. To be sure, though, further study over a longer period of time is required.
As one of the “most moisturizing [alpha-hydroxy acids] on the market,” Adell also mentions lactic acid in her article. She claims that it’s one of the safer acids for sensitive skin and can be taken during pregnancy.
Cincinnati Health Institute suggests soaking a clean, dry fabric (such as a washcloth or towel) in a bowl of cool milk and applying it over any dry areas as a milk compress. In accordance with Shainhouse, you should apply these compresses to your skin for intervals of 5 to 10 minutes. For itchy, irritated skin in particular, it is extremely beneficial.
But use with caution, advises Harvard Health Publishing, as lactic acid can blister split skin. Adele advises users to stop using the product and consult their dermatologist or aesthetician if they suffer burning. Mild tingling is a common side effect. While studies in the September 2018 issue of Dermatologic Therapy suggest that lactic acid may help restore the skin barrier and cure associated disorders like eczema, you may want to avoid using this treatment if you are currently experiencing an aggressive flare-up with cracked skin.
9. Think about using a fruit enzyme exfoliant or cleanser.
A fun approach to treating dry skin is using fruit enzymes. These alpha-hydroxy acids are excellent for gently removing the top layer of dulling dead skin cells from the body and face, according to Shainhouse. AHAs may also help enhance the appearance of aged skin and the texture of your general skin, according to the FDA, in addition to assisting in the removal of dead skin cells.
Twice weekly, Shainhouse advises using a wash or mask enriched with fruit enzymes. The fruit enzymes bromelain (found in pineapple), papain (found in papaya), and ficain are among the best ones to hunt for, according to a study released in November 2021. (found in figs).
10. Use Aloe Vera to soothe dry, irritated skin
Aloe vera gel can be useful throughout the dry winter months even though it is typically used to treat sunburns. According to earlier studies, it can even lessen aging symptoms, acne outbreaks, and skin injuries by reducing redness and irritation brought on by excessive dryness. Before using aloe on a sizable area of skin, you might want to conduct a patch test, as Shainhouse advises that some people can experience allergic contact dermatitis, a kind of eczema.
11. Spot-treat dry patches with honey.
Previous studies have shown that honey has emollient and humectant properties that can soften your skin and aid in moisture retention. A number of skin diseases, such as dermatitis, psoriasis, and dandruff can be treated in an alternate manner with it.
Another previous review found that honey, particularly manuka honey, is useful for treating wounds: It has a thick consistency that serves as an infection barrier, is naturally antibacterial, and keeps the injured region moist.
Because of these characteristics, honey makes a wonderful foundation for face mask recipes and a potent spot treatment for areas of dry, irritated skin. The inclusion of manuka honey speeds up wound healing while reducing skin inflammation, according to Adell (who also mentions the avocado mask). Apply honey sparingly to your face for the finest benefits. Prior to rinsing it off, leave it on for a while.
12. To reduce inflammation, brew tea bags.
If you currently consume tea, you might be able to find additional applications for the tea bags you keep in your cupboard. In addition to caffeinated green and black teas, Adell claims that this also applies to herbal teas like chamomile and jasmine.
Black and green tea bags can be cooling and anti-inflammatory on your skin, while black tea bags may help balance the pH of your skin, according to the Cincinnati Health Institute.
According to Adell, the caffeine in these teas may assist with under-eye circles by safely decreasing blood vessels in this sensitive area of skin. She suggests placing a cool, damp tea bag under each eye for five to ten minutes.
Using weak, room-temperature black tea-soaked gauze compresses for 20 minutes before applying an emollient cream, 22 persons with facial atopic dermatitis participated in a small study that was published in the December 2019 issue of the Journal of Dermatological Treatment. Participants experienced fewer skin complaints after three days of five compresses each day, and there were no obvious negative effects.
According to Adell, chamomile may lessen inflammation and irritation, which is one of the potential advantages of brewed herbal tea bags. It can be used to reduce flaky skin, rashes, and irritated skin tissue by relaxing the irritating tissue. For up to 30 minutes, she advises applying chamomile that has been brewed and chilled on your skin. Jasmine tea can help with acne, she adds.
13. Restore Your Basics With Petroleum Jelly
You probably already have a bottle of Vaseline or Aquaphor in your medicine cabinet. These have petrolatum, or petroleum jelly, which the AAD notes can support skin healing, relieve dry skin, and prevent chafing. Even better, petroleum jelly might be secure enough to be applied to all body parts, including your lips and eyelids. Some people, known as “sluggers,” swear so fervently by petroleum jelly that they cover their entire face in it and leave it on overnight.
The AAD advises using petroleum jelly on damp skin, but you can use it as needed throughout the day. If you have skin prone to breakouts, stay away from using it on your face as it might result in pimples.
Expert Advice: 5 Ways to Prevent a Relapse of Dry Skin
To protect your skin and prevent it from drying out again after you’ve given it some moisture, follow these instructions.
Include moisturizing in your routine for taking care of your skin every day. Step out of the shower and immediately apply a moisturizing lotion to your entire body (the thicker it is, the richer it is). According to the AAD, use a cream or ointment on particularly dry skin. Shea butter, hyaluronic acid, and jojoba oil-based products are other options to think about.
Create new bathing practices that are good for your skin. The AAD recommends limiting your total bathing time to 5 to 10 minutes and avoiding hot showers and baths. Choose a gentle cleanser or liquid body wash in place of regular bar soap because they can contain ingredients like fragrances and preservatives that are harsh on your skin.
Stay away from harsh chemicals on your skin. Apple cider vinegar and alcohol are included in this. According to Shainhouse, these ingredients can exacerbate dry skin and, in rare circumstances, even result in burns.
Be sure to hydrate yourself. Water consumption is said to make skin appear less dehydrated. Even though the Mayo Clinic notes that there isn’t conclusive evidence linking water consumption to the treatment of dry skin, staying hydrated may have additional health advantages.
Consider the weather when choosing your outfit. To prevent sunburns and skin cancer, this goes beyond applying sunscreen during the summer. Shainhouse advises wearing gloves to protect hands from chapping and drying out before venturing outside in the winter.