Your kitchen may hold the secret to achieving healthy, vibrant skin.
The list of culprits that can cause dry skin is a long one: From daily bathing habits (think hot showers and scrubbing yourself dry with a towel) and wicked winter weather to a lack of natural oils in your skin as you age.
The good news is that you don’t necessarily need to visit a dermatologist to heal your dry skin.
Instead, consider adding a natural remedy to your skin care routine at home. In fact, the ingredients for these dry skin remedies might already be in your kitchen.
Why Opt for a Natural Dry Skin Remedy
Given the countless skin products that are available, a natural remedy may be worth trying, says Christine Lopez, MD, a dermatologist and vice-chair of the department of dermatology at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.
Natural oils and remedies tend to be pure, Dr. Lopez says, which makes them a better choice for many people. “Other over-the-counter products can have a ton of ingredients in them — they not only contain the active moisturizing products, but they also have preservatives.” That’s often the case water-based products. These, along with products that contain alcohol and fragrances can cause irritation or an allergic reaction, or dry out your 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 water-based lotions and creams or those containing preservatives, pure oils have a natural base, making them great dry skin remedies.
The Basics of Natural Remedies for Dry Skin
Your skin naturally produces oil (sebum), which helps to protect the skin from moisture loss, but actions people take every day — forgetting to put on moisturizer or washing your hands with a drying soap — can strip the natural oils from your skin. Using beauty oils can help restore your skin’s sheen and add back that protective barrier against the elements to keep your skin from losing its own natural moisture.
There are many ways to use natural oils, both on their own as a simple moisturizer or mixed with other ingredients to make a nourishing mask or exfoliating rub. Castor oil, lavender oil, and avocado oil are good natural remedies for dry skin, Lopez says.
Coconut oil, another natural oil you might have in your kitchen cabinet, is another good choice. People with atopic dermatitis, an allergic skin condition characterized by dryness and itching, saw excellent results when they used virgin coconut oil on their skin, according to research published in January 2014 in the International Journal of Dermatology.
Aloe vera, a plant with natural healing properties, can also be infused in oils and used as a natural moisturizer.
Tried and True Dry Skin Remedies
A simple way to use your favorite oil (in its purest form), is to drizzle the oil into warm bath water and treat yourself to a short soak; gently pat your skin dry afterward to avoid rubbing all the oil off.
You can also try these natural remedies:
- 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 manager of LeBliss Salon and Spa in Louisville, Kentucky. “Just rub the oil into your skin and drape a warm, damp cloth over your face until it cools,” Crompton says, “then wipe away the excess oil.” Olive oil is a good choice as a cleanser because it won’t strip your skin’s natural oils, but it will clean your skin, she adds.
- 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, then wash it off. Your skin should feel moisturized, but you can double up on the hydrating effects by applying your regular moisturizer as well.
- 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, Crompton says. If you want, you can also add an essential oil like lavender, which adds a natural fragrance and promotes relaxation. Gently rub the scrub into your skin, then wash it off.
- Easy oatmeal soak. Adding a cup of oatmeal to a warm bath can naturally rehydrate dry skin, Lopez says. “The oat product itself is soothing,” Lopez explains, and it helps your skin
- retain 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 and wash it off right away, or leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes as a soothing, hydrating mask.
How to Avoid a Dry Skin Relapse
There are other steps you can take to protect your skin and keep it from drying out. For starters, be sure to make moisturizing a 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). You should also avoid hot showers, limit baths to 10 minutes, and opt for a mild body wash rather than a drying bar soap. Lastly, boosting your water intake helps hydrate your body and moisturize your skin from the inside out.