Dry skin can be a real pain if left unaddressed. It’s itchy and uncomfortable and can lead to serious conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Generally speaking, dry skin is caused by a lack of moisture in the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin). This happens because your body doesn’t produce enough sebum, an oily substance that naturally hydrates and protects the skin. “When there is less sebum being produced than necessary, your skin will feel dry and tight,” says Dr. Debra Jaliman, board-certified NYC dermatologist and Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Common causes of irregular sebum production include:
- Hormonal changes (think puberty or menopause)
- Medications that can affect hormone production (e.g., birth control pills)
- Poor diet
- Genetic or hereditary skin disorders
Sebum production aside, there are a number of other factors that can contribute to dry skin. These include weather conditions, harsh cleansers or detergents, and rare medical conditions like ichthyosis.
People with dry skin often find that their condition improves with moisturizing products such as lotions and creams. However, in addition to ceramide moisturizer and hyaluronic acid serum, you can soothe your thirsty skin with home remedies that are usually less expensive and more accessible. In this post, we take a closer look at six science-backed natural solutions for hydrating dry skin and restoring a plump appearance.
Hydrate with CBD oil
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural anti-inflammatory cannabinoid—a primary active compound in cannabis—that can help soothe your skin and stimulate cell regeneration. A 2019 study from Hungary’s University of Debrecen suggests that CBD plays a major role in easing itchiness and dryness via its interactions with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is involved in the regulation of a range of essential physiological functions. By reducing inflammation, CBD can keep potential triggers of conditions like dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema in check. Another study actually found that CBD can be effective for dry, dehydrated skin.
Is it legal, and will it get you high?
Unlike its famous cousin, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is non-psychoactive. This means it won’t cause couchlock, diminished motor function, or other effects associated with the so-called “high” from cannabis consumption. In fact, most CBD products are sourced entirely from hemp, a fully legal variety of cannabis containing negligible concentrations of THC. CBD is also available in user-friendly formats, including legal cannabis gummies, tinctures, and topical products like infused creams or balms.
Use avocado to moisturize your skin
Avocados are not only delicious. They provide a host of natural benefits for your skin as well. The flesh of the avocado fruit is chock full of nutrients that hydrate and revitalize dry, rough skin.
Specifically, avocados are a good source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which restore moisture to the skin. Plus, they are rich in vitamins A, C, D, and E, which provide antioxidant protection and stimulate cellular turnover. If you aren’t impressed, avocado oil also contains essential minerals and nutrients like potassium and lecithin known. These compounds heal, moisturize, and protect the skin beyond the surface.
To use avocado to moisturize your skin: Mash the fruit’s flesh, apply it to your skin, leave it on for 20 minutes, and rinse it with warm water.
Oats are natural emollients that soften and smooth. Moreover, they’re rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve inflamed and irritated skin. All in all, an oatmeal bath can provide your skin with hydration and relief from conditions associated with persistent dryness.
If you decide to purchase oatmeal for a DIY soak, look for products labeled “colloidal oatmeal” or “finely milled oatmeal.” Avoid products labeled “quick oats” or “steel cut oats,” as these will not dissolve as well in water and can leave your skin feeling itchy or tingly.
Braving the cold months with aloe vera
Far from just a remedy for sunburns, aloe vera is beneficial as a means of maintaining skin moist and healthy through the wintertime. The abundance of nourishing vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and enzymes in this succulent plant provides a ton of skincare benefits.
For starters, aloe vera acts as a humectant to draw moisture into the skin. Besides, the gel forms a barrier that locks in moisture so it doesn’t evaporate into the atmosphere. Lastly, aloe vera contains compounds called anthraquinones that have anti-inflammatory properties. They help to reduce redness, swelling, and irritation associated with dry skin.
The aloe vera plant contains a gel-like substance that you can apply directly to the skin without any processing whatsoever.
Dip a cotton ball in milk
Milk is hydrating, which is why it has been used as a natural remedy for dry skin for what seems like forever. Milk also contains lactic acid, which exfoliates dead cells and increases the skin’s ability to retain moisture. Finally, milk has soothing effects that can help preserve the skin’s delicate pH levels and reinforce the moisture barrier.
You don’t need to fill your entire bathtub with milk as Cleopatra used to. Instead, you can dip a cotton ball in milk and dab it all over the face. After 20 minutes, wash with cold water and apply a moisturizer to lock in hydration. For the rest of your body, soak a washcloth in cold milk and place it on dry patches for 5-7 minutes. Then gently wash off the milk with another cloth soaked in lukewarm water.
Honey has records of its hydrating and restorative benefits dating back to 2000 B.C. when ancient Greeks and Egyptians used it to heal burns and wounds. Briefly, honey is antiseptic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiallergenic, and has antioxidant, healing, and moisturizing effects. If you use organic Manuka honey, you hit it big—just slather a layer of honey over cleansed face and rinse after 30 minutes. Watch your skin glow.