Dry skin usually occurs when the sebaceous glands produce less oil than necessary. This lack of sebum results in skin feeling tight with a dull or rough-looking texture and can be red, flakey, and itchy. “That feeling of your skin being tight can happen all over your body. Wherever you have oil glands, and 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. The use of harsh products or a damaged protective barrier can also be reasons for your dry skin.
Since dry skin lacks moisture, it can crack, wrinkle, or get damaged by external aggressors more easily, so it’s essential to keep moisture in place. Besides your ceramide moisturizer and hyaluronic acid serum, you can relieve your thirsty skin with these hydrating natural remedies for dry skin.
Repleted with several essential antioxidants and vitamins, avocados can nourish your skin and restore a natural glow. Avocado pulp is a high source of B-carotene and fatty acids that moisturize the tissue, while vitamin E enhances hydration even more. Besides its high moisturizing perks, avocado has anti-itching benefits — another reason it’s super good for dry skin.
How to use: Puree half an avocado and mix it with one teaspoon of olive oil and honey. Layer the mixture to your complexion and decolletage, and leave it for 20 minutes before washing it off. Try sticking to the habit, and apply the mask twice a week for noticeable results.
Sunflower seed oil
Rich in linoleic acid and vitamins A, D, and E, the sunflower seed oil is great for minimizing redness and easing irritation. However, what makes sunflower seed oil one of the best natural remedies for dry skin is its emollient and occlusive properties that soften skin and support moisture retention. Gently massaging sunflower seed oil into your skin can leave you not only with a dewy, radiant complexion but also a fortified barrier.
Another natural remedy that does wonders for dry skin is coconut oil. Coconut oil contains a great source of saturated fatty acids and is praised for being a great moisturizer. Studies actually found that coconut oil is very effective for skin hydration delivering an increase in the level of lipids on the skin’s surface when used regularly.
The use of oats as topical agents for soothing and cleansing the skin dates back to ancient times. Oatmeal is a natural emollient filled with lipids and fatty acids, polysaccharides, enzymes, vitamin E, proteins, and saponins. These compounds have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-itching properties, which you already know greatly benefit dry skin. More than that, colloidal oatmeal (aka oats ground into an extremely fine powder) is currently approved as an over-the-counter skin protectant drug. Just add a cup of powdered oatmeal to a warm bath, and you’ll notice its particular hydrating effect.
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 helps exfoliate dead cells and increases the complexion’s ability to retain moisture. Finally, milk has soothing effects that can help preserve the skin’s delicate pH levels and reinforce the barrier.
Maybe you won’t fill your entire bathtub with milk, as Cleopatra used to, yet you can use milk in some other ways to treat dry skin. For your complexion, 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, you can 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. In this way, the natural milk moisturizer will remain on your skin for longer.
Honey has records of its skincare benefits dating back to 2000 B.C. when ancient Greeks and Egyptians used honey to heal burns and wounds. Precisely, it’s been shown that honey is antiseptic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiallergenic, and has antioxidant, healing, and moisturizing effects. Honey’s properties may also contribute to tissue repair, reduce wounds’ inflammation, and promote healing. 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.
Petroleum jelly is a mixture of mineral oils and waxes, which form a semisolid jelly-like substance. When applied to the skin, it acts as an occlusive that coats the surface with a protective film to block the skin’s moisture from evaporating. In 2017, a group of researchers found that the skin barrier improved after using petroleum jelly on older people’s dry skin. This encourages the idea of using petroleum jelly to hydrate dry, cracked skin. You can use a petroleum jelly-infused product, such as these occlusive moisturizers, to keep your dry skin hydrated and soft, or you can try slugging before you hit the hay.
Having antiseptic, humectant, and soothing properties, aloe vera gel is one of the most popular natural remedies to moisturize dry skin. A 2003 study concluded that aloe vera gel improves skin integrity, helps reduce the look of wrinkles, and relieves dryness. If you have a fresh aloe vera plant, cut open a leaf, squeeze the gel out of it, apply it on the skin, and leave it on for 15 minutes before rinsing it off.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine, and watch your salt intake.
- Don’t use heavily scented products, as they may further irritate the skin.
- Limit to a 5 minutes shower daily. If you spend more time bathing, it can strip away the skin’s oily layer, causing it to lose moisture. Also, use lukewarm water instead of hot water.
- Always apply moisturizer right after bathing on damp skin. This will help your skin seal in moisture longer and better.
- Use fragrance-free laundry detergents and avoid fabric softeners, or look for skin-friendly ones.
- Never scratch the dry areas, better apply a moisturizer to control the itch. Also, try placing a cold pack on the area to relieve the feeling.
- Use a humidifier in the winter, when the skin tends to dry out more.
- Avoid wearing wool and other fabrics that can irritate the skin.
- In skincare and makeup, ensure the products don’t include drying ingredients, such as SLSs, alcohol, or fragrance.
- Try staying away from bath sponges, scrub brushes, or washcloths, or use a light version of them. For the same reason, pat the skin dry when toweling.
Women’s Concepts uses reliable sources, including dermatologists’ insights, clinical trials, and scientific journals, to find accurate information and support all the facts shared in our articles. All statements and claims have clear and legit references. Read our editorial policy to learn more about our sources of information, our process of researching and fact-checking the content, and how our team strives to keep all articles updated, completed, and trustworthy.
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- Dermatology Learning Network, New Learnings on the Clinical Benefits of Colloidal Oatmeal in Atopic Dermatitis, October 2012
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