Dry Skin: Natural Remedies + Dos and Don'ts
Wondering how to remedy dry and flaky skin? Save yourself a trip to the drugstore and check your kitchen cabinets. It might be just the place hiding secrets to beautiful and healthy skin.August 28, 2021 7 minutes read
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Some people are more sensitive to sudden weather changes, harsh soaps, and chemicals, and tend to have dry skin. If you feel like your facial skin is often tight, flaky, and itchy, you might reap great benefits from gentler treatments and natural home remedies.
In this article, we'll discuss the possible causes of dry skin and find out more about home remedies you can DIY and other treatments.
What Causes Dry Skin?
The list of underlying causes for dry skin is quite long – from environmental factors, genetics, and various skin conditions to the lack of natural oils due to aging. Whatever the cause, having dry skin, or xerosis, can be quite uncomfortable and usually accompanied by tightness and itching.
This skin type is characterized by reduced sebum secretion, resulting in decreased softness and elasticity. Over time, the lack of natural oils leads to dehydration and increased sensitivity. Dry skin is mostly thin, with pronounced fine lines and folds.
Those of you with dry skin type know how important it is to have a proper and regular skincare routine. Otherwise, your skin will tend to crack, be constantly irritated, and show the first signs of aging sooner than you would want.
On the bright side, dry skin rarely has problems with acne, blackheads, and excessive shine, and the lack of elasticity and itchiness can be healed by adding some natural remedies to your skincare routine.
And, yes, you guessed it! All the natural ingredients you need are most likely already in your kitchen. If you're curious to find out what those are, keep on reading. We will also share some quick tips on dos and don'ts for dry skin.
Natural Remedies For Dry Skin
To restore moisture and relieve the uncomfortable feelings caused by dry skin, you can make use of many natural ingredients beneficial for dry skin that you already own and that are worth trying.
Some experts even suggest that using natural oils and remedies is a better choice for many people since they are pure and don't contain preservatives, fragrances, and other chemicals that can only irritate your skin even more.
So, let's break down some of the most beneficial ingredients you can try at home:
Coconut oil is full of saturated fatty acids and vitamin E. The fatty acids act as an emollient. In other words, it's an excellent moisturizer for dry skin because it fills in the gaps of cracked skin and increases the number of lipids or fats on the skin's surface, leaving it hydrated and smooth [source]. While vitamin E is an antioxidant, protecting the skin from harmful environmental factors.
You can use it daily without worrying that it will cause any irritation. It's gentle enough to use even on the most sensitive parts of your face, such as around the eyes and mouth.
Olive oil is an excellent natural cleanser. Unlike other cleansers that contain detergents, olive oil is mild to your skin. It won't strip it of natural oils that your dry skin already lacks [source].
You can use it to remove makeup as well. Just rub it into your face, and then use a damp and warm cloth to wipe away the dirt and excess oil.
Sunflower Seed Oil
Rich in vitamins and omega-6 fatty acids, the sunflower seed oil is great for soothing redness and irritated skin. Linoleic, or omega-6, acid hydrates the skin, soothes any inflammation and promotes skin cells' regeneration.
Treat yourself to an oatmeal bath from time to time. It's a known common folk remedy and was used by our grandmothers and great-grandmothers for centuries. Adding oatmeal powder to your bath or using oats-rich creams can relieve itchiness while moisturizing your skin at the same time [source].
After the bath, use coconut oil or sunflower seed oil to lock in the moisture and all the great nutrients from the oatmeal.
Packed with a number of skin-friendly vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, a homemade DIY avocado face mask is one of the best natural masks for revitalizing and nourishing dry skin [source].
It contains A, E, and B vitamins, as well as iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium, that will nourish and soothe the skin. You can make a face mask with avocado mixed with either honey, milk, yogurt, oatmeal, or banana.
Puree one (or one half) ripe avocado, and mix it with a tablespoon of honey and a teaspoon of coconut oil. Apply it generously to your face and leave it for half an hour. After washing it off, you can go on and apply your regular moisturizer.
Due to its anti-inflammatory properties and lactic acid, milk makes a wonderful natural exfoliant. Adding milk to your diet, as well as applying it to your skin, can improve dry skin by strengthening its barrier [source].
You can make milk compress and leave it on your skin, not more than ten minutes at a time. Do it with caution because the lactic acid from the milk can sometimes sting dry and cracked skin.
Studies show that products that contain petroleum jelly can be extremely beneficial for dry skin. It locks in the moisture of the skin and acts as its protective layer. It heals dry skin patches and soothes irritation, especially during cold and dry winters [source].
Pumpkin, pineapple, and papaya are some of the fruit enzymes to gun for. Due to the alpha-hydroxy acids, fruit enzymes are natural exfoliants that are particularly useful for dry skin. They gently remove dead skin cells leaving the skin glowy, radiant and moisturized as well [source].
However, be mindful when using exfoliating fruit-acid masks and washes, and don't overdo it. Experts recommend trying it once in two weeks to start and see how your skin reacts. Once your skin gets used to them and doesn't show any irritation, you can continue and exfoliate once a week.
Research has shown that honey can alleviate many skin conditions and that it's beneficial to all skin types. It's one of nature's miracle skin remedies. It acts as a natural humectant, drawing and retaining moisture in the skin. It also has antibacterial and antiseptic properties.
All in all, honey is a safe and powerful home remedy, and both people with dry as well as acne-prone skin can greatly benefit from it.
For best results, try Manuka honey. You can apply it directly to the damp skin or mix it with avocado, oatmeal, or whatever home ingredient you have and your skin likes best.
As the most praised natural remedy for sunburns, Aloe Vera, most commonly in the form of gel, can help heal cuts and sores, eczema, psoriasis, and inflammatory acne. It also does wonders for dry skin, alleviating dryness, irritation, and redness, and people with dry skin can find it quite helpful, especially during cold winter months [source].
However, be mindful when using this amazing plant because it's known to cause contact dermatitis in some people. Experts advise doing a patch test before applying it to your face or a larger skin area.
Dry Skin Dos And Don'ts
Now when we know all about the best dry skin natural remedies and their benefits, let's break down some dos and don'ts when it comes to your dry skin skincare routine:
#1: Don't Use Hot Water.
While taking a steamy hot shower might sound appealing, especially during cold winter days, it can cause some severe skin damage. Hot water and steam can dry out your skin even more. So adjust the water temperature to lukewarm whenever possible.
#2: Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize!
Hydrating with different natural oils, petroleum jelly, or any other moisturizing cream that you enjoy using, is a No.1 skincare routine step. By the way, don't forget to drink enough water and hydrate your dry skin from the inside as well!
After taking a shower or a bath, ditch the towel and apply your moisturizer to damp skin. This way, you'll lock all the moisture in and prevent transepidermal water loss.
#3: Avoid Harsh Chemicals.
Be careful with what you put on your skin. Read labels when purchasing products and avoid chemicals that can irritate your already sensitive dry skin.
This also includes alcohol and apple cider vinegar. While your peers with oily skin might enjoy all the benefits from this natural remedy, your dry skin won't tolerate it. Alcohols and vinegar can only worsen dry skin and, in some cases, even cause burns.
#4: Use Gentler Cleansers.
If you use cleansers with soap, harsher chemicals, and other irritants, your skin will be stripped of all the natural oils and moisture, leaving it even drier and dull. With a gentler cleanser, your skin will preserve its natural oils and the right hydration levels, and it will be able to maintain a healthy barrier function.
#5: Include Exfoliating in Your Skincare Routine.
To remove excess dry skin and dead skin cells, try to introduce the exfoliating step in your skincare routine. By removing the dead cells from your skin's surface, you'll promote your skin cell turnover, minimize dry patches, and improve its overall texture.
Depending on the type of exfoliants you use, mechanical or chemical, experts usually suggest doing this step two or three times a week. Although their name may suggest something harsher, chemical exfoliants are considered gentler than their mechanical counterparts.
On that note, don't push your skin too hard with exfoliating. For starters, you could try it once a week and see how your skin likes it because over-exfoliating can worsen the dry skin symptoms.
#6: Be Mindful of the Weather.
This means wearing sunscreen during summer and a nice thick layer of moisturizer to protect you from the cold winds during winter. This is a general rule for everybody, no matter the skin type. But those of you with dry skin need to be extra careful!
Some Parting Words of Advice...
By regularly using masks for dry skin that contain all the necessary vitamins, you will bring the production of sebum into balance and maintain your skin health. Use your moisturizer and sunscreen daily, even on those days when your skin feels good!
Keep in mind that dry skin problems can't be solved overnight and that it takes some time to improve your skin's general condition.
If these home remedies and proper skincare routine don't bring you any relief, your dry skin might be an indication of a more serious health condition. If the itchiness, redness, and irritation persist, please seek help from a dermatologist!
What helps dry skin naturally?
You can get some relief for your dry skin with home remedies, such as milk, avocado oil, coconut oil, honey, oatmeal, and aloe vera gel. Also, it would help if you didn't wash your face with hot water or use harsh skincare ingredients like alcohol.
What can I do for extremely dry skin?
If your skin is extremely dry, you may benefit from exfoliating it at least once or twice weekly. In addition, you should use gentle cleansers and moisturizers with ceramides, squalane, glycerin, and plant oils.
What should I eat for dry skin?
You should eat foods rich in vitamin D, like fatty fish, red meats, mushrooms, eggs, tofu, and milk. In addition, you may greatly benefit from collagen-rich foods and supplements as these can boost your skin's hydration, keeping it nourished, supple, and healthy.
What is the main cause of dry skin?
There are many potential causes of dry skin, such as genetics, extreme weather and other environmental influences, unbalanced diet, aging, as well as certain skin conditions. However, sometimes your skin may become dry from sun damage, over-washing, or over-exfoliating.
Why is my skin so dry even when I moisturize?
This may be due to some potentially drying ingredients in your moisturizer. Skincare ingredients to steer clear of when you have dry skin are salicylic acid, sulfates, drying alcohols (like ethanol or alcohol denat), and soaps.