8 Home Remedies for Dry Skin
By: Sarah Taylor, MD
Dry skin (xerosis) is a common condition with many causes. Dry skin can be a symptom that indicates a more serious diagnosis. But in most cases, dry skin is caused by environmental factors that remove moisture from the skin.
Heat, hot showers, arid climates, and harsh soaps can all trigger dry skin. Fortunately, you can use home remedies to address dry skin symptoms and restore moisture. Read on to learn more.
1. Coconut oil
Coconut oil has emollient propertiesTrusted Source. Emollients fill the spaces between skin cells, creating a smooth surface. That’s why the saturated fatty acids that occur naturally in coconut oil can hydrate and smooth the skin.
You can use coconut oil daily on even the most sensitive parts of your body. These include the area underneath your eyes and around your mouth. Another advantage of coconut oil is that you don’t need to mix it with anything. Coconut is gentle enough for substantial everyday use.
2. Petroleum jelly
According to a studyTrusted Source, petroleum jelly products can heal skin in older adults. Petroleum jelly, also known as mineral oil, covers the skin in a protective layer. It traps moisture underneath. This helps heal dry, irritated skin patches.
3. Oatmeal baths
Oatmeal is common folk remedy for irritated skin. A 2015 studyTrusted Source showed why grandmothers and great-grandmothers have been recommending this home remedy for centuries: It works.
Colloidal oatmeal has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that soothe irritation. This remedy is especially effective if you’re seeking to relieve itching. After you’ve taken an oatmeal bath, make sure you moisturize your skin to lock in the barrier.
You can make an oatmeal bath at home. Use a food processor to chop oatmeal into a fine powder, then stir it into warm water. You can also try one of the many commercial products available to make an oatmeal soak.
4. Antioxidants and omega-3s
When your skin is dry, it means you’re exposing it to elements that are damaging skin cells faster than your body can repair them. There are some foods that can help your skin appear healthier, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Foods rich in antioxidants can minimize damage from toxins and help your body make healthy cells. Some of the foods that contribute to skin health include:
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, may also contribute to a glowing-skin diet.
Hands tend to experience the most direct contact with environmental irritants. These include dish soap and laundry detergent.
Get in the habit of wearing gloves when your hands are in water. Your hands also take a lot of abuse when temperatures drop and you’re working outside in the cold.
Wearing insulated gloves while doing household chores, or when you’re outside in extreme temperatures can cut down on dry, irritated skin.
6. Adjust your shower temperature
The American Academy of Dermatology notes that relieving dry skin is sometimes as simple as changing your shower routine. While most people tend to take hot showers, these can scald the skin and cause damage.
And some soaps that claim to moisturize and repair the skin can cause the opposite effect. They can trigger allergic reactions and make the skin thinner with harsh chemicals.
Take short showers with water that’s warm, not hot. And look for soaps that are fragrance-free and gentler on skin than traditional soaps.
7. Use a humidifier
Keeping a humidifier in your home can help minimize the dryness caused by home heating systems. Though gas and electric heat strip moisture from the air, a humidifier set to 60 percent is enough to offset this effect, according to the Harvard Medical School.
8. Avoid allergens and irritants
A sudden occurrence of dry skin might be connected to the clothes you’re wearing or what you’ve exposed your skin to.
Sitting by the fireplace, spending time in chlorinated or chemically-treated water, or even wearing wool clothing can all irritate your skin and make it feel dry. Check what you’re putting your skin through, and try to treat it gently.
It’s important to preserve healthy skin. Your skin is the first line of defense against bacteria and viruses. When your skin is compromised by itching, an infection can occur. You may want to incorporate a good moisturizer into your daily routine, even when your skin isn’t bothering you.
In fact, maintaining a healthy skin barrier daily is one of the best ways to prevent outbreaks of dry skin. Another essential skincare tip is to use a moisturizing sunscreen every day to prevent skin damage and dryness.
Make sure to wear loose-fitting, cotton clothing that draws sweat away from the skin when you’re exposed to high temperatures or skin-irritating conditions.
Remember that extremely dry skin can be an indication of a more serious condition. If home remedies aren’t helping, you may need to see a doctor to get a prescription treatment to relieve your dry skin.