Dry skin is irritating, unattractive and stubborn, particularly during the winter months, when dry cold weather and arid indoor heating combine to rob the skin of its natural layer of protective oils. Though it’s tempting to head to the department store and pick up a batch of pricy products full of promises, first look around your house. You’ll be surprised at the number of effective, organic moisturizers that are already in your kitchen or bathroom.
Used for centuries as a natural dry skin remedy, amazing olive oil soothes rough hands, elbows and heels, grooms cracking cuticles and calms itchy, dry skin. During especially arid, windy winter days, smooth on a thin layer of extra-virgin olive oil under your regular moisturizer. This all-purpose oil not only moisturizes the skin, but it is also chock-full of antioxidants and the good fatty acids. Give an extra-dry skin a treat by dabbing olive oil on the skin, covering with a warm, damp cloth for several minutes and then wiping away excess oil. Skin will be smooth, soft and supple.
Whether eaten or slathered on the face and body, yogurt is a treat for the skin and can be used as a mildly exfoliant cleanser or a moisturizing mask. The plain Greek variety is best for external use, and its exfoliant activity is provided safely by lactic acid.
A near-miracle cure for chapped lips, rough elbows and cracked heels, organic honey effectively helps replenish the skin’s oil, sooth inflammation and heal scaly, rough skin. Apply honey to the lips, heels or elbows before going to bed and waken to softer skin. Feet can be covered with cotton socks to keep the honey on your skin and not your sheets.
Vitamin E-packed oatmeal is a fragrant, soothing treat for dry skin. One of the best hydrating treatments for itchy, irritated skin is a soak in a lukewarm bath infused with a cup of oatmeal. Moisturize immediately afterward to seal in the bath’s benefits. Oatmeal can also be used instead of soap on dry, itchy hands; simply rub hands with wet oatmeal, dry with a towel and then rub with dry oatmeal. Corn starch and baking soda also ease dry, itchy skin when added to bath water.
Homemade Masks and Scrubs
Lots of common household substances can be used to create soothing natural masks and scrubs. A scrub made of equal parts brown sugar and oil applied in light circular motions gently exfoliates skin, while honey or lemon juice adds an extra pop of vitamins and minerals. Shower thoroughly afterwards to remove gritty and sticky residue, and emerge with smooth, glowing skin. Salt can also be used as an exfoliant, but is somewhat more abrasive than brown sugar.
Yes, we all know we need to stay hydrated, and trying to drink eight glasses of water a day is not only part of a healthy diet, but also serves to keep the skin moist and smooth. In winter, moisture can also be added to the air by using a humidifier or putting some water on the stove at a slow boil, letting the steam flow through the house.
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