Dry skin occurs when we lose moisture faster that it can be replenished, resulting in red and itchy skin that feels rough to the touch and appears prematurely aged.
The key ingredients needed to keep skin moisturized are humectants, emollients, and occlusives. Humectants draw moisture from the air to keep the skin hydrated. Emollients keep skin surfaces smooth by filling in spaces between the cells. And occlusives create a thin, breathable barrier that helps protect the skin from water loss.
Here are our favorite natural remedies for reinvigorating dry skin, many of which may already be in your home:
1. Aloe Vera
Dubbed the “plant of immortality” by the ancient Egyptians, aloe vera contains 75 constituents spanning vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and enzymes.
While aloe vera juice is a well known treatment for soothing cuts and burns, it possesses antioxidant and humectant properties that help moisturize, prevent acne flare ups, and reverse the signs of aging. Sugars found in the juice and flesh of the leaves binds epidermal cells together to soften skin, increases collagen production for improved elasticity, and reduces redness.
Harvest aloe vera juice yourself from a live plant or purchase aloe vera gel like this one here on Amazon.
2. Argan Oil
Pressed from the kernels of the Argania spinosa tree, argan oil is made up of 99% healthy fats with a goodly sum of antioxidants like catechins, carotenoids, tocopherols, and caffeic acid.
Argan oil works wonders as an emollient, hydrating and nourishing the skin, but it also keeps inflammation at bay, helps clear skin infections, speeds up wound healing, protects from sun damage, and has an anti-aging effect – all in one bottle.
To treat dry skin, use only pure, organic, cold-pressed argan oil, like this one.
3. Avocado Oil
A rich source of vitamin E – an antioxidant is key to the maintenance of healthy skin – avocado oil also contains a diverse fatty acid profile that includes other skin revitalizing components like oleic, palmitoleic, linoleic, linolenic, palmitic, and stearic acids.
Pick up a bottle of organic, cold-pressed avocado oil here.
The stuff of honeycombs, beeswax is a complex substance composed of fatty acids, hydrocarbons, monoesters, and propolis – a resin made up of phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and trace elements like zinc and manganese.
When melted and applied to the skin, beeswax does the double work of drawing moisture into the epidermis like a humectant while also creating a thin protective barrier as an occlusive. When used to treat contact dermatitis, it improved redness, scaling, and skin tears by a factor of 98%. It also helped prevent transepidermal water loss, one of the conditions of chronically dry skin.
The uses for beeswax are many and varied. Pick up some cosmetic grade beeswax pellets here.
Commonly called pot marigold, Calendula officinalis is a pretty yellow flowering plant that has many practical uses around the home – including skin care.
A healing herb to be sure, calendula petals and pollen contain carotenoids and flavonoids that have a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect on the skin. Studies on calendula have shown that it increases skin hydration, delays aging, tightens skin structures, and prevents damage.
6. Cocoa Butter
Cocoa beans contain 380 known phytochemicals and are an abundant source of antioxidants like catechins, anthocyandins, and flavonoids. This unique collection of polyphenols in cocoa improves skin structures, skin elasticity, and boosts collagen levels.
When cocoa butter is rendered into a smooth, aromatic cream, it works as both an emollient and occlusive to heal and hydrate the skin. Its melting point sits just below normal skin temperature and so it seals and locks moisture into the epidermis.
Pick up a 1-pound bag of raw and pure cocoa butter here.
7. Coconut Oil
Acting as an emollient, coconut oil is enriched with lauric, caprylic, capric, and other fatty acids that work in tandem to cleanse the skin of bacteria, calm inflammation, and moisturize the skin surface. It also contains small amounts of vitamin E, but when coconut oil is combined with a rich source of this antioxidant, like sweet almond oil, it boosts absorption by 65%.
To ensure all the beneficial properties remain intact, use only organic, virgin, unrefined coconut oil like this one.
8. Colloidal Oatmeal
Made from finely ground whole dehulled oat grain, colloidal oatmeal provides an all-in-one solution for many skin woes.
When mixed with a liquid like botanical oils, yogurt, or simply water, colloidal oatmeal cleans, moisturizes, soothes, and protects the epidermis. In addition to its capacity as an emollient, it forms a nice barrier on the skin’s surface that will prevent water loss as it heals the skin structures beneath. And colloidal oatmeal is powerful enough to treat chronic skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
You can make your own supply of colloidal oatmeal by grinding up old fashioned oatmeal or by purchasing it here.
9. Dead Sea Salt
A site of healing for centuries, the Dead Sea is composed of a rich assortment of minerals that include magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Bathing in these salts has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin that also improves skin barrier function and is deeply hydrating.
Sourced from innumerable types of floral nectars, it’s no wonder that honey is composed of a unique complex of sugars, proteins, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Long used to treat flesh wounds to speed up healing, honey is also a fantastic balm for dry skin. Its humectant properties draw water from the air and trap it into the skin, while its supply of vitamins A and B and host of minerals help heal and nourish.
11. Jojoba Oil
Of the Simmondsia chinensis shrub, jojoba oil is structurally similar to human sebum and, for this reason, is readily absorbed by our epidermis.
With the uncanny ability to correct overproduction and underproduction of oils in the skin, jojoba oil is enriched with skin friendly nutrients like zinc, vitamin E and B vitamins. It provides long lasting hydration while also being gentle enough for sensitive skin. And because it is technically more of a wax than an oil, jojoba spread on the surface of the skin creates an occlusive barrier too.
Pick up a bottle of 100% pure, organic jojoba oil here.
12. Mango Butter
Mango butter is extracted from the pit of the fruit and is rife with vitamins A and C, as well as essential fatty acids like oleic, linoleic, palmitic, and arachidic acids.
Deeply hydrating without being greasy, mango butter has a high moisture content that can be used every day, even on sensitive skin types. Its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties also mean it will help reduce fine lines and wrinkles, plump up the skin surface, and soothe irritated patches. Forming a thin layer on top of the skin, it will help protect from the sun, wind, and other environmental stressors.
Purchase raw, pure mango butter here.
13. Shea Butter
An incredibly nourishing complex fat, shea butter is composed of calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, potassium, fatty acids, and vitamin E, as well as other antioxidants like gallic acid and catechins.
Doubling as an emollient and occlusive, shea butter creates a thin barrier on the skin that protects as it hydrates. We recommend using 100% unrefined shea butter products, found here.
14. Sunflower Oil
Sunflower seeds are plentiful in essential fatty acids and are an excellent source of vitamin E and B vitamins. When pressed into an oil, it is naturally hydrating when applied to the skin, with the ability to regenerate skin cells, fight free radical damage, hasten healing, repair skin barrier function, and reduce the appearance of scars.
Pick up a bottle of organic, cold-pressed sunflower seed oil here.
15. Sweet Almond Oil
A mild, hypoallergenic botanical oil that is gentle enough for baby’s skin, sweet almond oil is high in vitamin E, vitamin K, and B-complex vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and pantothenic acid, as well as minerals zinc, calcium, magnesium, and potassium – all of which help smooth and rejuvenate the skin.
In addition to its emollient qualities, sweet almond oil possesses anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat eczema and psoriasis, improve complexion and skin tone, reduce scarring, and prevent the signs of aging.
Pick up a bottle of 100% pure sweet almond oil here.
16. Rose Water
Made from distilled Rosa damascena petals, rose water is often used as a facial toner to clean the skin and tighten pores. The chemical constituents of rose water, though, also mean it’s wonderful for hydrating the skin.
Composed of an array of antioxidants like vitamin C, kaempferol, quercetin, and anthocyanins, rose water exerts an anti-aging, antimicrobial, pH balancing, and softening effects on the skin. Its capacity as an anti-inflammatory means it will help heal the dermis while reducing swelling, redness, and irritation of dry skin.
A pungent yellow-orange spice ground up from Curcuma longa rhizomes, turmeric is a superb ingredient you can incorporate into your DIY skin care recipes.
The active component in turmeric is curcumin, a natural phenol with robust healing properties. Curcumin has been found to correct oily skin, reverse the signs of aging, protect from sun damage, and speed up the wound healing process. It is also helpful for treating chronic inflammations of the skin, such as eczema and rosacea, by blocking pro-inflammatory enzymes that cause dryness, redness, swelling, and scaliness.
How To Fix Dry Skin Fast
Using emollients, humectants, and occlusives in your skin care regimen is only part of the battle for soft, supple skin. Here are some lifestyle tweaks that can make all the difference:
Drink Plenty Of Water
Soak In The Bath
For stubborn cases of dryness, try soaking in a tub of lukewarm water for 15 minutes each day.
The 3-Minute Rule
Always apply lotion in 3 minutes or less after showering or washing your face. Moisturizing while your skin is hydrated is one of the most efficient ways to prevent water loss after you’ve dried off.
Invest In A Humidifier
Especially beneficial when you live in a cooler climate, humidifiers are great for passive skin and hair hydration.
Both sun and cold winds are hard on the skin. In the winter, wear gloves, hat, and scarf to protect from the chill and always apply a good sunscreen during the warmer months.