Recipes To Prevent And Treat Dry Skin

For people living in arid climates, dry skin and chapped lips may be constant challenges. People with eczema and psoriasis also have dry, easily irritated skin. Age-related changes in the skin make it drier. Heredity, humidity, age, ultraviolet light exposure, and other factors affect the relative oiliness of skin. Itching is common. Don’t give in to the urge to scratch, as doing so causes inflammation, breaks down the epidermis (top layer of skin), and introduces microbes into deeper layers. Furthermore, dry skin more easily cracks, which not only hurts but also creates breeches in the barrier. Skin more easily becomes inflamed and infected.

1. The Long Soak

How it works: Cleansing in the shower before you soak allows your skin to take in fresh, clean water from the bathtub. Covering your damp skin with a moisturizing lotion will seal in that water, keeping your skin soft and supple.

  1. Mild soap
  2. Moisturizer
  • DIRECTIONS: Take a quick shower to clean your skin, using a mild soap. Draw a warm bath. Step in and relax. If you’re a reader, bring a magazine or paperback book with you. Once your toes and fingertips begin to pucker, you’re done. Pat dry and immediately apply a moisturizer. Repeat the treatment a couple of times a week.

2. Coconut Oil Rub

How it works: Pure coconut oil is an emollient, which leaves the skin soft and supple. It penetrates the skin quickly with its rich blend of saturated fatty acids, which help replace fats lost from the skin. We recommend virgin coconut oil, which is made from fresh coconut meat without the use of chemicals and high heat, thus creating a higher-quality oil.

  • PREPARATION: Extra-virgin coconut oil
  • DIRECTIONS: Take a shower or bath. Gently pat your skin dry to remove most but not all of the water. Massage in coconut oil.

3. All-Natural Makeup Remover

How it works: Rather than drying out your face by washing it with soap, the coconut oil will cleanse and lubricate skin. It’s especially beneficial for the eye area, where rubbing can damage sensitive skin and wrinkles are more pronounced when the skin is dry.

  • PREPARATION: Coconut oil (also try olive or almond oil)
  • DIRECTIONS: Dab two to four cotton balls with enough oil for each eye and the general face. Gently swab eyes, cheeks, and lips to remove makeup. Gently wipe off the excess with a warm, damp washcloth. Rinse your face with water and pat it dry, leaving the skin damp.

4. Avocado Rub

How it works: Avocado is packed with healthy fats—monounsaturated fatty acids and linoleic acid—that counter dry skin.

  • PREPARATION: ¼ avocado, peeled and pitted
  • DIRECTIONS: In a small bowl, mash the avocado (feel free to use the rest of the avocado in the next recipe). Rub into dry skin. Allow 5 minutes for the avocado to absorb into the skin. Use the damp cloth to remove residual green fruit.

5. Skin-Salvation Salad

How it works: Cold-water fish, such as salmon or tuna, are high in omega-3 fatty acids. One of the symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency is dry skin and eyes. Avocado is rich in the good fats monounsaturated fatty acids and linoleic acid. One study found these fats helpful for psoriasis, although there is no research on dry skin in particular. Olives and olive oil are rich in fatty acids as are walnuts, which are packed with omega-3 fatty acids.

  1. 6 ounces (168 g) salmon
  2. 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil, divided
  3. 3 cups (90 g) torn, well-rinsed spinach
  4. 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into chunks
  5. ¼ cup (25 g) pitted and sliced black olives
  6. ¼ cup (30 g) crushed walnuts
  7. Freshly ground black pepper
  8. 2 tablespoons (30 ml) balsamic vinegar
  9. 1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to broil. Brush the salmon with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the olive oil and place in a baking pan. Broil the salmon for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, toss together the spinach, avocado, olives, and walnuts in a large bowl. Remove the salmon from the oven when the fish flakes with a fork and allow it to cool for several minutes. Cut the salmon into chunks and toss into the salad. Sprinkle the salad with pepper to taste.
In a small bowl, whisk together remaining tablespoon (15 ml) of the olive oil and the vinegar and lemon juice to make a dressing. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and give the salad a final toss.


6. Cocoa Butter Beauty Balm

How it works: Cocoa butter has high saturated fat content and several oils, including oleic acid, which counter dryness. It also has antiseptic effects. One study found it was as effective as mineral oil in improving skin hydration and surface oils in people with very dry skin.

  • PREPARATION: Cocoa butter
  • DIRECTIONS: Smooth the cocoa butter onto the dry area. Use lotion instead of cream if you have a large skin area to cover.
  • NOTE: Pure cocoa butter is available as lotion or cream at a pharmacy or health food store.

7. Luscious Lanolin

How it works: Lanolin is an occlusive agent, forming a barrier against water loss. It also helps soften skin. Some people are sensitive to it. An alternative, petroleum jelly (petrolatum) has a similar action. However, some people prefer not to use it because, as the name suggests, it’s a by-product of the petroleum industry. It does, however, hold in moisture.

  • PREPARATION: Lanolin cream or lotion
  • DIRECTIONS: Smooth over the dry area.
  • WARNING: Don’t apply if you have a skin fungal infection, as sealing in moisture will promote fungal growth. Also stay away from lanolin if you’re allergic. If you’re not sure, apply a nickelsize spot of lanolin to skin. An allergic rash can develop anytime from a couple of hours to a couple of days after application.
  • NOTE: You can buy lanolin at a health food store or pharmacy or online.

8. Glistening Glycerol

How it works: Glycerin helps hold moisture in the skin, but works best when paired with oil or other moisturizing vehicles because glycerin draws water to it and by itself can make the skin feel dry. However, the addition of water and almond or avocado oil provide a counterbalance by moisturizing.

  1. ¼ cup (60 ml) water, boiled and cooled
  2. ½ teaspoon vegetable glycerin
  3. ½ teaspoon almond oil (You can also use avocado oil for especially dry skin.)
  • DIRECTIONS: In a small bowl, whisk together the water and glycerin. Add the almond oil and whisk to combine. Pour the mixture into a sterile container and cap tightly. Wash your face gently before applying. Smooth the moisturizer over clean skin with clean fingertips. Store the product in a cool, dry place.

9. Jojoba on Hand

How it works: Jojoba “oil” is actually liquid wax derived from the seeds of the jojoba plant. This emollient is not greasy, penetrates the skin easily, and does not clog pores as oil-based lotions and creams can do. It’s also antiviral.

  1. 1 scoop of your daily facial moisturizer
  2. 3 drops jojoba oil
  • DIRECTIONS: Put your usual scoop of moisturizer into your palm and add the jojoba oil. Mix together with your fingertips. Smooth over your face and neck in gentle, circular motions.
  • NOTE: Alternatively, you can apply jojoba oil directly to your skin by dropping a few drops onto your fingertips, and then applying gently to the skin below your eyes, your face, and neck.

10. Vera Smooth Skin

How it works: Aloe gel has been shown to increase skin hydration and reduce water loss from the skin.

  • PREPARATION: 1 Aloe vera plant
  • DIRECTIONS: Remove an aloe leaf and clip the end. Squeeze out the gel. Smooth over the skin beneath your eyes in a gentle, circular motion. Continue this action over the rest of your face and neck.
  • NOTE: Alternatively, for the rest of your body, buy aloe gel at a pharmacy or whole foods store. (The few leaves on your plant may not produce enough gel to cover your body!)

11. Rosemary Gladstar’s Luscious Moisturizer

How it works: This mixture of water and these oils creates a moisturizer, which adds or seals in water.

  1. ²∕3 cup (160 ml) distilled water
  2. ¹∕3 cup (80 ml) Aloe vera gel
  3. ¾ cup (175 ml) almond oil (or try apricot or grapeseed)
  4. ½ teaspoon lanolin
  5. ¹∕3 cup (80 ml) virgin coconut oil
  6. 1 tablespoon (14 g) grated beeswax
  7. 1 tablespoon (14 g) shea butter

In a mixing bowl, blend the distilled water and aloe gel. Fill half the bottom of a double boiler with water. Add the almond oil, lanolin, coconut oil, beeswax, and shea butter to the top pan.
Over low heat, warm the ingredients until they liquefy and stir to blend. Pour the oil mixture into a blender and let cool until the mix becomes semisolid, but not solid, 60 to 90 minutes.
Turn on the blender at high speed. Slowly drizzle in the aloe mixture. Blend the ingredients until you have a thick white mixture. Pour into a clean jar and cap tightly. Store the mixture in the refrigerator or other cool location. Apply as needed.


12. Sea Salt Scrub

How it works: Exfoliants remove dead skin cells to reduce the scaliness of dry skin.

  1. 1 cup (236 g) sea salt
  2. ½ cup (120 ml) apricot, olive, almond, or grapeseed oil
  3. Your moisturizer

Fully blend the salt and oil in a clean, dry jar. Set aside.
Shower so that your skin is damp. While still in the shower, turn off the water, scoop out several fingerfuls (about 2 tablespoons [28 g]) of the mixture and scrub your arms and legs, avoiding any wounds or scratches. Rinse thoroughly. Pat yourself dry. Apply your regular moisturizer. Store the bottle of salt scrub in a cool area.

  • WARNING: The oil may make the floor of the shower slippery while using this. Step carefully and rinse the floor thoroughly when finished.
  • NOTE: Alternatively, mix white or brown sugar with the oil, instead of salt.

Lifestyle Tip

  • Load up on vitamin C by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. Collagen, the chief protein in skin, requires vitamin C for its production. Vitamin C also keeps capillary walls strong, to prevent easy bruising.
  • Protect your skin from the sun. Compare the skin on your belly or buttocks with the skin on your forearm. You’ll observe that ultraviolet light ages and dries the skin.
  • Make more use of an avocado mask than the much-celebrated clay masks. Clay absorbs the skin’s oils, while avocado returns needed oils to the skin.
  • Eat plenty of orange and yellow veggies, such as carrots, squash, and papaya. Vitamin A deficiency, although uncommon, can cause severe dry skin, as well as other signs and symptoms. The body can convert alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and betacryptoxanthin to vitamin A.
  • Use mild soaps. Highly touted antibacterial and deodorant soaps have been found to be no more effective than mild soaps and can actually irritate and dry out skin. Plus some of them (particularly those containing the agent triclosan) are bad for the environment and contribute to antibiotic resistance.

When to call the Doctor

  • You develop a rash. (If any of these home remedies or a new commercially prepared skin-care product make you break out, stop using it. See your doctor if the rash persists.)
  • Home treatment does not improve dryness and itching.
  • You develop signs of skin infection: redness, swelling, and discharge.

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