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6 Ways To Heal Cracked Winter Skin in an Instant

These genius, low-cost remedies help turn back the clock.


As winter progresses, dermatological issues are magnified. Everything — from age spots and ashy skin, to cracked hands and cuticles — is exacerbated by the months of cold, dry weather, and fixing these beauty bothers with facials and fancy creams can be expensive.

There are cheaper solutions, however, that you can buy over-the-counter at your local pharmacy (many of which are used by over-50 A-listers). Here’s how to heal cracked skin using celeb-approved drugstore finds and DIY remedies.

To Smooth Rough Patches: Petroleum Jelly

Judith Light
Todd Williamson/January Images/Shutterstock

Exposing any part of the body to frigid, dry outdoor air can leave the skin with parched, scaly patches. Judith Light’s secret to smooth rough patches: Vaseline (Buy from CVS, $2.99). “It’s my go-to,” she says of the drugstore skincare staple. “It’s amazing. I take a bath every night, and when I get out, I dry off really, really well, and then I put the Vaseline all over. Then it sinks in overnight.”

Why it works: Maryland-based dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, says Vaseline’s petrolatum creates a film that traps moisture in the upper layers of skin’s surface to hydrate parched patches. To do: Rub a pea-size amount onto dry patches twice a day to see results in one week.

To Shrink Enlarged Pores: Toner

Jamie Lee Curtis

The combination of less time in the sun and aging skin’s slower cell turnover leads to stagnant layers of dead, dry skin cells that clog pores and make them appear larger. Jamie Lee Curtis’ trick to shrink enlarged pores: Sea Breeze Sensitive Skin Astringent (Buy from Walgreens $6.49). “I’ve been using [it] my whole life,” she says of her go-to skincare product.

Why it works: The toner contains clove and eucalyptus oils, both of which have astringent agents that remove buildup from pores and temporarily constrict them so they look smaller. Plus, it’s infused with moisturizing glycerin that keeps skin from drying out. To do: Saturate a cotton pad with the toner and apply to a clean, dry face twice a day. Repeat daily to see noticeable results in one week.

To Fade Age Spots: Turmeric Mask

Halle Berry

Winter’s harsh elements tend to make skin look pallid, which can put a spotlight on dark spots. Halle Berry’s go-to for fading age spots: A turmeric face mask. Thanks to Halle Berry’s Instagram, we know the star whips up the free DIY mask to hydrate and boost her flawless complexion.

Why it works: “Turmeric’s curcumin inhibits the activity of melanocytes, the cells that produce skin’s pigment to lighten spots,” says New York City dermatologist Francesca Fusco, MD. And it’s also rich in vitamin C, which encourages cell turnover to reveal luminous, even skin underneath. To do: Mix ½ teaspoon of turmeric, 2 tablespoons of brewed, cooled green tea, ½ teaspoon of lemon juice, and ¼ cup of plain yogurt. Apply to the face; rinse after 10 minutes. Use twice a week for results in three weeks.

To Soothe Rashy Skin: Rosewater Mist

Jennifer Aniston
Getty Images

The season’s whipping winds and subzero temperatures interfere with skin’s barrier, causing irritating and unsightly rashes to form on the face and body. Jennifer Aniston tip for soothing rashy skin: Heritage Store Rosewater Spray (Buy from Ulta Beauty, $11.49). A recent photo posted to Jennifer Aniston’s Instagram showed the skin-soothing spray sitting front and center on the star’s bathroom vanity.

Why it works: Anti-inflammatory properties in rosewater penetrate into skin to reduce redness and irritation. And its vitamin E content helps fortify skin’s outermost layer to prevent future rashes from forming. “Rosewater’s fatty acids lock in moisture to further soothe skin and speed healing,” aesthetician Ildi Pekar says. To do: Spritz a light layer of the rosewater spray onto a clean, dry face and body skin twice a day for rash-free skin in one week.

To Smooth Crepey Hands: Chamomile Cream

Sharon Stone
Getty Images

Our hands bear the brunt of the season — from being exposed to dry, cold air to excessive washing and sanitizing — leaving them looking ragged, cracked and wrinkly. Sharon Stone’s favorite product for smoothing crepey hands: Weleda Skin Food Cream (Buy from CVS, $14.24). “If I’m in a dry climate, I use [it] on my body and face,” she says of her go-to moisturizer.

Why it works: The thick cream’s chamomile extract contains linoleic acid, which is shown to hydrate and plump creased skin. Plus, antioxidants in the plant mend any damage, reversing the skin’s winter-caused wear and tear. To do: Massage a pea-size amount of the cream onto dry, clean hands twice a day to see soft, supple skin within two weeks.

To Enliven Dull Skin: Sugar Scrub

Nancy O'Dell
Getty Images

Lack of sun plus time spent out in the cold, dry air saps the complexion of its color, radiance and luster. Nancy O’Dell’s solution to enliven dull skin: A brown sugar scrub, “I make my own scrub with one cup of brown sugar, ½ cup of almond or coconut oil, and ½ teaspoon of vitamin E oil, and I love it,” she says of the pantry-staple pampering fix that helps keeps her skin looking luminous.

Why it works: According to Pekar, brown sugar’s granules gently remove the dulling dead skin cells that accumulate on skin’s surface, while its glycolic acid attracts moisture to rehydrate skin. To do: Massage the scrub onto clean, damp skin for one minute; rinse. Use twice a week to prolong the radiant results.

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