Exposure to the chilly winter air does a number on your skin by drying it out. This results in various beauty woes, including flaky skin, chapped lips, and rough heels. Fortunately, you don’t have to tolerate those bothersome dry skin symptoms. By using natural beauty treatments, it’s possible to rejuvenate your skin in no time. The best part: You can make spa-inspired treatments with pantry staples like sea salt, milk, honey, and brown sugar. Try these five simple remedies to repair dry skin — from rough cuticles to cracked hands — all winter long.
Rough cuticles? Mend them with an oil-blend soak.
Constant dryness can cause the delicate skins on the cuticles to get rough and ragged, keeping them from protecting nails as well as they should. This oil-infused nail soak will restore them.
- 1 tablespoon almond oil
- 1 tablespoon jojoba oil
- Add oils into heat-safe bowl; microwave until warm (not hot). Soak nails 5 minutes; rub in excess.
- Repeat twice a week.
Why it works: “Jojoba oil’s wax esters mimic the natural oil skin produces to replenish lost moisture,” celebrity aesthetician Joanna Vargas says. And antioxidant-rich almond oil strengthens the skin to keep nails strong and healthy. Plus, warming the oils allows them to absorb into rigid skin better.
Chapped lips? Repair them with a milk + honey ‘balm.’
If you’re like us, you lick your chapped lips thinking it will help moisturize them, but skin experts say this habit actually dries them out more. Instead, slather your parched pout with a tasty and healing homemade balm.
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ tablespoon milk
- Mix ingredients together in small bowl. Apply thick layer onto lips whenever they’re super dry.
- Dab off excess before applying lipstick or gloss.
Why it works: According to Vargas, humectant honey draws moisture deep into lips to hydrate within skin’s many layers, while its anti-inflammatory properties soothe the painful broken skin on the outside. “And milk’s proteins help heal irritated skin while its lactic acid gently exfoliates any flakes on the lip’s surface,” she adds.
Raw, cracked hands? Heal them with a coconut ‘cream.’
We spend a lot of time scrubbing our hands this time of year to avoid cold- and flu-causing germs. Frequent trips to the sink may save us from the sniffles, but our poor dry, cracked hands pay the price. This healing hand cream will help!
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon aloe vera gel
- Mix ingredients in a bowl and rub onto dry hands, then let sit 10 minutes; rub in excess.
- Use every other day for results in one week.
Why it works: Dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, says fatty acids in coconut oil penetrate skin’s dry layers to restore and lock in moisture, and aloe’s reparative vitamin E mends cracks.
Flaky skin? Smooth it with a sea salt polish.
Exfoliating with this all-natural body polish restores the moisture that winter’s cold air strips from skin.
- ¼ cup sea salt
- ¼ cup avocado oil
- Combine ingredients in bowl. While showering, massage the scrub onto damp skin from feet to shoulders using circular motions.
- Use twice a week for baby-soft skin in 2 weeks.
Why it works: Dermatologist Shari Sperling, DO, says sea salt’s small crystals gently whisk away dead, flaky patches of skin. Plus, minerals in the salt, like magnesium and calcium, nourish skin to alleviate dryness. Omega-3 fatty acid–rich avocado oil hydrates parched patches of skin, so it feels supple and soft long after you’ve stepped out of the shower.
Rough heels? Smooth them with a brown sugar scrub.
The skin on our heels lacks oil glands, which makes it susceptible to cracks that become painful when cooped up in heavy boots. To the rescue: this minty foot scrub.
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons peppermint essential oil
- Mix ingredients in bowl; set aside. Next, soak feet 5 minutes in basin filled with warm water (this softens thick skin on heels).
- Remove feet from water and massage scrub onto heels one minute; rinse. Use twice a week to keep skin smooth.
Why it works: Dr. Sperling notes that fine granules in brown sugar slough off rough, dead skin cells, and its glycolic acid attracts moisture to skin. Adding olive oil (its squalane hydrates) and peppermint oil (its antibacterial properties ward off infection) speeds results.
- Itchy? Try a wet-skin body lotion: Dermatologists say the most effective way to moisturize is by applying lotion immediately after showering (when pores are most receptive to hydration). Curel Hydra Therapy Wet Skin Moisturizer Lotion, (Buy from Walmart, $21.45) is activated by water to replenish vital fats, alleviating discomfort in seconds.
- Inflamed? Try a spray-on ointment: Aquaphor Ointment Body Spray Moisturizer (Buy from Target, $11.99) contains moisturizing glycerin and anti-inflammatory panthenol to soothe irritated skin. And the spray applicator covers skin quickly, eliminating the need to rub ingredients onto skin, which can worsen irritation.
- Rough spots? Try a roll-on jelly: Petroleum jelly’s thick formula creates a film that traps moisture in the upper layers of skin’s surface. Vaseline All-Over Body Balm Stick (Buy from Walmart, $6.98) has a roll-on applicator that slides easily over rougher spots like elbows and knees — sans the mess.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.
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