Disorders like eczema, rosacea, and pruritus (severely dry, itchy skin) are among the top dermatological issues women deal with as they age. One study found that over one-third of the older women participating had three or more skin diseases that required treatment. And if you’ve been to the dermatologist, you know that many treatments are based on trial and error. Before spending on creams that may or may not work, try these five inexpensive, natural remedies for skin bothers.
Massaging coconut oil into your hands three times daily cuts dryness by up to 95 percent. And if you do so within two minutes of washing your hands, you could find long-lasting relief, a study in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine found. That’s thanks to coconut oil’s lauric acid, which not only eases inflammation but also seals in moisture on slightly damp skin.
If you have psoriasis, you’re 60 percent more likely to develop the thick, scaly patches in colder months since they often form when your immune system is overtaxed. Thankfully, Swedish scientists say massaging an aloe vera cream into skin three times daily reduces symptoms by 82 percent. Dermatologist Ray Vasani, MD, explains that aloe’s acemannan and glucomannan speed the healing of psoriasis plaques and encourage skin cells to grow and divide properly.
Ever notice that eczema rashes are less likely to flare up in the summer? That’s because vitamin D-3, the nutrient skin makes when exposed to sun, switches on enzymes that block eczema. The good news for the less-sunny seasons: Brazilian scientists say that taking 3,000 IU of vitamin D-3 daily offers the same protection, helping skin heal up to 75 percent faster and cutting your risk of future flare-ups by 80 percent.
Enjoying a cup of yogurt daily cuts rosacea risk by up to 50 percent, since its probiotics calm overactive immune cells that fuel rashes. Plus, NYU Medical Center scientists say that when applied topically, yogurt secretes soothing anti-inflammatories that speed healing. Simply dab it directly onto ruddy patches for relief.
Itchy all over?
Still scratching even after using thick creams, antihistamines, topical cortisone, and other treatments to end itching due to dry skin, allergies, and bug bites? Soak in an oats bath, and you’ll experience soothing relief within minutes, suggests a study in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. Since oats are loaded with avenanthramides, unique compounds that reduce inflammation and calm the nerves that say “I itch,” they help irritated skin heal fast! To do: Pour a cup of ground oats into a sachet made of an old pantyhose leg, tie at the top, add to a warm bath and soak for about 15 minutes.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, The 101 Best Home Cures.