Natural Alternatives For Dry Skin

Dry skin is itchy, red and hot. Alternative, or natural, remedies are inexpensive, gentler and easily modified to accommodate even the most sensitive skin.

Dry skin is itchy, red, flaky and sometimes hot to the touch. Adults usually notice dry patches where the skin is thinnest""on the face, chest, knees, elbows and hands. Dry skin is also common on skin that is neglected or "overworked" (e.g. heels of the feet).

Many skin-soothing/repairing remedies are available over-the-counter or via a prescription. These remedies, however, can be costly and contain chemicals or artificial additives that can do the skin more harm than good. Alternative, or natural, remedies are inexpensive, gentler and easily modified to accommodate even the most sensitive skin:

Skin Brushing

Skin brushing provides a multitude of benefits""it eliminates toxins, cleans clogged pores and promotes healing by stimulating nerve endings. Brushing helps exfoliate the top layer of skin, exposing a newer, healthier layer.

Body brushes with stiff, compact bristles will provide the most exfoliation. Cover the affected area with a light layer of olive, coconut or almond oil and brush in a circular motion. Rinse with cool water (which will soothe the skin and reduce inflammation), pat dry and follow with a thick, gentle moisturizer.

Aloe Vera

Work a dime-sized amount of pure Aloe Vera gel into affected areas after a warm bath or shower. Heat helps open pores, which allows for greater absorption.

Egg Beater

Mix one tablespoon of olive oil and a half tablespoon of lemon juice with one beaten egg (including the nutrient-packed yolk). Let the mixture cool and spread it on any dry areas. The lemon juice can help refresh and tone, but forgo it if you have very raw or sensitive skin, as it may sting.

Essential Oils

Moist heat helps open and clear pores; essential oils lightly moisturize and are absorbed readily into warm skin.

Pour about a half gallon of boiling water into a wide bowl and add three drops of essential oils. (Lavender rose and sandalwood oils are renowned for their skin-soothing properties). Put a towel over your head, leaving room for your face to peek through, and lean over the bowl, inhaling the steam.

Tropical Puree

Fruit helps to soften, repair and tone your skin. To create this tropical treat, puree one large banana, one peach and one avocado. Apply to skin and let it settle for 20 minutes. When mixture has dried, rinse off, in a circular motion, with warm water. Bananas are full of calcium, which nourishes cells and aids in the release of energy. Peaches contain Vitamin C""a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Avocados are packed with skin healthy nutrients like amino acids, protein and Vitamins D, A and E, the last of which helps to soften the appearance of stretch marks, alleviate the effect of psoriasis and reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Colloidal Oatmeal Soak

Colloidal oatmeal is a simple concoction of oats ground into a fine powder and suspended in water. This inexpensive treatment calms skin, relieves minor irritations and helps "anchor" moisturizers.It's also fragrance-free and 100% natural, so it's gentle enough for very sensitive skin.

Packets of this natural remedy are available at most drug stores. Simply run a warm (not hot, as it can damage skin) bath and slowly empty the packet under running water. Let your body absorb the oatmeal by soaking in the bath for at least 15 minutes. After soaking, pat dry and apply a quality moisturizer to damp skin. The oatmeal will help lock in moisture.

These remedies are simple, inexpensive and safe for even the most sensitive skin. However, though adult skin typically responds well, care should be taken when using these remedies to treat children and babies with dry skin. Skin brushes may be too harsh for a child's delicate skin; a wash cloth or soft sponge would be more appropriate. Essential oils are fine as long as they are extremely diluted. Never let essential oils touch baby's skin, as it may burn or cause extensive irritation. Similarly, make sure the child is not allergic to any of the fruit used in the tropical puree.

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