Combating Winter Woes: 9 Effective Home Remedies for Dry Skin
Winter is here again. For most of us, it is our favourite season. Nothing is cozier than reading your favourite book on a cold evening, wrapped in a warm blanket, with a cup of hot chocolate in hand!!
Dreamy pictures aside, winters are particularly harsh on our skin. The humidity runs low during this time of the year which causes a number of skin problems.
The dry and scaly or stretchy skin, itchiness, skin flaking, chapped lips, cracked heels etc are some of the common dry skin problems. No amount of cold creams and Vaseline seem to be sufficient during the winter months.
Dry skin due to seasonal changes is not a serious issue. With some of extra care, we can easily relieve discomforts of dry skin. Effective skin care doesn’t always have to be complex and expensive. Just take time to read the ingredient list of your favourite skin care product. You will be surprised to find a number of familiar items from your pantry and balcony garden on that list.
The key is to understand how these ingredients benefit the skin and incorporating them in our routine. In this article we give you nine simple at home remedies for dry skin using every day ingredients.
What Skin needs: Understanding Moisturizer
Our skin has its own mechanism for staying moisturized. The sebaceous glands produce natural oils that seal the water on to the top layer (epidermis) of the skin. A lot of factors like weather, sun damage, pollution, age, medications etc. causes the skin to lose its capability to retain the moisture.
Hence we require topical application of moisturizing agents to keep the skin from going dry. There are three types of moisturizing ingredients-:
- Humectants- Attracts moisture on to the skin
- Occlusives- Forms a barrier on skin and prevent skin from losing water
- Emollients- Makes skin smooth by filling in the spaces or cracks between the skin cells
We need all or some of these three to address skin problems due to dryness. Most of ingredients used in the remedies below, are natural moisturizers.
When used diligently, they heal the dryness and further stop trans-epidermal water loss(loss of water through outer layer of skin) which results in skin de-hydration.
DIY Recipes for Dry Skin
1. Banana and Honey Face Pack
- Mash one ripe banana with one tbsp. of rice flour.
- Add two tsp. honey and a half tsp. turmeric powder (preferably wild turmeric).
- Mix the ingredients well to get a creamy consistency.
- Apply it on the face and let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
- Once dried, massage the face gently and wash it off with water.
- Apply a moisturizer or face cream.
Benefits : Bananas are rich in antioxidants, phytochemicals and moisture. The potassium in the fruit moisturizes the skin well. Honey is a humectant and has antibacterial and antiseptic properties. It is known for its moisturizing abilities without making skin oily.
2. Cucumber, Yoghurt and Honey Pack for Face
- Grind one cucumber (de-seeded) with 2tsp. of honey and 1 tbsp of yoghurt.
- Apply the mixture on face.
- Keep it on for half an hour.
- Remove the pack using water and follow-up with moisturizer.
Benefits : The water content in cucumber acts a base for hydration. The anti-inflammatory properties of cucumber make it ideal for treating sunburns and rashes. Creamy texture of yoghurt helps to lock in the moisture. Honey absorbs moisture on to the skin. Honey also acts as a pore cleanser.
3. Moisturising body oil
- Mix half cup each of virgin coconut oil and sesame oil in a bowl.
- Add 2-3 tbsp castor oil and 1 tbsp ghee.
- Into this mixture, add 1 tbsp of wild turmeric powder and a few saffron strands.
- Transfer the mixture into a glass bottle.
- For infusing the herbs into the oil, keep the bottle in warm sunlight for 2 to 3 days.
- Use this oil twice a week as a massage oil before bath.
- Since coconut oil has a tendency to clog the pores, I would suggest you to avoid using this oil on face.
- This oil is good for kids also.
Benefits : Coconut oil is a natural emollient and contains skin nourishing fatty acids. Sesame oil contains Vitamin E, and oleic acid that makes it an effective moisturizer. Castor oil is a humectant. Turmeric is known for its antiseptic properties and is famous for its skin healing abilities. Saffron contains phenolic compounds that gives it antioxidant and anti-aging properties.
4. Oil mixture for cracked heels
- Apply a mixture of castor oil, olive oil and cold pressed sweet almond oil to treat cracked heels.
- Wear socks and leave it overnight.
- Wash it off in the morning with lukewarm water and apply petroleum jelly.
Benefits : Olive oil has both occlusive and emollient properties that helps to seal maximum moisture. Almond oil is rich in Vitamin A & E and omega-3 fatty acids. Almond oil is an emollient.
5. Gentle face exfoliator using gram flour and coconut milk
- Make a paste of two tbsp. gram flour with freshly pressed thick coconut milk and a pinch of turmeric.
- Apply a layer on the face.
- When the pack is almost dry, wash it using lukewarm water.
Benefits : Gram flour acts as a good exfoliator and keeps the pH levels of the skin balanced. Coconut milk is a good moisturizer because of the natural fatty acids present in it.
6. Oatmeal Bath
Ever thought of adding oatmeal to your bath routine? It is an age-old method for treating dry skin.
- Make a fine powder of one cup unflavoured oat meal.
- Firmly tie the powder in a cloth, soak it into your warm bath water and let it infuse for few minutes.
- Then use the oat-filled bundle to gently exfoliate the body, paying special attention to extremely parched areas.
- Follow-up with a good moisturizer after bath.
Benefits : Oatmeal is a potent emollient. It contains vitamin E, phenols and starches, which makes is No.1 moisturizer. Oatmeal treats itchy skin caused by dryness.
7. Almond and Aloe vera moisturising Face cream
- Soak a handful of almonds overnight.
- Peel off the skin and grind the almonds to a fine paste using water.
- Strain the paste and extract thick almond milk into a bowl.
- For every 2 tsp. of almond milk, add 1 tsp. unscented aloe vera gel(preferably fresh).
- Add quarter tsp. of vegetable glycerine.
- Mix well using a whisk until you get a cream-like consistency.
- Transfer the mixture to a glass jar.
- The cream stays fresh for 3 days, if refrigerated.
Benefits : Almond is a natural emollient. Aloe vera contains anti-oxidants and is highly anti-inflammatory. It helps in soothing burns, acne and dry skin.
8. Papaya and Raw Milk face pack
- Take few cubes of ripe papaya and mash it to a smooth paste along with cold raw milk.
- Apply the paste on cleansed face and leave it for 15 minutes.
- Rinse the face with plain water and gently scrub the pack off the face.
- Apply a moisturizer.
Benefits : Potassium present in papaya hydrates the skin. Papain, an enzyme found in papaya can decrease skin inflammations. Milk has exfoliating and hydrating properties. Cold raw milk acts as a toner for dry skin.
9. Avocado, Yoghurt and Honey pack for face
- Blend half an avocado with 1 tbsp. yoghurt and 1 tsp. honey in a mixer to get a smooth paste.
- Apply and leave it on face for 10- 15 minutes.
- Rinse well and follow-up with a moisturizer.
Benefits : Avocados are rich sources of biotin, that heals dry skin. Yoghurt contains lactic acid and honey is a good moisturizer.
Further Tips for Preventing Dry skin condition
- Restrict bath time to no more than 5 minutes and use lukewarm water instead of hot water. Hot water can strip the skin of its natural oils.
- Use gentle exfoliants. Avoid grainy exfoliating scrubs and powders.
- Don’t wash face too often. Use a soap-free face wash to avoid irritation.
- Do not skip moisturizer.
- Apply moisturizer on slightly damp skin. This will help to seal in the moisturizer.
- Wear sunscreen when going out.
- It is important to hydrate from within. Drink 8 – 10 glasses of water every day.
- Most importantly, consult a dermatologist if the condition persists and causes painful skin fissures.