6 Natural DIY fixes for dry skin
Parched skin and arid weather go hand in hand. You could go through bottles of moisturiser or you could try these natural, at-home remedies to target your biggest dry-skin gripes.
ICE TO STOP THE ITCH
Dry skin often comes with mild inflammation and itchiness. And scratching can actually break the skin and leave you with infections. The solution is simple and you can find it in your freezer. "Ice stops the itching immediately by numbing the sensory nerves of the skin. Use it as an SOS treatment," affirms Dr Apratim Goel, cosmetic dermatologist, Cutis Skin Studio, Mumbai. Try it: Pop an ice cube out of your freezer tray, wrap in a soft washcloth and gently press it to the patch of skin giving you grief, until the area looks and feels better.
SHEA BUTTER FOR SOFTER SKIN
When the skin is stretchy, you need something extra rich. "Shea butter melts at body temperature, so it absorbs rapidly into the skin, leaving it soft but not greasy. It also has vitamins A and B and essential fatty acids that heal and nourish dry skin," says Dr Chiranjiv Chabbra, dermatologist and founder-owner of the Skin Alive chain of clinics, New Delhi. Try it: Swapping your regular moisturiser with unrefined organic shea butter is a good idea. You may not find it in the local stores, so look online. Try Green Junction Natural Shea Butter (shelf life of 18-24 months), Rs 340, at ebay.in
OATS TO CALM IRRITATION
Oats is great for your health and for your skin's health, too. "A gentle moisturising agent, oats help retain the moisture barrier of your skin," says Goel. What gives oats its soothing properties are compounds called avenanthramides-anti-inflammatory agents that calm redness, inflammation and even eczema and atopic dermatitis symptoms. Try it: Process 2 cups of oats with half a cup of water in a blender until it's finely ground and apply on the face and body for 15 minutes. What you will get is prettier, perkier and well-behaved skin.
BARLEY TO EXFOLIATE FLAKES
The only thing worse than the way dry skin feels is the impossible-to-hide peeling that comes with it. Barley flour is a good exfoliant that works well for all skin types including sensitive skin. "It sloughs off dead cells without irritating the skin so it can soak up moisturisers and creams," says Suparna Trikha, a Delhi-based herbal beauty expert. Try it: Trikha's recipe: add a pinch of turmeric and sandalwood powder with some milk to 5 Tbsp barley powder. Use this mix to exfoliate your face and body and see the flakes vanish.
WHITE VINEGAR TO HEAL CRACKS
Anyone who has ever had a cracked heel knows that no amount of cream is going to help. This time, try white vinegar. "It has acetic acid that has antimicrobial properties to help heal wounds fast, so much so that dermatologists recommend it to patients recovering from laser resurfacing treatments," says Dr Varun Katyal, dermatologist, The Skin Centre, New Delhi. This vinegar also protects cracked skin from bacterial infections. Try it: Add 2 Tbsp white vinegar to 2 Tbsp distilled water, dampen a clean cloth with the mixture, and let it sit on your skin for 10-15 minutes, 3 times a day. Follow up with a foot cream.
ALOE VERA GEL FOR INTENSE HYDRATION
There's a reason this plant extract is everyone's go-to sunburn remedy. Aloe vera gel has a high water content (96% to be exact) and is loaded with water-retaining mucilage-the gluey thing produced by plants. Katyal recommends fresh aloe vera gel scooped out from the gooey centre of the fleshy leaves, for its anti-inflammatory and hydrating properties. Try it: Invest in an aloe vera plant and use its fresh sticky gel on your skin to calm dry, dehydrated and irritated skin. Scoop out the liquid from the fleshy centre of the plant's leaves and mix it with some distilled water before applying on your skin.