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  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

Five natural remedies for dry skin to promote a hydrated complexion

Keep your skin feeling hydrated with these quick DIY remedies from your kitchen pantry.

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Curology Team
Jul 22, 2022 · 6 min read

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We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.
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So many things can leave your skin feeling itchy, dry, and irritated, from long, hot baths, to extreme temperatures and winds. But thankfully, many natural remedies for dry skin exist—and you may already have several in your kitchen pantry.

The technical term for abnormally dry skin is xerosis. It's a bonafide skin condition where the skin’s outer layer lacks moisture, meaning it’s abnormally dry. Dry skin can be scaly, flaky, itchy, or cracked. Cracked or scratched skin can be an invitation to infection, and no one wants that.¹

So, grab your apron, and let’s check out some nourishing home remedies for dry skin. 

Natural remedies that can help soothe dry skin

Dry skin can be itchy, irritating, and painful. It can also be a symptom of other skin conditions like seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, or psoriasis that may require the attention of a medical professional (more on that later). 

So, how do you soothe dry skin? Some of the best ways to moisturize skin include natural ingredients (some may already be in your kitchen). Here are some of our favorite dry skin tips to promote skin health. 

Before you begin, you might consider testing these ingredients on a small area of skin first, especially if you have sensitive skin.  

  1. Sunflower seed oil. Sunflower seed oil is full of beneficial fatty acids and has been shown to improve skin hydration.² Use it right from the bottle and apply it lightly to your skin. For a spa-like cleansing experience, gently rub onto your face and cover with a washcloth soaked in lukewarm water. Leave until the towel cools, then gently wipe clean. 

  2. Jojoba oil. Rich in vitamins A and D,³ jojoba oil can be beneficial for those with a damaged skin barrier (e.g., in eczema or psoriasis) and has anti-inflammatory effects.⁴ 

  3. Colloidal oatmeal. Ground from the kernels of oats and is blended into a fine powder that dissolves in water, colloidal oatmeal naturally hydrates your skin and helps strengthen the skin barrier,⁵ making it the perfect addition to a lukewarm bath.  

  4. Avocado and honey. Rich and creamy avocado-honey face masks are an easy home remedy for dry skin on your face. The oil from avocados is rich in fatty acids and can help improve dry and damaged skin.⁶ Honey is also excellent for your skin, with moisturizing, healing, and anti-inflammatory properties.⁷ In general, it’s best to stick with medical-grade honey. To make the mask, mix half an avocado with one teaspoon of sunflower oil and one tablespoon of honey. After washing your face, apply the mask for 15-20 minutes and then rinse. 

  5. Aloe vera. We often associate aloe vera gel with alleviating sunburn, but aloe also works well to rehydrate the skin—and it may decrease signs of aging.⁸ 

What are the symptoms of dry skin?

Dry skin can be caused by different factors (cold weather, sun damage, harsh skincare products, etc.) or it could just be your skin type. After all, everyone’s skin is unique. We’ve all seen dry skin. But there are many characteristics of dry skin that go beyond what we see. These are some to look out for.⁹ 

  • Visual. Red, flaky skin may appear dull, with fissures, cracks, and scaling.

  • Sensory. Dry skin can feel uncomfortable. It may be itchy, stingy, tight, and tingly.

  • Tactile. It may be rough and flaky. 

  • Chemical. Moisture (water) content is low. This can change the lipid composition of the skin. 

  • Functional. Dry skin can have a higher transepidermal water loss (TEWL), meaning it can lose more water passively to the environment.  

If your skin looks dry to the naked eye, chances are there’s a lot more going on than what you see. Thankfully, dry skin is treatable! We generally recommend starting with a moisturizer designed for dry skin. That can help alleviate some symptoms right away.

How to help prevent dry skin

As always, prevention is the best medicine, especially when it comes to knowing what helps with dry skin. So, here are some common causes of dry skin and what you can do to prevent them. 

  • Turn down the water temp. Hot water can really dry your skin, so try to keep your bathwater temperature lukewarm. When you finish washing up, apply a rich oil or lotion to your body while your skin is still damp. Give jojoba oil a try for its natural emollient properties.

  • Instead of bubbles, opt for a few drops of your favorite oil. Who doesn’t love a relaxing bubble bath? But before you reach for Mr. Bubble, try mixing a tablespoon of sunflower oil or avocado oil. Drizzle on the top of the bath water and climb in. When you exit, your body will be covered in a hydrating oil. Pat your skin dry rather than rubbing it.

  • Swap the bar soap for a mild cleanser or liquid body wash. Bar soaps can be dried.  Instead, use a liquid body wash or other mild cleansers. They can be as effective as bar soaps and also contain skin-hydrating ingredients. 

  • Ditch the harsh skincare products. Alcohol, added fragrance, and other common irritants can dry your skin, and they’re really not necessary. Many toners contain alcohol, but if you want to use one, try an alcohol-free product like Thayers Rose Petal Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera.

  • Step out of the cold and wear gloves. Cold, windy, and dry air can wreak havoc on your hands and lead to skin problems. Slip your hands into your favorite gloves or mittens before going out in the weather. And, of course, wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more (and be sure to check out our other winter skin care tips).

Another quick tip? Make hydrating your skin a part of your daily skincare routine. Use a humidifier if you live in a particularly dry climate, especially during the winter months. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser and apply moisturizer while your skin is still damp. The same goes for your hands. Lastly, wear natural fabrics that are gentle on your skin, like organic cotton and hemp. 

Shirtless young american man smiling while washing his face with foam cleanser.

When is it time to see a doctor?

Most often, dry skin is just dry skin. But sometimes, it’s a sign of something more. If your skin doesn’t respond to over-the-counter treatments or home remedies for dryness, it may be time to see a medical professional. Your dermatology provider will know how to heal dry skin, and they can recommend or prescribe products specifically formulated for your skin condition. Medical providers can help to see if you may have an underlying condition.

Of course, it goes without saying, if you notice an infection or signs of an infection, we recommend seeking medical attention. 

Curology dry skin treatments

Dry skin just needs a little extra care, so keep it simple and gentle. Let your moisturizer simply be a great moisturizer. Consider avoiding moisturizers that claim to do other things such as exfoliate or treat acne (one exception: a moisturizer with sunscreen in it). 

For a reliable, go-to daily moisturizer, we recommend our two Curology moisturizers. The dermatologist-developed Curology moisturizer is designed for all skin types. It’s a gel-cream hybrid, lightly hydrating moisturizer with ingredients like hyaluronic acid. The rich moisturizer is designed for dry and aging skin and contains 6 key hydrating ingredients to smooth tiny cracks, add moisture, and keep that moisture locked in. Our moisturizers for dry skin are non-comedogenic, fragrance-free, dye-free, paraben-free, and hypoallergenic.

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

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FAQs

What are the symptoms of dry skin?

We’ve all seen dry skin. But there are many characteristics of dry skin that go beyond what we see. These are some to look out for:

  • Red, flaky skin may appear dull, with fissures, cracks, and scaling.

  • Dry skin can feel uncomfortable. It may be itchy, stingy, tight, and tingly.

  • It may be rough and flaky.

  • Moisture (water) content is low. This can change the lipid composition of the skin.

  • Dry skin can have a higher transepidermal water loss (TEWL), meaning it can lose more water passively to the environment. 

How to help prevent dry skin?

Here are some common causes of dry skin and what you can do to prevent them:

  • Turn down the water temp

  • Instead of bubbles, opt for a few drops of your favorite oil

  • Swap the bar soap for a mild cleanser or liquid body wash

  • Ditch the harsh skincare products

  • Step out of the cold and wear gloves

When is it time to see a doctor?

Most often, dry skin is just dry skin. But sometimes, it’s a sign of something more. If your skin doesn’t respond to over-the-counter treatments or home remedies for dryness, it may be time to see a medical professional.

• • •

P.S. We did get a free month of Curology the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. Gade, A., et al. Xeroderma. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing. (2022).

  2. Lin, T. K., e al. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. International journal of molecular sciences. (2017).

  3. Gad, H. A., et al. Jojoba Oil: An Updated Comprehensive Review on Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Uses, and Toxicity. Polymers. (2021).

  4. Lin, T. K., e al. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. Ibid.

  5. Ilnytska, O., et al. Colloidal Oatmeal (Avena Sativa) Improves Skin Barrier Through Multi-Therapy Activity. Journal of drugs in dermatology : JDD. (2016). 

  6. Lin, T. K., e al. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. Ibid.

  7. Ediriweera E.R.H.S.S., et al. Medicinal and Cosmetic Uses of Bee’s Honey: A Review.AYU. (2012, April-June).

  8. Rahmani, A. H., et al. Aloe vera: Potential candidate in health management via modulation of biological activities. Pharmacognosy reviews. (2015).

  9. Gade, A., et al. Xeroderma. Ibid.

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• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Meredith Hartle, DO

Meredith Hartle, DO

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