Dry, itchy skin is a common occurrence as temperatures outside drop and indoor heating is cranked up to compensate. You may think that chapped skin is an inevitable part of the chilly season, but this isn’t actually the case. There are many natural lotions, oils, and supplements that can act as quick and effective remedies for your most nagging winter skin issues — no visit to the dermatologist required. Whether you’re dealing with general dryness or specific conditions like rosacea or psoriasis, there are several smart, safe, and natural solutions that will restore the smoothness of your skin.
1. For Chapped Hands: Hydrate With Coconut Oil or Centella Asiatica
You may be able to ease dry, cracked skin and rebuild your hands’ moisture barrier with coconut oil. A study published in the International Journal of Dermatology found that the topical application of virgin coconut oil eased skin dryness caused by atopic dermatitis more effectively than mineral oil. To maximize your moisturizing potential, apply oil after washing and drying hands to lock in traces of water on slightly damp skin.
If you’re hoping to relieve your dryness as quickly as possible, consider applying the herbal extract centella asiatica. A study in the journal Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology showed that applying a solution formulated with centella asiatica, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin significantly improved skin hydration and skin barrier function in just 24 hours.
2. For Rosacea: Try Tea Tree Oil
Most doctors prescribe effective (but pricey!) drugs to fight microscopic demodex mites that breed bacteria on the skin responsible for rosacea’s painful red bumps and pustules. Luckily, a recent study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that dabbing on a 25 percent concentration of tea tree oil had comparable mite-fighting, rosacea-clearing results to the prescription cream permethrin.
3. For Psoriasis: Calm With Aloe
If you’re prone to psoriasis, winter means a surge in uncomfortably itchy, scaly patches. Thankfully, there’s a natural solution. A study in Tropical Medicine & International Health found that massaging aloe vera extract into skin three times daily for five consecutive days cleared symptoms in the majority of subjects.
Even better? Research in the The Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology showed that the effectiveness of aloe vera was comparable to the prescription cream triamcinolone acetonide. The gel penetrates thickened patches to keep them hydrated, while aloe’s anthraquinones calm inflammation responsible for flare-ups.
4. For Eczema: Fake the Sun
Cloudy days leave your body short on skin-healing vitamin D, which blocks eczema flares. Luckily, there are ways to up your vitamin D levels even when it’s dreary out. A small study in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand showed that taking 2,000 IUs of oral vitamin D supplements daily reduced skin colonization of S. aureus, a bacteria associated with atopic dermatitis.
5. For a Cure-All: Try Wheat Ceramide
If your skin feels dry and itchy no matter how much water you drink or lotion you use, you may want to try wheat ceramide. A study in the journal Cosmetics found that women who took wheat ceramide supplements daily for 60 days increased their skin hydration, elasticity, and smoothness, and presented less dryness and roughness.
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.