Wouldn’t it be great to sail through the rest of winter with soft skin? For the 78 percent of us bothered by itchy or sore patches caused by cold weather and dry indoor air, help is here! Whether you suffer from rosacea, chapped hands, eczema, psoriasis, or hangnails, we’ve got an easy, all-natural treatment that will work for you.
Smooth chapped hands with coconut oil.
Massaging coconut oil into your hands three times daily cuts dryness by up to 95 percent. And if you do so within two minutes of washing your hands, you could feel relief in half a day, a study in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine found. Dermatologist Lillian Lopez, M.D., says coconut oil’s lauric acid eases inflammation, plus seals in moisture on slightly damp skin.
Tame eczema with vitamin D-3.
Ever notice that eczema rashes are less likely to flare up in summer? That’s because vitamin D-3, the nutrient skin makes when exposed to sun, switches on enzymes that block eczema. Good news: Brazilian scientists say taking 3,000 IU of vitamin D-3 daily during the winter offers the same protection. Vitamin D-3 helps skin heal up to 75 percent faster, cutting your risk of future flare-ups by 80 percent. Note: Check with a doctor before supplementing.
Soothe rosacea with yogurt.
Enjoying a cup of yogurt daily cuts rosacea risk by up to 50 percent, since its probiotics calm overactive immune cells that fuel rashes. Plain yogurt can also be dabbed directly onto ruddy patches. NYU Medical Center scientists say when applied topically, yogurt secretes soothing anti-inflammatories that speed healing.
Treat psoriasis with aloe.
If you have psoriasis, you’re 60 percent more likely to develop thick, scaly patches in winter, since they often form when your immune system is overtaxed. Thankfully, Swedish scientists say massaging aloe vera cream into skin three times daily reduces symptoms by 82 percent. Dermatologist Ray Vasani, M.D., says aloe’s acemannan and glucomannan speed healing of psoriasis plaques and encourage skin cells to grow and divide properly.
Heal a hangnail with lip balm.
UCLA scientists say smoothing a hangnail down with lip balm four times daily keeps it flat, moisturized, and pain-free while it heals. And to cut your risk of future hangnails in half, massage lip balm or petroleum jelly into the skin around your fingernails once daily.
Calm an itch with oatmeal.
To calm itchy skin in minutes, apply a lotion made with oats. A study in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology found oat compounds quiet “I itch!” signals to the brain.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.