Home remedies for dry skin: Natural ways to cure dry and itchy skin

close view of womans face

Winter is the time of year when dry, itchy skin is at its worst. It’s also a time when you might be tempted to reach for expensive moisturizers–at your local drugstore or online. But there are ways to make do with less-expensive lotions and oils that can work as well, if not better!

What causes dry skin?

Dry skin is caused by a lack of oil in the upper layers of your epidermis. Dryness often worsens with age because the body produces less moisture as you grow older. You may experience dry skin if you live or work in an area with low humidity, if you’re sensitive to chemicals used to treat tap water, if you spend a lot of time in air-conditioning or heating, or if you’re at higher altitudes.

Dry skin can also be caused by several medical conditions, including eczema, impetigo, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis.

close up of a person scratching the dry and flaky skin of his back in black and white
Photo by Kristina Nor on Pexels.com

What causes dry skin itch?

Extreme dryness of the skin can lead to itching, which is your body’s way of telling you that it needs help. But if your skin is already too dry, scratching makes matters worse by irritating the skin even more.

What are some home remedies for dry skin?

Here are some do-it-yourself remedies for dry skin, ranging from lotions to oils to scrubs you make yourself.

Daily bath or shower in lukewarm water will help your skin retain the moisture it needs. The hot water in most showers is considered very drying to the skin because it opens up pores and removes oil. Try not to use a washcloth or loofah, as rubbing will irritate your skin. Also avoid adding perfumed soaps or body washes to these baths, as fragrances can be irritating too.

Here’s how:

1) Start by using an exfoliant daily – any scrub will do.

Exfoliation helps slough off dead cells so they don’t accumulate on top of each other and form scales. Scales trap moisture which increases the itchiness factor even more! You’ll feel like you’re doing something proactive about dry skin right away just by incorporating this one step into your daily routine.

2) Moisturize with oil

You can use olive, coconut, grapeseed or any other cooking oil that you like to cook with.

Oils hold moisture in much better than creams so this is an easy way to keep skin soft without adding greasiness. Use the oil of your choice instead of moisturizer in the morning. If you have dry skin, use a thicker oil like coconut or olive. If you have oily skin, then try grapeseed or sunflower seed oil.

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3) Apply oatmeal mask for relief from itching and flaking

Simply grind up some quick cooking oats to make a paste to apply onto your face.

Oatmeal has been used as a folk remedy for hundreds of years, so it’s worth trying to get relief from itching and flaking during the winter months. To use, boil two tablespoons of oatmeal in water for three minutes to make a thick paste. Apply onto face and leave on for 10-20 minutes. The heat from the oats will open your pores and soften your skin, leaving it feeling smooth. Rinse off with lukewarm water and pat dry.

4) Make a natural scrub

You only need two ingredients to make a wonderful exfoliating scrub: olive oil and brown sugar.

Mix enough brown sugar in olive oil to make a paste that is gentle enough not to irritate your skin, but still rough enough to remove the dead cells. To use, massage onto wet skin for 1-2 minutes and rinse clean.

5) Use coconut oil as a moisturizer

Coconut oil has natural anti-bacterial properties which help fight dry winter skin by keeping makeup from clogging pores and preventing blemishes.

You can use coconut oil instead of your regular moisturizer, or you can add a few drops into your regular cream to help lock in moisture. To use as a moisturizer, simply apply to dry skin after showering and make sure to rub it in thoroughly. If you have sensitive skin, it’s recommended that you try coconut oil on a small patch of skin before using it all over your face, particularly if you’re prone to allergic reactions.

6) Use petroleum jelly for extra moisture

Keeping the lips moisturized is important during winter because they tend to get very dry and chapped.

To keep them healthy, apply plain petroleum jelly (Vaseline) to the lips at bedtime. Petroleum jelly is a great moisturizer because it locks in moisture and contains mineral oil, which is similar to the skin’s natural oils. This will make your lips feel smooth and look shiny!

7) Make a hair mask

Winter air can make the hair dry and frizzy, so conditioning at least once a week is necessary.

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To make a deep conditioning treatment that will add shine to your hair, add an egg yolk to one tablespoon of olive oil and mix well. Then apply from roots to tips after shampooing. Let it sit for about 20 minutes before rinsing off. Healthy, shiny hair that smells like an omelette!

8) Create your own shaving cream

To avoid razor burn and dry skin during the winter months, create your own shaving cream out of coconut oil and fresh mint leaves.

Fresh mint will give you a cooling sensation as it helps to open pores and prevent razor burn. To make, simply mix enough coconut oil with fresh mint to make a paste. Apply before you shave to protect your skin against redness and irritations.

9) Create your own lip scrub

Honey acts as an exfoliator to help remove dead cells on the lips, while sugar provides moisture.

Mix together honey and sugar to make a scrub, then massage into your lips for one minute. Rinse clean with warm water.

10) Use baking soda as a face wash

Baking soda is alkaline, so it has the ability to remove oil from hard-to-reach places on the face without stripping away natural oils.

Mix two tablespoons of baking soda with your regular face wash – this will help to remove blackheads and keep skin clear. The mixture will also help fight against blemishes too! Make sure to moisturize after using in order to balance out the effects.

11) Use milk of magnesia in place of facial moisturizer

Although it’s widely used as an antacid, milk of magnesia also makes a great facial moisturizer because it’s not greasy and has the same pH levels as healthy skin.

Before bed, apply a thin layer of milk of magnesia to clean skin and allow it to dry. This will help hydrate your face overnight without clogging pores. Milk of magnesia has a silky texture and can be used on all skin types.


Dry skin can be a major pet peeve during the winter months, but that doesn’t mean you have to shell out tons of cash for fancy lotions and creams. Try these homemade remedies to keep skin soft and hydrated without dropping a ton of money on name brand products!

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