10 Natural Remedies for Dry Skin

| Modified on Jan 16, 2021
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Dry Skin Natural Remedies

Dry skin is a cosmetic and comfort issue. Natural remedies for dry skin include various oils, apple cider vinegar and proper hydration. Home treatments can reduce the dryness and improve the overall health of the skin.

Dry Skin Causes

  • Exposure to Chemicals
  • Wind
  • Cold
  • Sun
  • Dry Air
  • Dehydration
  • Frequent Hand Washing
  • Overuse of Hand Sanitizers
  • Hot Showers
  • Skin Disorders
  • Hypothyroidism

Dry Skin Solutions

1. Apple Cider Vinegar Bath

Adding one cup of raw apple cider vinegar to a bath can improve the pH of the skin and help relieve dry skin. If only one area of skin is dry, make a solution of apple cider vinegar and water. (Add 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar to a cup of water.) and use a cotton ball to apply the solution to the dry skin area once or twice a day.

2. Castor Oil

Castor oil has a luxurious feel. It has historically been used in cosmetics, including lipstick. If castor oil is used before bed as a moisturizer it will usually all be absorbed by morning, leaving the skin baby soft.

3. Coconut Oil

Some enjoy the feel and smell of coconut oil on the skin. Others find it actually dries out the skin. If coconut oil seems to dry the skin when used topically, try adding it to the diet instead.

4. Wheat Germ Oil

Wheat germ oil, high in vitamin E, is healing and soothing to the skin. Massage the oil into the skin as desired. Some find it is more easily absorbed into the skin than other oils.

5. Coffee Scrub

Coffee grounds make a great exfoliator for the skin. Gently massaging coffee grounds into the skin will remove dead skin cells. Simply use the leftover grounds from a morning cup of coffee. It is not recommended to use grounds that have not been used as they will be too harsh.

Using coffee grounds in the shower makes them easy to rinse off. In theory, coffee grounds should go easily down the drain. However, coffee does contain oil and depending on the size and condition of drain pipes, rinsing them down the drain may not be a good idea, at least on a regular basis. A fine mesh strainer could be used in the drain of the tub to keep most of the grounds from entering the pipes.

6. Honey

Honey is an amazing natural product that provides moisture and nutrients to the skin. It can reduce bacteria and inflammation as well. Massage a small amount of honey into the face, hands or wherever the skin is dry. Honey is sometimes used instead of soap on the face.

Ideally chose a raw and local honey. Health food stores and farmers markets are the best places to get quality, local honey.

7. Glycerin

Glycerin is a humectant. The purpose of a humectant is to keep them moist. Glycerin can be purchased in pharmacies.

8. Lanolin

Lanolin, removed from sheep fleece after a sheep is shorn, is thick, rich and healing. A little goes a very long way to healing dry skin. It is also excellent for cracked skin.

9. Dietary Changes

Chronic low grade dehydration is a common cause of dry skin and other heath problems. Drinking plenty of water or herbal tea each day provides the skin cells (and all of the body’s cells) with adequate fluids. Consider what happens to a piece of fruit if it dehydrates. It begins to wrinkle! Staying well hydrated can help with dry skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles as well!

Low fat diets can contribute to dry skin. Include quality oils in the diet. Coconut oil, olive oil and sesame oil are each excellent oils to promote health of the skin and the entire body. High fat foods like avocados and nuts can also provide fat and nutrition needed by the skin.

10. Environmental Changes

  • Wear a hat when out in the sun.
  • Use a humidifier in the house if the air is dry.
  • Use natural cleaning products. Harsh cleaning chemicals can wreak havoc on the skin.
  • Wear rubber gloves while doing the dishes.
  • Avoid long hot showers.

If natural remedies are not working to heal dry skin, or if dry skin is accompanied by other health issues, consult a medical professional. An underlying health issue could be causing the skin problem. Solving a hidden health concern may improve more than just dry skin!

Continue reading to see how our readers have solved the dilemma of dry skin!

Have you found a solution for dry skin? Please send us some feedback!

Apple Cider Vinegar

4 User Reviews
5 star (3) 
3 star (1) 

Posted by Donna (Colorado) on 03/30/2017 3 posts
5 out of 5 stars

Vinegar baths are amazing. You can soak in a bath with only a cup of vinegar in it or with two big jugs of vinegar in it and anywhere in between. I once decided to try using 3 big jugs of vinegar in my bath but had to stop at 2 because the fumes made my eyes water. Vinegar baths are very helpful after a long hike or any kind of hard physical activity that makes you tired but too restless to sleep well. Get up and take a vinegar bath and you will sleep like a baby, seriously! It will also make your skin smooth.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Peanut (Bowie, Maryland, USA) on 01/03/2010
3 out of 5 stars

Worked Temporarily

I have very dry skin, and my feet are especially dry, heel cracked and peeling. I soaked my feet in organic apple cider vinegar with the mother at full strength for about 45 minutes or so, and then I massaged 10,000 i.u. of vitamin E oil into my feet. My feet looked and felt drastically different, just from that first soak. The next day while in the shower i used one of those pumice stones to get rid of the dry scaly skin, and then soaked my feet again in full strength apple cider vinegar and massaged the vitamin E oil into my feet. My feet were definitely looking normal again by day 2. However, as soon as I stopped doing anything the dry scaly skin returned. I definitely have to be more consistent with applying moisture to my skin on a daily basis. . Hope this helps!

Replied by Saba
(Mentor, Oh)

Peanut - Have you tried Castor Oil? It works great to soften your skin. It will make your feet feel like a baby's bottom.

Replied by Peanut
(Bowie, Md)

I haven't tried the castor oil as a moisturizer. I will try it, and let u know if it works for my dry cracked feet.. Thanks for the suggestion!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Naeriyah Jo An (Atlanta, USA) on 01/11/2008
5 out of 5 stars

Another remedy that works for dry skin if your lower extrementies are having difficulty in absorbing oils lotions or resisting water when your bathing. soak your legs in a bath of acv and warm water for about 30 minutes immediately your legs will begin absorbing again. I have done both. with the legs my medical doctors told me that they were dying and a japanese massuse told me about the acv bath and to never use anything on my skin i cannot eat. I went back to the doctor and showed them my legs. They didnt knowwhat to say but told me to keep on doing what i am doing. I have not had that severity with asborption since. I have had to repeat the bathe again 7 years since i first tried it.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Ed Davis (Wenatchee WA, USA) on 06/03/2007
5 out of 5 stars

Skin Care - Dry Scaly Patches: I had some dry scaly skin on my nose and about for an inch or so on either side of my nose. I have been using a mixture of ACV, Baking Soda, and Water for a about a week and a half. I use about 1/4 tablespoon of BS and ACV till the bubbling stops. then I add just enough water to complete filling a small cup About 3 inches high, 1/2 full. I wash my face with this and leave it on for about a minute and then rinse it off. My skin on my nose and by my nose is now very soft and is no longer dry. I also found that when shaving with a razor that this mixture lubricated my skin and I did not get any cuts. I pieced this mixture together from reading about several items from this site. I love www.earthclinic.com

Black Seed Oil

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by C. (Charlotte, NC) on 03/15/2015
5 out of 5 stars

Every winter I get really dry skin. Normally coconut oil helps but for the past couple of years, my hands have been very dry. Especially my right hand. Which is weird because I do the same things with both hands pretty much. The skin on the back of my right hand was so dry until it began to look scaly and like it had tiny scabs like it had been scratched all over.

A friend and I heard about black seed oil last summer (also know as black cumin seed oil or being billed as "curing everything except death". We decided to try it. Now I can't remember why except that what ever it was for, after I'd used or taken it several times, I felt like it wasn't doing anything for me. So I stuck it in the fridge.

When coconut oil stopped working for my skin, it popped into my head a couple of weeks ago that the black seed oil might help. I began rubbing a little on my hands every day, twice a day. Just enough to rub in without leaving any excess to look or feel greasy. Since then, my right hand looks remarkably better. There are still a few tiny spots where the skin still looks dry but I have to strain to see it and I think that's because I haven't used the oil in about a week.

I also began using it on my face because I noticed the coconut oil wasn't doing anything for my face other than softening my skin. It actually seemed to be leading to breakouts more and more. The black seed oil seems to be helping minimize breakouts and moisturizes well without leaving a greasy feeling.

For my face, I use it like a moisturizing cleanser. Meaning as soon as I come in for the evening, I put some on a cotton ball (not cotton pad) and use the oil to clean the day's dirt off. (Being careful to avoid the areas around and near my eyes.) I take a second cotton ball and go lightly over the same areas, to remove a little oil and any residual dirt. (Usually not much of either.) By the time I go to bed, any oil left has soaked into my skin. It looks nice and calm, feels like silk when I wake up.

If you try it, be careful NOT to get it near your eyes. The smell is slight but it causes my eyes to tear up if rubbed anywhere near them.

Castille Soap, Coconut Oil

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Lou (Tyler, Texas) on 03/02/2013
5 out of 5 stars

I healed my dry feet by using a castille soap product with coconut oil in it. It kills the fungus that causes the dryness. Try it!

Castor Oil

3 User Reviews
5 star (3) 

Posted by Justin (Reno, Nv) on 12/20/2017
5 out of 5 stars

Taking castor oil internally cured my lack luster, dry, dehydrated, dull skin.

I began taking 1 tsp internally per day for hair-related results and to my surprise by skin became softer than I can ever remember! I now take 1 tsp daily with each meal followed by a swig of water to wash it down. I don't take it religiously, but anytime I remember and have access. You could always just take one big dose at your convenience. Be careful: at higher doses (somewhere around 1 to 2 tbspn in a 24 hour period) castor oil will act as a laxative.

I'm not sure why castor oil hydrated my skin, but probably related to a health issue that the oil helped cleared up. Give it a try! You'll never have to buy body lotion again!

Castor Oil
Posted by Angel (Olathe, Ks) on 01/07/2015
5 out of 5 stars

I had badly calloused feet....especially in summer as I always wore sandals. I mixed 50/50 solution of unscented vaseline lotion and castor oil and rubbed it into my feet right before bed. I bought a couple of pairs of cheap terry cloth house slippers and wore those until I was in bed (we have hard wood floors & didn't want to fall on my duff .) I was just doing it to soften my feet a little, but after a month, I stepped out of the shower one day and my entire foot peeled a very thick callous practically all in one huge piece, and my feet were so soft. I 've been doing it ever since as a preventative measure. Patience is the key, but it was certainly a surprise plus for me, as I thought the skin was way too thick to make any headway as far as alleviating the callous. I was just hoping to make my feet a little softer. Hope this helps.

Castor Oil
Posted by Milo (Orange County, Ca) on 12/27/2013
5 out of 5 stars

Castor Oil worked for me. I had extremely hard, dry and cracked skin on both my feet and my right hand. The skin split in the arch of my foot about 3/16 and I had open cracks in joints of my fingers and on the tip of my thumb. Very painful. No matter how much or what type of lotion I used, it gave me no relief.

Then I started soaking both my feet and hand in ACV for about 10 minutes at a time, 1-2 times a day. The results were dramatic within days and my skin looks normal after about 10 day. NO MORE CUTS and virtually no small cracks either.

I have had athletes foot most of my life, and the symptoms of it are also 95% gone and still improving.

Because the cracking was localized on my right hand (thumb to index finger) and did not respond to lotion, I suspected there might be something else at the root cause such as a fungus or reaction to something on my tools. (I use cordless drills a lot in my work). I heard that ACV is acidic and effective against fungus. It appears that ACV both mitigates the cause of the cracking and softens the loose dead skin so it can be easily removed with an abrasive dish pad which I would use after 1 out of 4 soakings.

My skin does seam to absorb lotion or coconut oil now, when before it seamed ineffective.

I HIGHLY recommend trying it.

Good Luck, Milo

Coconut Oil

7 User Reviews
5 star (5) 
3 star (1) 

Posted by Joy (Battleground, Wash) on 05/15/2013
5 out of 5 stars

I had the cracks on my heels for 15 years, dry skin that had to be scaped off or it would form a deep crevace and bleed and take months to heal It all stopped when I started eating the coconut oil in november/december at the height of cold weather, warm sox and shoes all day... No more problems.

Coconut Oil
Posted by Diane (Boise, Idaho) on 03/15/2012
5 out of 5 stars

I love Virgin Coconut Oil for lots of things, most especially taken internally for soft, shiny hair, and moisturized skin from within! My daughter turned me onto it about 4-5 years ago when a colleague of hers lost weight dramatically. Asked what was her secret, she said on Oprah Winfrey's show she learned about eating a tsp-tblsp of coconut oil morning and night. It promoted inner cleansing for weight loss, and the side benefits were awesome! This is one health regime I don't forget! My hair at 66 is the best it has ever been in my life, my skin is moisturized from within, no more scaley elbows, and it helps with the feet, and some weight came off too. After reading other earthclinic. Coms comments, I now also use it externally on face, hands and feet after toning or soaking with Apple Cider Vinegar or in the case of the feet, plain cheap white vinegar. I also try and drink more water every day too. Sorry avon lady, I like the natural remedies!

Oh and I put about a tsp into my dogs food every day for moisturized skin and shiny hair/fur. No more expensive dog shampoos and conditioners. They are healed from the inside.

Replied by Sue
(Northern Va)

Hi. I've read here on EC that applying extra-virgin organic coconut oil topically can moisturize, but also that it can dry the skin. Does it depend on how much you use? Or skin type? And what about taking it internally -- could that also cause dry skin? I am interested in its health benefits but my skin is already very dry (I am in my sixties.) Thank you for any help, EC is the greatest!

Replied by Mmsg
(Somewhere, Europe)

Sue, the only way you'll know how it affects YOU is by trying it. As far as I know, it can do no long term harm. Make sure you aren't allergic to it. A little goes a long way, no need to slather it on.

Coconut Oil
Posted by Nightfire (Danville, Illinois, United States) on 03/10/2012
5 out of 5 stars

I have always looked young for my years (at least what everybody tells me) , but for some reason every one seemed to comment that it never looked like I had enough sleep, no matter what. But since taking VCO (internally and rubbing it around my eyes now and then) haha, they have lightened up! VCO is great and after I got over the dregs (er die-off symptoms) I notices a lot other neat stuff too from the VCO. WOOT! I am LITERALLY AGING BACKWARDS OUTWARDLY...

Coconut Oil
Posted by Diane (Lisbon, IA) on 07/14/2009
5 out of 5 stars

For dry skin, I have found that 1 teaspoon of Virgin Coconut Oil (vco) taken internally will hydrate the skin from within. Start with one teaspoon per day, and you may have to experiment with the dosage. Most people can simply eat a spoonful, but it can also be spread on something like a whole wheat tortilla or vegetables to make it more paltable. I was taking vco for another health benefit but had to stop because my previous "normal" skin became moist and "greasy" feeling all day long. Hope it helps someone.

Replied by Donna
3 posts

Coconut oil tastes delicious in oatmeal, that's how I finally managed to get it into my regular diet. Start small though, it will detox your digestive system and you might not like how it feels if you start off with too much. It's also good for constipation...it will really get you going!

Coconut Oil
Posted by Chanson (Midwest, United States) on 01/12/2009
3 out of 5 stars

Worked Temporarily

Dear Dianna from Austin, TX,

Thank you so much for your great pieces of advice about using coconut oil for dry hands! I have been trying your methods and experimenting with the concepts.

I have tried the ACV (which I love for other things) and am still determining the effectiveness.

You were so right that heat helps the coconut oil penetrate. I have cold hands and live in a cold climate! Based on your advice about warm water, I have been trying microwavable hot packs. After I apply the oil, I place my hands inside the warm packs with towels over them and then the oil seems to absorb quickly. For a short time afterwards my hands feel less dry.

Have you had any experience with losing the "lotion" effects of the coconut oil after your hands touch water during routine daily tasks (cleaning, etc.)? My fingers instantly become dry after I so much as use a damp paper towel. The coconut oil doesn't seem to maintain for me, even when I minimize water exposure. I would just love to have the moisturizing effects of the coconut oil last throughout the day.

Thanks again for your kind help and thank you in advance for any other ideas you might have!

Good Health to everyone!

Replied by Jamie
(New York, NY)

Hi, Chanson. I too tried coconut oil for dry skin and found it didn't last very long. Two things might help you - pure shea butter and a lotion with alpha hydroxy acids. I have been using shea butter in the winter for 2 years now and it is phenomenal. Great for cracked heels too. When I visited my mother over the holidays, she had some alpha hydroxy skin lotion that she bought a natural food store. I tested it out and found it immediately cured dry skin and lasted all day, even after multiple washings. I wrote the name down but now can't find it amongst all my scraps of paper. I found a generic alpha hydroxy at the drug store and it does get rid of dry skin, but doesn't absorb well. If I can find the name of the good stuff, will post again. It made my skin amazingly silky and soft!

Replied by Dianna
(Austin, Tx)

chanson - glad it is helping even just a little. btw - if the coconut oil is not enough moisture you can add another oil like olive or cocoa butter or even sesame oil. i just prefer to not have to buy more oils and so use the coconut. actually, the only way VCO will help my very dry hands is if i apply it and then soak in warm water AND/or apply a small amount of it after i have soaked in a bath and i am still wet. what you want to do is to seal in the water. the oil doesn't help so much for moisturizing as the water does - it just seals in the water. also when i drink 3 liters of water a day my dry skin really just goes away... so i know with me it is really water that i need.

also, some people find VCO to be slightly drying to their skin. it is a semi-drying oil - that is why it doesn't feel greasy. so if you find this to be the case you can add another oil to your VCO or just switch to a more moisturizing oil. this is why VCO seems to disappear on your skin and not stay greasy. and i have found that the longer i use it that the less i have to use it. hope this helps.
djh/austin, TX

Replied by Dianna
(Austin, Tx)

if the coconut oil is not enough for your dry hands - try using castor oil. castor oil will soak in overnight and will protect your skin from drying out.

also i have found that coconut oil takes some time to work but it will eventually heal dry skin - unlike some other oils that appear to just work when they are on the skin and when you wash them off your skin is dry again.

you may also take some coconut oil or olive oil and add a little melted beeswax (melt the VCO too) and stir or mix it very well. the beeswax will add a little barrier to the skin to keep the cold and wet from removing more moisture.


Replied by Michelle
(New Zealand)

Did you ever find the name of the product you could not find that worked? My 20-month old has very dry skin - legs, scalp. The Extra Virgin Coconut Oil on his head does little help and work. I read about castor oil working. I will try that. My toddler needs help!! My 3-yr. old is okay so I don't know why the 20-month old is so different and has severely dry skin. Both kids eat the same, etc.

Replied by Mama To Many

Dear Michelle,

One of my toddlers (many years ago) had very dry cheeks, and none of his siblings did. He is an adult and still has a bit of trouble with that. Anyway, back then the pediatrician told me to use Eucerin. I did but don't it helped a ton.

My current favorite dry skin solution is 1/2 castor oil and 1/2 lanolin. I melt the lanolin and stir in castor oil. The resulting oil is very nourishing to the skin and usually makes skin very soft overnight. Castor oil alone works quite well but I find the addition of lanolin to be amazing.

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Art
1004 posts

In reply to Michelle (New Zealand),

Food Grade Vegetable Glycerin / Glycerine / Glycerol may be helpful for the dry skin issues of your infant. It is mild and commonly found in many creams and lotions. Glycerine is a humectant and can draw moisture to the dry skin areas. You can apply it full strength or dilute it down with filtered water to any percentage that feels comfortable on the skin. If you dilute it enough, you can also make a spray. You can add it to many different moisturizers, lotions and creams to improve the moisturizing effects of these. Be sure it is food grade in case your infant manages to lick the affected area.

When I have used it, the moisturizing effect seems to last all day. I have mixed it with different things like witch hazel and it seems to blend well with many others.

I just tried mixing it with castor oil and it does mix, which might be another possibility, but for adult use, adding a little lavender essential oil might add a soothing quality to the mix since I'm not a fan of the smell of castor oil. The glycerine does not seem to have a scent that I can detect.

Good luck!


Coconut Oil
Posted by Chanson (Midwest, United States) on 12/29/2008
0 out of 5 stars

I love the idea of using virgin coconut oil on my skin, but gave up after a few weeks. Here is my situation: I am in need of a hand lotion that is not filled with the synthetic chemicals of typical commercial hand lotion. My hands are dry, winter and summer; and I suspect that some of this has to do with my continual use of the commercial hand lotions for many years. It isn't that my skin is chapped, it is that my hands FEEL stiff and dry. They look fine but they don't feel comfortable. Also, my ability to grip things with my fingertips is now decreasing; things just slip underneath my touch. I have tried (on two occasions) going a couple of months without applying any lotion to see if my natural skin oils would resurface, to no avail. I do drink at least a couple of litres of water per day.

I am interested in trying again with the virgin coconut oil. Here is the problem. Even if I massage it in to my hands for several minutes and wait for a half an hour, it still has not absorbed into my skin. It is very greasy and I can't proceed with tasks I need to take care of. The oil is coming off my hands onto other things. Moreover, I need to either wash my hands several times a day or expose them to water in the course of my day, and after so doing I need to reapply lotion. So it's not working to have grease on my hands so frequently.

I don't use a huge amount of VCO. I thought perhaps I could use a towel to wipe off the surface grease, but in trying that, it seems that the skin on my hands is just back to where it was, feeling not moist. It has occurred to me that I could try applying it before bed and putting cotton gloves on, but I feel I will still need some kind of lotion during the day after I have washed my hands.

I am wondering what other substance could possibly be added to the coconut oil to make it easier to penetrate the skin? I have read that commercial hand lotions use alcohol to help their oils be absorbed. I am at a point where I would resort to that. Sadly, I have also heard that the alcohol is drying to the skin, and therefore makes you need to reapply the lotion. Perhaps this has something to do with what I call "hand lotion addiction". None of the commercial lotions I have ever used have genuinely improved my skin, in fact, I fear that they have made my skin lose it's natural oils. I am very sad that my dermatologists have recommended these products, products with long lists of synthetic chemicals, that seem to have done nothing for me other than possibly cause a sort of dependency upon them.

If anyone has any guidance on how best to use coconut oil for the skin, particularly the hands; or a suggestion for a preparation that uses VCO effectively in combination with something else, I would be VERY appreciative! Thank you very much and Good Health to all!

Replied by Dianna
(Austin, TX)

hi - i just wanted to say if you are having trouble with the virgin coconut oil sinking into your hands - first try wetting your hands first and putting a tiny bit of the vco on and rubbing them together. also if you massage the vco on your hands and then soak them in hot/warm water this helps it penetrate too. another thing you can do is wet your hands and rub a larger amount of the VCO on them and put on cotton gloves and sleep with it on. all and all- with vco i have found that less is more and that more (unless used by the last method) actually tends to make my skin feel drier. the massage and then soaking in warm water really really helps.hope you figure out a way to use it.

also you may try spraying apple cider vinegar diluted in 2/3 water on your hands before applying the vco. all of these methods have helped me. but the main thing i have found the most useful for very dry hands and cuticles is urine therapy - i use the first morning urine and just rub it onto my hands and then put a thin layer of vco over the top of it. then i go back to sleep and when i wake up my hands are very soft.

Replied by Jenny
(Perth, Wa, Australia)

Hi Chanson

I too have had dry hands my whole life and nothing seems to last until I tried pure shea nut butter. It works wonders, it does soak into your hands but does take a while. If you want something that will soak in quickly pure Jojoba oil in fantastic. It will soak into your skin within a minute or two and leaves your hands feeling so much softer. Hope this helps and good luck.

Replied by Mona
(Urbandale, Us)

Try coconut oil with juice of lemon

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