Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!
Everyone seems to be having problems with dry skin in different forms, places on the body, and stages. I have been surprised this year, it seems to be everyone. I have tips used by my grandma and experiments I use that work. I hope these will help you.
The aisle at all drug stores, groceries, etc. are empty of the "dry skin" products which shows companies are unaware of this problem. If you look at the ingredients in dry skin products, you'll see you can DYI most of it at a much cheaper price.
Add a drop of olive oil or vitamin E to face creams from the dollar store. Depending on jar size and if you use if to remove makeup (near eyes), you may not want to do full jar. You may want to have two separate jars, one with added "moisture" and one without.
Same goes for body lotion. Buy inexpensive lotion, usually these are generic names and add olive oil, mineral oil, or vitamin E to the lotion. Give it several days and that flaky skin will be gone or at the very least showing signs of improvement.
I love finding the Vitamin C capsules made by beauty companies. Recently we found them at the back of TJ Max. The cost of these are way out of my budget. However at that marked down price, adding it to lotion either for face or body put a smile on my face. One capsule is what was on the instructions on the jar, and I think there were 30 in this particular container. When I added it to what I already use, it will last longer than 30 uses, doing the job just perfectly for me.
Keep in mind you can put olive oil and mineral oil directly on your skin, however adding it to a lotion will help your skin absorb it, holding it in for longer periods of time. Dry elbow and feet in any winter is a problem. This winter, the wind, early low temperatures, and even snow has made it so long sleeves, socks, even boots started early. Make sure you don't always have these areas covered so they're not getting fresh air.
Making sure the area is dry also is very important. After doing dishes, if you don't use gloves (like me), always dry your hands well. Try having hand lotion right by sink, then anyone has it there to remind them to use it. Using hand sanitizer with alcohol is something I have to do, and it is very drying. Using lotion more often, helps avoid cracking skin on your hands. My lotion I use after sanitizer has much more added olive oil.
Putting Vaseline on your feet with a pair of socks helps those dry, cracking heels. If you can't stand sleeping in socks, rub in the Vaseline as much as possible, doing it right before pulling up the covers.
I have an experiment that I actually did discover on my own - wax around my nails helps with dry, hardened areas around nails, even hangnails. I love candles burning especially in the winter months. When the candle has burned down, just dip your tips of finger in wax. I just dip my nails in the melted wax, let set before it completely hardens, then I rub it into my finger tips. Works great! If you don't like candles, you can still do this. Wait until the candle has a puddle of wax, blow out flame, and dip in your finger tips. Rubbing the wax protects your nails from the cold air, also from water. I have noticed how it helps with hang nails caused from dryness.
You can do your own salon type treatment by buying paraffin, melting it in slow cooker, then dip hands (or feet) into melted wax. Once covered, take out your hand (or foot), put into plastic bag, and then put into an oven mitt. If you are lucky enough to have large rectangular slow cooker, you can do same thing with feet, use plastic bag, and wrap in towel afterwards. I do this all year long, in winter months it's amazing how it helps moisture stay in your skin. You can buy paraffin at the market, where canning jars usually are. Reuse over and over again. You can buy a slow cooker at a thrift store, yard sale, or if you are lucky enough to have an old one, bring it new life.
Giving your skin a steam over hot water helps big time in dry, cold air. While it helps your face, boiling the water also puts moisture in the air. Don't burn yourself! I just place a towel over my head staying far away from hot water. Let the steam do the work. You can do this in bathroom also if the door closes tightly, using the bathroom sink. Keep in mind this doesn't help saving on water or electric bill. I suggest using bowl and towel.
Look in the store where they sell skin and body products, you too may find those special capsules on sale. If not, no worries. Vitamin E and olive oil go a very long way toward helping you have smooth, beautiful skin all season long.
Source: Olive oil is the source for so many things (used in hair also). It even saves money if you buy this at the regular price, I just couldn't afford it. I can afford to follow my grandma's ways. Salons do wax and steam treatments, so I found ways to do at home.
By Luana M. from San Diego, CA
This is is old, but good. Are your hands dry and cracked? Just put sugar and butter together and rub real, real good, then wash off with soap. Hand will be baby butt soft.
Source: my mother
By Brenda H. from Charlotte, NC
Just yesterday I bought a product (can't find it online) that has beeswax, grape seed oil, night primrose oil, olive oil, shea butter, essential oil, honey, and vitamin E. I was told to use it as lotion. I have psoriasis on the palm of one hand and cannot leave it alone. I am always picking the skin off because it itches. I put some on last night and this afternoon, and the itching has stopped. The package says Simply Bee-utiful and has a bee on it.
Source: Maw and Paws Produce in LaPorte, IN
By Mary from LaPorte IN
Not drying off with a towel after your shower or bath can save your skin from aging, drying out and help to absorb the lotion better. I have old terry cloth robes that I put on when getting out of a shower. Look at your thrift store, sometimes you can get lucky. I did with a brand new one, now that is old. Some people have the towels from their weddings so as long as terry works, all is well.
In summer, our skin get drier and ages more so, of course, always use SPF even if you can't see the sun. I know how damaging those rays are! My doctor is the one who told me that using towels and rubbing hard on our skin is damaging. It tugs, pulls and removes more moisture then you really want to. He recommends "air dry" but for some of us, that is impossible. We can wrap the towel around us or, like me, put on a terry cloth robe while there is still water on your skin.
The weather, no matter where you live, is hurting your skin, either by air conditioning, the difference between outdoor or indoor humidity, sun drying, or heavy fog in the air (most of the West Coast). It is something that I noticed a difference in immediately. Within a week, there was a huge change in my skin.
While you are still moist, put lotion on then. It goes further into your skin and lasts longer. I was told "no" on any perfumed lotion. One with cucumbers, berries, Shea butter or cocoa butter is the best. Anything in the lotion that isn't a natural item means your body is absorbing it. My way is if I don't know what it is or how to pronounce it, I don't use it. There are great lotions that fit my budget without perfume added. If you can't find one, try coconut oil. It comes in a hard form which is perfect for using on your body. Mine was 99 cents, works great.
Perfumed lotion on your wrists or with cologne is alright. It helps you extend the great smell and you are using less of it. Having it in your soap or lotion is what hurts your skin by making it dry, helping aging faster.
Don't forget Vaseline is your best friend for those elbows and feet If you are in chlorine, it is the same as being in bleach. We all know what that does to our bodies. Try sleeping in some socks after putting Vaseline on your feet.
My doctor and I also talked about people who twisted their hair, either in a towel or just after you wash it. Most people have done that for years. If I hadn't been told, I probably still would be doing it. Wet long hair is easily broken, Going easy on twisting it too hard or putting a comb or brush through it roughly. It breaks it faster then bleaching or over processing it. Gently use a comb right after you condition your hair. It will break less and be as healthy as your skin is going be.
Have a great summer. Enjoy it for years to come. I love my doctor, he knows I hate all the aging thing. Laughing he told me "Enjoy it and smile. You're as young as you look"! He is a dermatologist with his heart in the right place.
By Luana M. from San Diego, CA
I have been using pure coconut oil for the past two months. I no longer have red, cracked, and bleeding hands nor do my feet have large unhappy cracks in them.
I use flaxseed oil for dry skin. I put flaxseed oil in my pets' food for their dry skin too. I also use flaxseed for constipation. Flax is really wonderful.
I have terrible dry skin. I am itching all the time, it is just horrible! I talked to my new doctor about it and decided to share her advice with all of you. It really does work and no pills!
1 wedge of papaya Scrape out the seeds, scoop out the fruit, and mash it. Smooth over entire face. After 5 minutes, wipe off with washcloth. Follow by splashing face with cool water. (*also works well on flaky skin) By Suzanne S.
You need to consult your doctor and use a mild moisturizer when rehydrating a baby's skin. This is a guide about treating a baby's dry skin.
During winter, your skin loses moisture and tends to dry even when you apply lotion. Add few drops of olive oil to your bottle of lotion and shake well.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
I work outdoors and have dry cracked skin on my hands; lotions do not repair the damage. Help?
By Ken T.
A lady helped my husband with this. His would crack so deep they bled, and he went to doctor after doctor, and was even prescribed a $500 tube of medication.
She said to use pure aloe vera gel and vitamin E oil, rubbed into the hands, and cover with non-porous gloves, such as medical gloves.
He also drinks about 4 ounces of aloe vera juice a day, and takes vitamins E and C, as well as a multi-vit.
After about 2 weeks, his hands were remarkably better. He has been doing this for almost 2 months. His hands still crack. We think related to his hand contact with the steering wheel of his 18 wheeler, but this treatment is inexpensive and easy even for him.
Best of luck to you!
Growing up on a farm, I was taught that very little works as good as Bag Balm. Imagine what it would be like to have cracked...um...udders.
I think this would help, also the other poster had an excellent tip. Often times, help from within is more effective than from without.
We all need C and lots of water. I hope these two tips help.
Nothing is as good as Bag Balm. Almost always available at feed stores.
You can also try putting vaseline / petroleum jelly on your hands at night and cover them with soft cotton socks so the vaseline / petroleum jelly has time to absorb into your sink vs. being wiped off while sleeping.
Has a weird name but Corn Huskers Lotion works great, is totally non-greasy like most other dry skin remedies are and has been around for over six decades. It was invented in Iowa and you can probably guess by the name what it was originally used for ;-) It's in most pharmacies and definitely at WalMart.
I use a Paraffin Wax Machine and it works wonders on my hands especially when they are dry and cracked. First I put Bag Balm on my hands and then dip my hands into the hot wax coating them with a heavy coat. I leave it on for 10-15 minutes. When I take the wax off, my hands feel so good. I can tell a difference immediately. I'll do this for about 3 days and then put the wax machine up and forget to use it until my hands get dry and cracked again. I really need to treat them weekly during the cold months.
The wax machine was given to me for Christmas about 15 years ago and it has really been a life saver for my hands.
Ken, I empathize and sympathize. A couple years ago I picked up a tube of Chap-Stick - for lips - Moisturizer formula (in the KY Wildcat blue tube!) lying on the nightstand and decided to rub it on my fingertips, thinking, oh, well, why not? They had so painfully cracked and bled on the ends and around my nails for years.
The dermatologist told me I was allergic to water. I tried to wear vinyl gloves so I didn't have to wash my hands so often, but that and endless lotions and potions did little to help (I did not do aloe vera or bag balm).
I kept applying the Chap-Stick several times throughout the day, rubbing it well into the skin. I was amazed, but lo and behold, they healed! Praise the Lord. I haven't been as diligent this winter about applying it, so there's some dry skin cracks on both sides of, and slightly on, the fingertips, but no bleeding and no pain!
I still use vinyl gloves, keep my hands out of water as much as possible, and I keep a tube of Chap-Stick in my pants pocket, in my purse, in the car, around the house - and buy it in multi-packs. This has been a real blessing for me; I pray it will be for you, also.
I have dry skin. What can I use?
I too suffer from very dry skin and tried many expensive and inexpensive lotions and creams. I was advised by two dermatologists to use virgin olive oil and that is what works best for me. I hesitated because of the smell but it is absorbed quickly and is not noticeable.
First, make sure you're hydrated from the inside out. Drink plenty of water and other liquids.
Second, review your diet--are you getting adequate vitamins, calories, and some fat? If you have questions, keep a food diary and review it with your doctor.
Third, a lot of lotions don't necessarily add moisture to your skin as much as seal the moisture you're losing in. Keeping this in mind, after you bathe or shower (avoid hot baths, they tend to dry you out), pat yourself dry and then seal your skin with lotion or even a cooking oil. (If you use oil, take care getting dressed so you don't get your clothes oily.)
Ask friends what lotions they like best. Ask if you can try a "squirt" of theirs. It seems we all have our own favorites.
Nivea cream is wonderful.
I worked in homecare nursing for years and learned that if you apply a good moisturizing lotion to the skin after you shower and gently dry, the skin's moisture will hold the lotion in to prevent the skin from drying out. It really works well. Good luck.
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
What to do for dry split skin the your heels? My daughter-in-law needs help.
By Shirley from KY
I use a mixture of two things in one overnight process.
1st - I coat my feet in lotion. Don't rub it in too well.
2nd - I sprinkle with Gold Bond Powder, because I like the menthol in it. I suppose some other mentholated type powder or even a cream mixed in with the lotion would work just as well, but Gold Bond is GOOD STUFF....
3rd - I bag my feet in small (unscented) trash bags and slip into my socks.
4th - sleep in this.
5th - Wash thouroughly the next morning.
You can do this as much as you want but watch for irritations the first couple of days.
By dede smith
After her bath or shower, do not dry feet. Coat feet with Vaseline and wear socks to bed. CVS has a very inexpensive cream that works very well. In about three days her feet should be better, but this needs to be done ever couple of days especially during the winter. I learned this from a WWII vet when I was at IU in the 60's. (07/21/2010)
By Sheilah Link
You've already gotten several good suggestions. I either use AandD ointment, or plain Vaseline, and wear thick socks to be to keep it on. (07/22/2010)
I would try virgin coconut oil and put a plastic bag on that, and then a sock over it. Coconut oil has antifungal and antibiotic, and softening properties to it. I use regular coconut oil but if you can find virgin coconut oil that is great too. Failing that, I would do the above actions with crisco shortening or oil. But Crisco doesn't have the same antifungal or antibiotic properties as coconut oil does.
By Robyn Fed
Absolute best stuff I have tried is Aquaphor healing ointment. I had dry elbows that used to hurt they were so dry, and Vaseline and lotions did not touch it. After I used Aquaphor, it worked so well that I discovered my elbows were ticklish! Haha, that's a sensation I never remembered feeling before! Plus it's the best balm to use on lips because it does not contain any drying agents that a lot of lip balm companies add to keep customers needing to use their products :) Amazing stuff, you can buy it in small tubes now, too. (07/24/2010)
I used to work in a hospital where almost everyone wore Birkenstock shoes and we all had cracked heels. One of the docs came up with the cure. Use a pumice stone in the shower every day and slather on Vick's Vaporub. Works like a charm! (07/28/2010)
I had this problem and after reading one of these posts, I realize it has only been since wearing Birkenstocks!
Anyway, I tried a bunch of things and had failure each time. My husband bought me Earth to Skin's HeelTastic Intensive Heel Therapy. It's a clear tube container like round deodorant. It works wonderfully! It has a lot of oils in it. I love it. I apply after my shower, then again before bed. Hubby got it at Bed, Bath and Beyond for around $15-$20, but you can now find it almost anywhere for $10. (Also on TV.) I noticed significant difference by day three. Don't forget to pumice off the dead skin in the shower. (07/28/2010)
What is causing this dry skin? I get it in the summer from wearing sandals all the time. I can prevent it by keeping the calluses worn off with a foot scraper or pumice stone. I do this when my feet are dry - before the shower or tub, as it is far more effective then! If I should get careless and get cracks, I put band-aids on them, with a petroleum based salve on the crack to aid healing.
I find that it takes awhile for the hard dry skin to heal, so sometimes I have to shave/scrape that off so that the new skin underneath can heal and not be re-opened constantly. If I had many cracks, I would use the salve and plastic bag and socks to bed remedy, as that sounds like it would work. (07/28/2010)
By Louise B.
Slather on Vaseline at bedtime covered with socks. Simple and cheap.
I had a friend give me a pair of soothing socks. They were the kind with gel in a slipper sock. Gave me foot butter to use too. It was a gift, not a gag type. She thought I might try it. (07/29/2010)
By Grandma J
A warning about using the Vicks Vaporub on cracked skin. If the cracks are severe and there is bleeding it is NOT recommended. Got that from Walking Magazine. (08/05/2010)
By Mary Lou
I have had very dry skin since birth. I experience many problems during the winter. Can you please suggest to me any treatments/products for permanent treatment for it. This is a genetic problem in my family.
By arvind from India
I've heard that olive is is a very good moisturizer for the skin. (10/24/2009)
I use a couple of tablespoons of baby oil in my bath. Also, I put baby oil all over my legs before I shower or take a bath, which are flaky in the winter. It seems to get rid of the flaky and most of the oil is removed from your skin so your clothing is not ruined.
Soap is probably the worst thing you can use on dry skin, it just gets worse. I have used soap made from goat's milk and it is very gentle. You need to do some research on eczema which is a skin irritation. Sorry, dry skin does not go away and needs constant attention. My husband has flaky dry skin, he does not use soap on his face, but has used baby oil for years and washes it off. A lot of facial masks are drying, so be careful what you use. (10/24/2009)
My skin on my face and neck was do dry it was forming a a barrier that no moisturizer could get through. Someone told me to use baby oil in my palm with a little white or brown sugar as an exfoliant on these areas. But be gentle. I do this once or twice a month. I also got a jar of lanolin from the local pharmacy as my moisturizer. It's tacky, so pull your hair back. It also works great on elbows, hands, feet, and dry lips. (10/24/2009)
I have dry skin (very dry) and live in Colorado so when the heaters come on in the winter it takes a toll on my skin.
I keep humidifiers going all the time and use the newer Jergens Ultra Healing skin lotion. I swear this is the best lotion I have ever purchased. It's mid range in drugstore lotion pricing and I often find it on sale. My only complaint is that there is the light scent of their "original" formula.
It's better then Curel (and cheaper) and way better than the Suave version. In a pinch, Vaseline's Intensive Rescue is pretty good, but Jergens Ultra Healing wins hands down.
Oh, and instead of olive oil, as I was flipping through channels the other day, landed on Dr. Oz's new talk show and they had mentioned that safflower oil has the same exact qualities of olive oil without smelling like a salad.
Anyhow, never been happier with a lotion, especially for the price, than I have been with Jergens Ultra Healing and humidifiers are a must where I live and help so very much. (10/24/2009)
Try a lotion with Shea butter in it, it's very softening. Cocoa butter is also good. And Bert's Bees has a great oil you can put in your bath that really softens the skin. Also use an exfoliator scrub on your skin in the shower once a week. It gets rid of the dead flaky skin cells, be sure and apply a good moisturizer afterward. (10/26/2009)
Nicole is right. Equal amounts of olive oil and sugar are the best thing I have ever used. The sugar exfoliates and the oil moistens. Beyond that, you might want to contact webmd.com or see a doctor. Good luck! (10/27/2009)
I have the same problem and it gets worse during cold, wet weather. I've been to dermatologists for years. They've tried several things, but nothing really took care of the problem. I wasted time and money. When we moved to Denver, I was told that the skiers used Bag Balm.
It's a product that is used on cow udders to keep them from cracking in cold weather. (You can buy it in some pet stores, livestock feed stores, some drugstores, or on-line.) It is inexpensive and works well. The only problem is that it has a medicinal odor, so you may want to use it at night. I believe there is a similar product out there that doesn't have a smell. (10/27/2009)
By Pam Griffis
A wonderful skin protection/moisturizer I have been making for years: one cup schmaltz (rendered chicken fat, such as when you boil a chicken for salad or soup) melted and hot and 1/2 cup chamomile flowers or elderberry flowers or a combination of both. Mix together while fat is almost hot enough to "fry" the flowers and allow to sit at room temp and cool. Once it's cool, but still a bit liquid, strain into a sterile jar and allow to cool completely. Keep this in the frig. Before you wash dishes, clean with any kind of chemicals, put on rubber gloves, garden, go out in the cold, rub a good dollop into hands and any other area that's very dry. Most people don't know I do a lot of farm work, since my hands sure don't show it. (10/27/2009)
By Sarah Leach
My daughter had a severe dry skin problem and her doctor told her to use nothing, but Dove soap and lukewarm water to shower in. Immediately after drying off and skin is still damp, apply lotion (we used Jergens) to lock in the moisture. Within two weeks her skin was normal and the only time it started to get bad again was on trips when she used regular soap so she started packing her own soap to take along. (10/28/2009)
By Karen Redlin
Crisco shortening is the best. It contains vitamin a and palm oil which are very good for the skin and it's cheap. Just melt in the microwave for a few seconds then apply to skin. (11/06/2009)
I have the world's worst dry skin. I have used many over-the-counter products, but nothing does enough.