Natural Remedies for Dry Skin and Chapped Lips: Try Them at Home!

Fact checked by Olga Sadouskaya, MD
Clinical Pharmacologist, Chief Medical Officer

There are many wonderful things that we start to dream about whenever winter rolls around. But just as you dream about ice skating rinks, snowball fights, and hot cocoa, you may also be worrying about common winter skin concerns. There are several skin problems that tend to flare up during the winter, including dry skin, chapped lips, and cracked hands. Fortunately, there are some things you can try at home to relieve these issues.

Keep reading this article to discover some of the best natural remedies for dry skin and chapped lips that you can try at home.

Can weather cause dry skin and chapped lips?

Absolutely. Weather variations, especially cold and dry conditions, can lead to a wide range of skin complaints. Some of the most common weather-related skin problems include dry skin, chapped lips, and cracked hands.

Cold or dry weather can exacerbate various skin conditions, including:

  • Psoriasis
  • Eczema
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Cold urticaria
  • Pernio or chilblains
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon

But it’s not just the weather that can cause these issues. During the winter, we’re far more likely to stay inside and turn on our central heating systems, which can also dry out our skin. We’re also more prone to experiencing extreme weather changes during the winter months, since we’re constantly going from the cold outdoor air to a warm indoor environment. Heaters and frequent hot baths or showers can also cause skin dryness.

Some of the most common symptoms of dry skin include:

  • Itchiness
  • Pain in the affected areas
  • Irritation
  • Redness
  • Tightness
  • Bleeding
  • Rough or scaly-looking skin

Age is another factor that can increase your risk of dry skin. As we get older, our skin loses some of its moisture and plumpness, which leaves us more prone to bouts of dry skin during the colder months. These factors can affect the moisture level in your skin and lead to uncomfortable symptoms, but we’ll discuss several skin remedies that could help you.

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During the summer, your skin tends to produce larger quantities of natural oils. These oils allow your skin to retain more moisture which prevents dry skin. This typically leads to summer skin looking more plump and radiant than winter skin. But in excessive quantities, this increased oil production can also lead to weather-related skin complaints.

Warm and humid weather, on the other hand, can also lead to several skin problems, such as:

Natural remedies for dry skin

The easiest natural remedy for dry skin is probably something that you already own… moisturizer! A good moisturizer will rehydrate your skin and seal in the moisture, which will help you combat dry skin. During the winter months, it’s a good idea to opt for a thick and rich moisturizer to ensure that the moisture will stay locked in. Affordable and effective wintertime moisturizers include:

  • Petroleum jelly
  • Moisturizing oils
  • Diaper cream

The body areas that are more likely to be affected by dry skin include those that have fewer sebaceous glands, such as arms, legs, hands, and upper back. Postmenopausal women are also more likely to suffer from these issues. As a result, these are some of the areas that you should target while applying your moisturizer during the winter.

Cream for dry skin

It’s also a good idea to use a humidifier at home or at work during the winter. A humidifier is a simple device that works by adding more moisture to the environment by spraying a very fine water mist at regular intervals. These devices can also help relieve different respiratory conditions, such as asthma and allergies.

Like we mentioned above, hot baths can contribute to dry skin by stripping away natural oils from your body. To prevent this, limit yourself to one warm — not hot — bath or shower per day during the wintertime. You should also try to remove any irritant products from your skincare routine during this time of the year.

Choose a moisturizing soap or consider soap-free cleansers that will be gentle on your skin.

Also, stay away from scented personal hygiene products that can worsen any irritation or flaking on your skin. During your shower or bath, avoid using bath sponges or scrubs that can cause microtrauma to your skin. Gentle exfoliation can be helpful, but it should only be done once or twice per week to prevent further irritation.

Once you get out of the shower, make sure to apply your moisturizer immediately to seal in the moisture on your skin. You should also try to avoid scented detergents to wash your clothes, since they could also irritate your skin. Choose soft clothes that won’t hurt the affected areas even more.

Do home skin remedies really work?

The good news is that natural remedies for dry skin can be very effective, especially in mild cases. However, it’s always a good idea to seek help from a specialist if your symptoms don’t improve or if they’re too severe. There are many health conditions that can cause skin problems, and your physician will have the knowledge and tools that are required to diagnose any underlying health issues that are causing your dry skin.

Special home remedies for dry cracked hands

Home remedies for dry cracked hands include wearing gloves whenever you go outdoors. You can try applying moisturizer right before you put your gloves on to help seal in the product and protect your skin. It’s also important to apply a generous amount of moisturizer just before going to bed.

Another home remedy for dry cracked hands and fingers is to apply a thick moisturizer on the affected areas and then cover your hands with a bandage or a gauze. This will give your skin more time to absorb moisture from the product to relieve dry skin. You can also apply this home remedy for dry cracked hands to your feet, if you are dealing with cracked heels. After applying your moisturizer, simply put on socks to allow the product to absorb more slowly.

Soaking your hands in Epsom salts can also act as chapped hands remedy.

Simply fill a bucket or basin with warm water and add half a cup of Epsom salts, and soak your hands — or feet, if needed — in the water for 10 to 15 minutes. Epsom salts can soften dry, rough skin and remove dead skin cells, while also soothing irritated skin.

Natural remedies for chapped lips

Just like the rest of your skin, it’s especially important to keep your lips hydrated if you’re under cold and dry weather. Our lips don’t have a lot of natural protection against the weather, and they’re typically exposed to the environment 24/7, so it’s no surprise that they often become dry and chapped during the winter.

Natural remedies for chapped lips include lip balms made out of natural ingredients, such as cocoa butter. Other home remedies that you can try include:

  • Sugar or sea salt exfoliant
  • Coconut oil
  • Honey
  • Aloe vera
  • Avocado butter
  • Petroleum jelly

Avoid licking or biting your lips excessively to prevent worsening this issue, since these actions can further irritate and hurt your lips. Mouth breathing can also worsen dry, chapped lips, so it’s important to focus on breathing through your nose during the winter months.

A young woman applying lip balm on chapped lips

It’s also important to keep your lips protected when you go outdoors during the winter. You can achieve this by bundling up with a scarf and draping it in a way that covers your mouth. This will protect the delicate skin on your lips from the cold, dry air to prevent chapped lips. Additionally, remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day.

What to do if natural skin remedies don’t work?

As we mentioned above, there are many health conditions that can lead to dry skin and need to be managed by a healthcare professional.

If you have tried the tips mentioned above and dry skin is still troubling you, it may be time to make an appointment with a dermatologist. If you have severe dry skin, your doctor could recommend a lotion or moisturizer that contains additional ingredients such as urea, lactic acid, or topical steroids. They could also order certain tests to rule out another, underlying health condition as the cause of your skin problems.

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While dry skin is typically a simple problem that can be solved through home skin remedies, it’s important to be on the lookout for severe or chronic skin problems that affect your quality of life.

Additionally, dry skin can increase your risk of skin fissures and secondary bacterial infections, which is just another reason why it’s so important to get this skin problem under control. Improving your dry skin will allow you to enjoy all your favorite wintertime activities without having to worry about discomfort or pain. Other complications stemming from chronic dry skin include:

  • Bleeding
  • Scarring
  • Skin damage
  • Pain while performing your daily activities

But thanks to these simple home remedies, you’ll be able to manage most mild cases of dry skin and chapped lips during the winter. Most people will find relief quickly after using these methods, which are safe, easy, and affordable.

January 24, 2023