Are There Good Home Remedies For Dry Skin?

In our office we see a number of patients for excessively dry skin, a condition known as dermatitis, who are understandably exasperated by the condition and seeking relief.  By the time they book an appointment at Skin Solutions Dermatology they have usually tried a number of over the counter options or even household remedies.  I recently read a research study on the effect of household oils on dermatitis and they are definitely not all created equal – here is what you should know before trying household oils on your skin.  


Causes of dry irritated skin can be numerous, ranging from immune system dysfunction, skin infection, exposure to food, airborne, or contact allergens, or a combination of any of these.  As well as other potential skin irritants like poison ivy, perfumes, jewelry containing nickel, various cleaning products, and some preservatives in many creams and lotions.  Knowing what the cause of your dermatitis will definitely be a helpful step in treating the condition.


Usually dermatitis can be controlled with the combination of medication and educating patients on how to better take care of their skin after treatment.  For long term skin health, and to help prevent future flair-ups, a good skincare routine and moisturization are definitely key.  A growing number of patients are seeking “all natural” remedies, and though more research is needed on the subject, there are some oils that seem to potentially help the condition.  These can be suggested as an alternative for patients looking for options that are perceived as lower risk or satisfy those with steroid phobia.


Though it seems intuitive that olive oil, a healthy anti-inflammatory oil for salad dressings and cooler cooking temperatures, would be beneficial for use on dry skin, it was shown that it can actually worsen the condition!  The good news is, recent research suggests we can safely recommend virgin coconut oil and high linoleate sunflower seed oil as soothing, natural, alternatives.  Though it is important to note that these may not work as well as petrolatum or cream products – we hope it will assist those looking to address the condition with a   more natural approach.  At this point we are still lacking quality evidence on exactly how effective or ineffective these home remedies may be – but it seems patients declining medical treatment may experience some relieve with the use of the proper coconut or sunflower seed oils.  


As always, if you or a family member are suffering from dry skin, or dermatitis, and need assistance in your treatment, please schedule an appointment at any of our 8 locations.   We are more than happy to assess the condition and come up with a mutually agreed upon treatment plan.  We have offices in NashvilleBrentwoodFranklinColumbiaPulaskiHendersonvilleMt. Juliet, and Smyrna for your convenience.


Source:  'Use of “natural” oils for moisturization: Review of olive, coconut, and sunflower seed oil'




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Dr Pena

About The Author

Dr. Pena is a Board-Certified Medical Dermatologist, Mohs skin cancer surgeon, and cosmetic dermatologist. Her mission is to educate the diverse patient populations she serves, and their communities, on the importance of skin care in decreasing the risk of skin cancer and minimizing the early signs of aging. She founded Skin Solutions Dermatology with numerous clinics in Nashville, Tennessee and surrounding Middle Tennessee.

Dr. Julia Pena, MD

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