Is there a natural remedy for dry skin? Hands in particular? I'm no-poo/soap for a couple of months now hoping for improvement but haven't really noticed a difference. I have bursts of cold water during my showers and try to wash my hands with no soap as much as possible.
I have tried commercial creams in the past but they're full of chemicals and only make my hands fatty/oily. I'm not aiming for super soft babybutt skin but its nice to be able to flip the page of a book on occasion.
I'm not a fan of putting things on your skin to fix dry skin. I stand by a high saturated fat diet as being good for your skin, since your skin cells are basically made out of saturated fat. I know all of my dry skin issues slowly cleared up as I switched to Paleo. And my Dad's keeps getting worse and worse as he gets more fat phobic and goes deeper into the low-fat world. He blames it on the dry air, but he lives in humid PA and I live at 8000 ft in dry CO where a humid day is 25% humidity.
Try using a little coconut oil on dry skin. I had some dry itchy patches on my arms that have disappeared since using it, and my hands are softer too.
Apple Cider Vinegar. I'm totally not kidding. Coconut oil did nothing for me. Apple cider vinegar cured my hands that were so dry they were cracked and bleeding. Pour some on to a cotton ball, wipe on hands, let dry. I think best to do it before bed so it stays on for at least a few hours.
A note of caution: if you have open wounds, it will sting a little bit... but only for a few seconds.
Buy an Aloe Vera plant from your local green house for like $5. That one plant will yield more active ingredient over its life span than 50 bottles of lotion.
Also consider the water in your household. Is it high in bleach or is it filtered? Do you bathe in tap water and wash your hands in tap water? There are remedies for this.
The cheapest option is aloe vera. I use it on my face and it keeps my skin healthy, shiny and vibrant.
Any natural one-ingredient oil should do the trick. I'd try coconut oil.
I sometimes use castor oil on my face and it's great, but it doesn't get absorbed quickly. Use it before reading only if you like your books greasy. Wait, that might be a plus if you're reading something like Eat Fat, Lose Fat.
I suffered from dry hands for a year or two. After awhile I began to suspect it had something to do with my consumption of caffeine, especially coffee.
Around when I turned 25 or so, I noticed that after I had been drinking coffee every day for a week, I experienced a set of negative side effects - irritability, anxiety, craving for sweets - and dry hands. I'd then stop, the side effects would go away - then a couple weeks later I couldn't resist and would have a coffee in the morning. A week or so of daily coffees after that, the side effects would kick back in and I'd quit again.
I think I've got some odd type of metabolism that cannot deal with caffeine very well for prolonged periods.
I third the coconut oil for your hands. For the face, I make an avocado mask with a little olive oil mixed in. This also makes my hands soft after applying and leaving it sit for a few minutes. Try exfoliating first, so that dead skin won't get in the way of moisturizing the new. I cut a lemon in half and dip it into sugar for this. :) Another one I use is a coffee and cocoa mask-- lets me reuse coffee grounds (rather than compost them) and smells/tastes amazing. Add cream (or coconut milk) and some cocoa and let it sit on your skin for 10 minutes (or until crispy). Dampen the area, and then scrub. Makes your skin super soft, and rejuvenates it with a little caffeine.
*edit: I just also wanted to add that yogurt is great for sloughing off dead skin, and is moisturizing. Add a little honey and make a paste. Smooth it on the area you want to moisturize and exfoliate, and let it sit for a few minutes.
I make lotion bars from one part beeswax, one part olive oil, and one part rendered beef fat. Salves can be made by reducing the beeswax to 1/4 and increasing the liquid oil to 2/4. Simply melt the beeswax and beef fat in a double boiler, then stir in the liquid oil(s). When well mixed, pour into any handy plastic mold, such as a cream cheese container. When cooled, pop the lotion bar out of the container. I put salves into glass jars.
Coconut oil is high in salicylates, and some find it causes skin reactions.
I also use jojoba oil, castor oil, and straight beef fat, for single-fat skin use.