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Feed Your Face: Home Remedies for Dry Skin

By Dr Jessica Wu

If you’ve run out of your favorite lotion and you don’t feel like go out to pick up some more, go shopping in your kitchen instead. Chances are you’ve got some products in your pantry that can do double duty -- for your skin as well as in your staple recipes. Here are some of my favorite home remedies for dry skin:

Crisco shortening (yes, the same one you use for flaky pie crust and crispy fried chicken) is a great remedy for chapped hands and cracked elbows. When I was training as a dermatology resident years ago, one of the older supervising doctors taught us that no moisturizer was better than Crisco. It’s made of soybean and palm oils and contains no water, so it doesn’t evaporate as many body lotions do. Because it has no chemicals or fragrance, it won’t sting or irritate sensitive skin. Stay away from dogs, though, if you don't like to be licked.

Macadamia nut oil, a popular cooking oil in Australia that's used for baking, frying, and salad dressings, is a wonderful body moisturizer. It contains a high level of naturally occurring vitamin E to help soothe irritated skin. Because it’s a heavy oil, it’s great for dry arms and legs, although most people find it too greasy to use on their face. You can also try adding a spoonful to your bath.

Sweet almond oil is one of my favorite treatments for hangnails and ragged cuticles. Rub a drop or two onto each fingertip and massage it into your nails and cuticles. It’s not as heavy as olive oil or coconut oil, so you can still type and text afterward. Plus, I love the fragrance.

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