Chafed skin and winter go hand in hand — at least, they do for me. And that's regardless of whether or not I cover said hands with gloves, lips with balm, and cheeks with moisturizer. Come January, no matter what I try, I'm pink, patchy, and peeling — and sometimes in a good bit of pain. (Windburn hurts, am I right?)
In the past, I've turned to store-bought lotions, medical-grade moisturizers, and prescription serums. They've worked to a greater or lesser degree, but are often quite expensive.
This year, I decided to try and make my own an at-home remedies for chapped skin. I consulted with friends who have similar skin issues and did a whole lot of dermatological research and testing. (All I have to do is walk out the door for the testing part.) So far, the results are good. Here's what I came up with.
To Heal Windburned Cheeks: Apply a Green Tea Compress
Green tea is an excellent source of healing antioxidants, which is why it can support in reducing redness and chafing in windburned cheeks. A 2017 study published in the Brazilian Society of Dermatology's scientific journal found that the use of antioxidants may be effective in treating certain dermatoses, and that administering them topically (i.e., applying them directly to your skin), allows them to work their magic without disrupting your skin's delicate balance. Bonus: The cool touch of the green tea compress will soothe your skin on contact.
Steep 2 green tea bags in 1 cup hot water for 10 minutes.
Remove teabags and, without removing water content, chill in refrigerator 30 minutes.
Dab bags on cheeks 2 minutes; rinse.
To Soothe Raw Hands: Make an Oatmeal, Banana, and Almond Oil Mask
Could plant oils and two of your favorite breakfast foods heal your hands? It might, say scientists. According to a 2018 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, plant oils may have several benefits for the skin when applied topically. Among these are strengthening the skin's barrier, healing wounds, and reducing inflammation. The study cited sesame oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, and a host of other plant oils as potential supports for remedying common skin issues.
Mash 2 tablespoons ground oatmeal (a.k.a. colloidal oatmeal), ¼ cup banana, and 1 tablespoon water.
Coat hands; rinse after 10 minutes.
To Soften Chapped Lips: Whip Up an Aloe and Cucumber Balm
Cucumbers are 96 percent water; have astringent properties; and are chock-a-block with minerals and vitamins that act as antioxidants. Meanwhile, aloe vera contains anti-inflammatory chemical compounds (called anthraquinones) that reduce swelling. Taken together, cucumbers and aloe vera can provide sweet relief to the sensitive skin on the lips when cracked, peeling, and painful.
Puree ½ cucumber; strain and discard juice.
Stir 1 tablespoon aloe vera gel into puree.
Apply to lips twice daily.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman's World.