Health & Wellness

How to treat dry hands, cracked lips, itchy arms and other winter skin problems

Even if you're not dealing with blizzard conditions, the winter can take a hard toll on your skin. The season's dry, frigid weather often leaves skin itchy and dehydrated.

Dermatologist Debra Wattenberg paid TODAY a visit Friday to provide some easy home remedies with ingredients you can find in your pantry. Here are some tricks to help revive your skin and leave some of the most common trouble spots soft and supple:

Dry hands and cuticles: Give hands a short soak in warm water and then apply a thin film of olive oil. Wrap your hands in plastic wrap before slipping them into a pair of cotton gloves, which will help provide some warmth to help your hands soak in the oil.

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Using cotton gloves after applying olive oil to your hands will keep them soft.

Cracked lips: “Lips dry out because they don’t have a lot of oil in them," Wattenberg said. People also tend to lick their lips, drying them out additionally, she said.

Wattenberg's remedy for the problem is a sweet one: Take a teaspoon each of honey and coconut oil and mix it with a quarter-teaspoon of sugar. Use the resulting scrub to exfoliate your lips. Apply a layer of Vaseline after rinsing off the scrub.

Dry hair: People tend to wash their hair too frequently, Wattenberg said. That, along with blow drying, curling irons and other heat-based styling tools, leave hair dry and over-processed. The solution? Pour coconut oil into your hands and apply it directly to the hair and scalp. Then wrap your head in plastic wrap and cover it with a towel.

Split ends: If your hair is severely dry and full of split ends, Wattenberg suggests creating a hair mask. Mix two egg whites with ripe avocado. Apply it to your hair and leave it on for 15 minutes.

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Hydrate dry winter hair by directly applying coconut oil to it.

“The avocado is high in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and those products will hydrate the hair and make it shiny,” she said. Wattenberg suggests washing your hair out twice to make sure everything has been rinsed out completely.

Itchy arms, limbs and torso: To effectively hydrate the skin, you need to slough off the dead cells first before applying a moisturizer. That can be done through a homemade exfoliator. Mix ¼ cup of coconut oil with ½ cup of brown sugar into a scrub that can be applied in the bath or shower. Then apply straight coconut oil as a moisturizer.

Dry, inflamed patches or eczema: Create a soothing pack by adding a teaspoon each of honey and olive oil to ¼ cup of oatmeal. Mix the paste with about 2-3 tablespoons of hot water and apply it directly to the troubled dry spot and let it sit for several minutes before rinsing it off.

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