DIY: Dry skin remedy

By Ellie Rulon-Miller

As you may already have noticed on your face, hands and legs, dry skin season (formerly known as “winter”) is upon us. Its arrival is feared by many – people who may not have the cash flow for a decent moisturizer to help their now scaly, flaky skin recover from the damage of cold winter days. My family gets it bad every year, particularly my younger brother, who used to wake up in the morning with his knuckles chapped and bleeding. This, of course, was before he found a moisturizer that worked for him.

Like a lot of girls, I have standards when it comes to the products I use, but especially during the colder months. My entire exterior suffers from dryness, from my hair to my legs. While I don’t bleed from my dry skin like my brother did, it still causes an inordinate amount of pain.

Last winter, I invested in a small tube of my favorite moisturizer: Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. It’s the only lotion I have used on my face that actually works. However, it cost $12.50 for a little bitty tube of it, and so, I am discouraged. As a college student, I can’t afford to be spending that much money on such a small amount of product.

I decided to try my hand at homemade moisturizer. I scoured all of my usual DIY sources in books and on the Internet for the simplest, cheapest recipe. I wanted to be able to spend less than $15 on enough supplies to make an amount of lotion that would last me through the winter.

What you may not know about dry skin is, if you have it, you are more susceptible to infection and illness. Crackly skin opens up a million doors on your body that let in bacteria and can get you sick. It also, being flu season, is especially important, not only to wash your hands and maintain hygiene, but also to moisturize daily; surprisingly enough, your skin gets dehydrated when you shower and wash your hands.

After researching for a couple of hours online and finding nothing that I could do without having to order a type of wax of which I had never heard, I started looking in a book that one of my best friends gave me as a birthday gift last year: Mark Montano’s “Big Ass Book of Crafts.” It was there that I found a simple, two-ingredient recipe for DIY moisturizer which, after several days of testing, I can completely vouch for.

You will need to buy a plain, unscented body lotion (available at any craft store), virgin or extra virgin olive oil (at the grocery store), a small vial of whatever scented drops you want (also at any craft store) and, if you don’t already have it, a container to put your finished lotion in.

Making this product took about five minutes. All you have to do is mix one cup of unscented body lotion with a quarter cup of olive oil and add between 10 and 15 drops of your scent. The olive oil is what does the moisturizing. According to Web MD, healthy skin has a certain amount of lipids, which decreases when your skin is dry. The olive oil, which contains fat, replaces the lost lipids and helps to lock in moisture.

While this moisturizer works fantastically on arms and legs, I do not suggest that you use a lot of it on your face simply because it contains oil, which is not your face’s friend when poured on in large amounts. Don’t worry about it too much, though; olive oil has been commonly used as a moisturizer in some cultures ever since its inception, and a lot of people swear by it as their sole moisturizing product.

If you don’t intend to spend massive amounts of money on small amounts of moisturizing products this winter, try this recipe or search for another online. There are also a lot of recipes for DIY shampoos and conditioners made of common pantry items for those who prefer all natural products. Good luck and godspeed to you and your skin this winter.

Ellie Rulon-Miller can be reached at [email protected]