Acne scars, scabby skin and calluses are unforgiving ailments, which is why they’re so hard to ignore. They will keep bugging you until you address the underlying problem. Understandable, you’re hesitant to try lasers or potent ointments. But dealing with these skin problems doesn’t mean you have to take extreme measures. In fact, many can be healed and soothed naturally, with products that are free of harsh chemicals.
When dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, sees patients with callused, rough, abused and damaged skin, the cause can be anything from normal wear and tear to dryness. “With age, you need to take care of dry, calloused skin. Otherwise it will continue to get worse,” says Dr. Tanzi, founder and director of Capital Laser & Skin Care in Maryland and associate clinical professor in the Department of Dermatology at George Washington University Medical Center.
She advises those suffering from skin problems — especially those with sensitive skin — to steer clear of skincare products that contain parabens, fragrances, sulfates and dyes, because they can cause further irritation. And if you’re dealing with a relentless skin condition that doesn’t clear up in four to six weeks with use of natural products, Dr. Tanzi suggests seeing a dermatologist to discuss another course of treatment.
Here, she breaks down some of the most common skin problems and offers natural home remedies for dry, scabbed skin, acne scars, calluses and more.
Skin problem: Scabbed skin
Natural remedy: Aquaphor healing ointment works well to protect the skin but allows oxygen to flow through, as well.
Skin problem: Acne scars
Natural remedy: At-home microneedling rollers can be helpful to stimulate collagen without chemicals. The small metal spikes on the roller make tiny punctures in your skin that increase the amount of skincare products your skin absorbs, thereby stimulating healing and cell regeneration and diminishing the appearance of acne scars.
Skin problem: Scars from trauma or injury
Natural remedy: Aquaphor is also beneficial for scars. Or, Mederma Advanced Scar Gel, which contains onion extract, can help improve scar appearance with daily application. A randomized, controlled study by The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology showed that onion extract can significantly improve scar appearance when used once daily.
Skin problem: Poison ivy
Natural remedy: A diluted milk bath can help soothe the itchy, blistering rash caused by poison ivy. Simply add a quart of milk to a tub full of water. If this doesn’t help, you could try a homeopathic ointment. Otherwise, a prescription-based cortisone cream may be needed.
Skin problem: Peeling skin
Natural remedy: Whatever you do, don’t pick at the skin. Take a tepid milk bath. The milk proteins soothe the skin, while lactic acids help to dissolve dead skin cells.
Skin problem: Rash
Natural remedy: Pure aloe vera gel has been used for thousands of years due to its antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Plus, its cooling effect helps to naturally soothe the skin.
Skin problem: Sunburn
Natural remedy: Once again, a milk bath is the best natural remedy for sunburn. This will soothe irritated skin. After the bath, apply pure aloe vera gel to help reduce inflammation. A bad sunburn requires a lot of hydration, as well, so drink plenty of water. In cases of severe sunburn and sun poisoning, a trip to the hospital may be necessary to start intravenous hydration.
Skin problem: Foot corns and calluses
Natural remedy: Apply a cream containing at least 30 percent urea to the corns and calluses. Urea helps to exfoliate dead skin and hydrate the deeper skin layers.