10 Top Desi Remedies for Dry Skin

Let’s explore the 10 nourishing ingredients that you can use for Desi remedies to address your dry skin symptoms and restore moisture.

10 Top Desi Remedies for Dry Skin - f

Your skin will feel instantly nourished.

If you suffer from dry and flaky skin during winter, you’re certainly not alone.

With the cold season at its peak, most of us, if not all of us, suffer from dryness and flakiness.

Whether your skin tends to lean on the drier or the oilier side, during the winter months the harsh weather and heaters can wreak havoc on your delicate barrier.

Dry skin woes may be an issue for some people all year long.

For others, dry skin woes come and go with seasonal changes.

Our skin’s natural barrier functions to retain hydration and protect the skin from irritants, but harsh winds can rob our skin of hydration, weakening the barrier.

When the skin’s barrier function is impaired, the skin loses its elasticity and appears dry, rough, and flaky.

An impaired skin barrier means that the barrier’s ability to hold onto natural moisture by preventing transepidermal water loss is compromised.

Well, the good news is that you don’t have to look any further than your kitchen to bid farewell to your dry skin woes.

Many of the ingredients listed in this article may already be in your pantry or refrigerator.

Ahead, we mention 10 ingredients that can be quick and easy fixes to heal dry skin this winter without having to spend a fortune.

Aloe Vera

10 Top Desi Remedies for Dry SkinAloe vera has been touted as a miracle ingredient due to its healing and soothing properties.

This ingredient does so many things; it soothes sunburns, combats breakouts, and heals minor wounds.

In addition, aloe vera is a very popular remedy to heal dry skin.

This botanical ingredient is widely used in the subcontinent in place of a moisturiser, and for good reasons.

Aloe vera gel is 99% water. The remainder contains a variety of vitamins, minerals and sugars.

The extraordinarily high water content helps to add hydration to the skin, while the mucopolysaccharide sugars are humectants that help to retain hydration.

You can use either store-bought aloe vera gel or extract aloe vera from its leaves if you have an aloe vera plant at home.

Here are a few Desi remedies for dry skin that use aloe vera as the star ingredient.

Use Aloe Vera in a Face Mask

While you can use plain aloe gel alone as a face mask, combining aloe vera with other hydrating ingredients can amp up your skincare game.

To use plain aloe gel as a face mask, apply it all over your face in a thick layer.

Leave it on for 20-30 minutes and then rinse off or even use it as an overnight face mask and rinse it off the next morning.

To make an ultra-hydrating face pack with aloe vera, combine 1 tablespoon of honey and a few drops of glycerin with aloe vera gel.

You can blend these ingredients to create a homogenous mask.

Apply it on a damp face and leave it on for about 30 minutes and then rinse off.

Use it as a Makeup Primer

Aloe vera gel can work well as a face primer especially if you have combination skin.

Using it as a face primer can not only add hydration to your skin to prevent any dry patches but it can also control sebum production in your oily areas such as the T-zone.

Just take a nice dollop of aloe vera gel and massage it onto damp skin.

Wait for a few minutes till it gets absorbed before applying makeup.

Massaging your face with cool aloe vera gel can help reduce any puffiness and tone the skin.

Use Aloe as a Serum

Aloe gel may even be used before your moisturiser as a hydrating serum.

To achieve a serum-like watery/lightweight consistency, put your aloe vera gel in your grinder or blender and blend away.

You can then mix in some rosewater to lighten the consistency before transferring this mixture into a serum bottle or any container you prefer/have at hand.


10 Top Desi Remedies for Dry SkinThe key nutrients of yoghurt help moisturise the skin, brighten it, and help tired-looking skin bounce back to life.

Yoghurt is filled with probiotics aka good bacteria that protect and replenish our skin’s lipid barrier and the microbiome that function to defend our skin.

Yoghurt also has lactic acid that helps to gently exfoliate the flaky skin away, revealing smooth and bright skin.

The benefits of yoghurt for the skin can be validated by a 2011 study.

According to the study, yoghurt helps to increase moisture in the skin, decrease trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL), and brighten in addition to enhancing skin elasticity.

Here are a few ways you can use this fermented dairy product for your face.

Use Yoghurt as a Face Mask

We can confidently say that only applying plain yoghurt on the face as a wash-off face mask is a great way to keep your skin hydrated, glowing, fresh, and supple.

A great tip is to use full-fat yoghurt as it can be nourishing for your dry skin.

Just apply a thick layer of yoghurt over your face and let your skin soak up the goodness for a good 15-20 minutes before washing it off.

Use Yoghurt with Honey

The enzyme activity and glycolic acid found in honey combined with the lactic acid content found in yoghurt is the exfoliator duo that leaves your skin smooth and bright.

To use honey and yoghurt together in a face pack, you have to take two teaspoons of yoghurt in a mixing bowl and mix in a small teaspoon of honey.

Apply the mask all over your face in a thick even layer and let it sit for 20 minutes, then massage in circular motions and rinse off.

Use Yoghurt with Avocado

Avocados are an excellent source of many nutrients, including vitamins.

Biotin is a B complex vitamin found in avocados that are known to relieve dryness of the skin when applied.

Yoghurt and avocado in combination can be ultra-moisturizing for your dry skin.

Use Yoghurt with Turmeric

Turmeric can help brighten skin while yoghurt strengthens the microbiome barrier.

Together, they both even out skin tone to impart a dewy radiance.

To make a yoghurt and turmeric mask, you’ll need about 3 tablespoons of yoghurt and a teaspoon of turmeric, mix them in a bowl and apply the mask for about 30 minutes before rinsing off.


10 Top Desi Remedies for Dry SkinThe natural sugars in honey allow for its humectant properties that enable it to bind and hold onto water in the skin.

The natural enzyme activity and glycolic acid in honey enable it to gently exfoliate the skin.

Thus, using honey for your skin can result in well-hydrated, soft and smooth skin that is naturally radiant.

The long list of benefits honey can provide to our skin goes on: it promotes healing, it is antibacterial, it reduces inflammation and so on.

All of this makes honey a perfect choice to treat dry, dehydrated and sensitive skin.

Use Honey in a DIY Serum

Using honey in a DIY face serum can boost your skincare game.

Since honey has a thick consistency, you’ll need to thin it out by adding some in this DIY concoction till it reaches the consistency you prefer.

To make this hydrating serum, you’ll need 2 tablespoons of honey, a tablespoon of glycerin, 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel and water.

Mix all these ingredients in a bowl and shift this ultra-hydrating concoction to a serum bottle.

You can use 3-4 drops of this serum every other night after you’ve washed your face.

Make an Antimicrobial Face Mask

To reap the benefits of both honey and turmeric’s potent antioxidant properties, mix three teaspoons of raw honey with one teaspoon of turmeric to create a powerful antioxidant face mask.

Apply on the face and leave it on for 8-10 minutes, then rinse it with lukewarm water.


10 Top Desi Remedies for Dry SkinMilk has a bunch of ingredients to nourish the skin, including B-Vitamins, lactic acid and calcium.

This nutrient-dense dairy product may not only help to add much-needed moisture to dry skin, but it also softens dead skin, smoothens rough skin and soothes inflammation.

Milk may perform as a gentle exfoliant for even the most sensitive skin, this is due to its lactic acid content.

Taking your skin from dry and dull to bright and supple can be as easy as using milk as the hydrating step in your skincare routine.

While you can use any milk of choice, whether it be plant or animal-based, goat milk is known to be the most beneficial when it comes to your skin.

Using Milk as a Cleanser

Dryness, flakiness, sensitivity and irritation may all be signs of a weakened skin barrier, which can be the result of harsh winter weather.

If you feel like you’re suffering from a weakened skin barrier, you must nourish your skin and stay away from harsh stripping cleansers.

Using a natural, gentle ingredient such as milk or oatmeal can be a great way to cleanse your face during this time.

Cleansing your face with milk can be as simple as soaking a cotton pad with some milk and swiping it across your face.

Using Milk as a Hydrating Toner

Toners have been used in the past to be pretty drying formulas, loaded with drying alcohols and witch hazel since they were meant to remove excess sebum back then.

Modern toners, however, are loaded with hydrating and nourishing ingredients.

This is why milk can be used much like a modern-day nourishing toner.

To use milk as a toner, you can either just take some milk in the palm of your hand and pat it onto your face or swipe your face with a cotton pad soaked in some milk.

Your skin will feel instantly nourished.

Using Milk in a DIY Face Cream

The granddaughter of Noor Jehan, Natasha who’s a Pakistani makeup artist and skincare enthusiast shared a DIY face cream recipe in a YouTube video.

The ingredients used in the cream can nourish and brighten dull and dehydrated skin.

To make it, you’ll need 3 tablespoons of white rice cooked in 1 cup of water.

Add a teaspoon of rose water to the cooked rice along with 2 tablespoons of milk and 1 tablespoon of aloe vera and grind all the ingredients together.

Facial Oils

10 Top Desi Remedies for Dry SkinThere’s a facial oil for every skin type, whether it’s combination, oily, or acne-prone.

Using facial oil is one of the best things you can do for your skin, no matter what skin type you have.

Our skin feels dry when the skin’s lipids get stripped away, during this time oils can help replenish our skin’s natural lipids.

Rather than providing hydration, oils help to seal in hydration into the skin, preventing it from escaping.

As a general rule of thumb, oils with high linoleic fatty acid are likely to suit oilier skin type while oils high in oleic acid content are likely to benefit drier skin type.

For oily skin, an oil low in oleic fatty acid and high in linoleic fatty acid can help balance sebum production.

For dry skin, an oil rich in oleic fatty acid can replenish the skin barrier and seal in hydration.

Using a Facial Oil to Massage your Face

Doing a facial oil massage is a simple and effective way of nudging your skin towards an uplift, replenishing your skin barrier, as well therapeutic self-care.

To give yourself a face massage, you’ll need a suitable facial, in enough amount to allow you to massage easily without tugging or dragging the skin.

Some recommended facial oils include rosehip seed oil, jojoba oil, argan oil, sweet almond oil and sea buckthorn oil.

For cheek lifting massage, roll closed fists up the sides of your cheeks and hold for a few seconds.

Using a Facial Oil to Seal in your Skincare

Facial oil can be used as the last step of your skincare routine, that is, right after your moisturiser.

This will allow your moisturiser to absorb into your skin while your face oil seals and adds an extra layer of nourishment.

Since moisturisers contain two phases, an oil phase and a water phase, they help your skin retain moisture, whereas oils help seal that moisture in.


10 Top Desi Remedies for Dry SkinSometimes your standard moisturiser just doesn’t provide enough hydration during the colder months.

If your skin doesn’t feel hydrated enough even after using a moisturiser, then adding rose water to your routine may be a good idea.

Rosewater has incredible hydrating qualities in addition to anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help soothe dry skin.

Rosewater is an astringent, which cleanses the skin, controls excess sebum, and refines pores.

Although rosewater is an astringent, it is non-drying.

It hydrates without adding any oil, instead, it balances the skin’s natural oils, making it ideal for those with a combination skin type.

For those who are suffering from redness and itchiness due to extremely dry skin, rosewater can help calm down redness.

Using Rosewater as a Toner

Being an astringent with antibacterial properties, rosewater effectively removes germs, excess oil and dirt from the skin, leaving your pores refined without your skin feeling dry.

After you’ve washed your face, soak a cotton pad with rosewater and sweep it across your face.

Any leftover sebum or pollution residue that may be left on your skin will be wiped away.

Using Rosewater as a Hydrating Mist

A bottle of rosewater spray can help you refresh throughout the day.

Whenever you feel like your skin needs some hydration, just spritz rose water all over your face and let it soak in.

You can even chuck in some extra ingredients in your rosewater spray bottle to boost its skin benefits.

Some suggestions include adding about a tablespoon of aloe vera gel and a teaspoon of glycerin to enhance your skin’s hydration.

Glycerin and rosewater make the perfect duo, as rosewater hydrates and clarifies the skin while glycerin boosts hydration multiple times than rosewater alone can.

Using Rosewater as a Setting Spray

If you struggle with makeup looking cakey or powdery and don’t want to splurge on a setting spray, then you’ll be glad to know that rosewater works wonders to set your makeup.

Just spraying rose water over your face after makeup can melt your makeup into your skin, taking away the powdery finish.


10 Top Desi Remedies for Dry SkinGlycerin is what’s known as a humectant, it attracts moisture from the environment into the skin.

The best thing about glycerin is its low molecular weight, which allows it to draw hydration to the deeper layers of the skin, thus helping dehydrated skin bounce back to life.

Another great thing about glycerin is that it doesn’t clog pores, making it suitable for all skin types.

Use a Hydrating Mist

With just two simple ingredients, you can make your hydrating mist in no time.

You just need two tablespoons of rosewater and 2 drops of glycerine, add them to a bottle with a spray nozzle.

This mist can be a skin saviour for your skin not only during the colder months but all year round.

Use a DIY Glycerin Serum

With nourishing ingredients like oatmeal, honey, rosewater and of course our star ingredient glycerin, you can say hello to glowy hydrated skin.

To make a glycerin-based serum, you’ll need half a teaspoon of glycerin, a teaspoon of raw honey, 6 tablespoons of rose water, and a teaspoon of finely ground powdered oats.

Mix all these ingredients in a serum bottle.

You can use this serum every other day as long as you’re making a new batch of serum every few days and storing it in the refrigerator.

Use Glycerin to Boost your Moisturiser

If your moisturiser is not providing as much hydration as you would prefer, you can mix in a few drops of glycerin in the palm of your hand before applying your moisturiser on damp skin.

Just doing this simple trick can provide results you can see and feel.


10 Top Desi Remedies for Dry SkinOats are rich in B vitamins, and omega fatty acids including linoleic fatty acid, and beta-glucan.

Beta-glucans are strong humectants, which means they can retain water in the skin.

Cleanse using Oats

If you are suffering from very dry, irritated skin i.e, a damaged skin barrier then oats may be a good option to use in place of a cleanser.

When oats are used as a cleanser, they can help to ease the feeling of tightness while simultaneously gently clarifying your skin.

To cleanse using oats, you just need to soak up a handful of oats in a bowl with lukewarm water.

Once the water gives a milky appearance, you can go ahead and soak a cotton pad in it and gently swipe it across your face.

Make a DIY Oatmeal Scrub

Chickpea flour, besan or gram flour has long been used in India for its many benefits for the skin.

While gram flour is usually used in DIYs that helps oily skin, using gram flour in a DIY scrub to exfoliate can certainly be very helpful to alleviate dull and flaky skin as well.

Exfoliation removes dead skin cells and reveals soft, smooth, glowing skin.

To make oatmeal and gram flour scrub, mix 2-3 tablespoons of oats, 1 tablespoon of gram flour and 2 tablespoons of yoghurt.

Gently massage the mixture over your face or body in circular motions for 5-7 minutes, then rinse off.

Make a DIY Face Mask using Oats

When it is combined with ingredients like honey and yoghurt, it can reinforce the skin barrier and microbiome and improve skin texture.

Adding strawberry to the mix helps to brighten the skin due to the Vitamin C present in it.

For this mask, you’ll need ¼ cup cooked oatmeal, 2-3 tbsp plain yoghurt, 1 tbsp honey and 1 mashed strawberry.

Mix all ingredients and leave on for 10-15 minutes, then rinse with tepid water.


10 Top Desi Remedies for Dry SkinTurmeric is a spice that has been used for centuries in Indian beauty rituals.

The anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and antioxidant properties of turmeric can be attributed to a compound called curcumin.

Being a potent anti-inflammatory ingredient, it fights free radical damage to help address skin concerns such as dullness and dryness.

Free radicals are unstable molecules that are responsible for causing damage to our skin.

Keeping in view the benefits turmeric can provide for your skin, we can confidently say that turmeric is perhaps one of the hardest-working spices.

To use turmeric in DIYs, you might want to consider using Kasturi turmeric as it’s the non-staining kind.

Using Turmeric to Clarify Skin

Due to its potent antimicrobial properties, turmeric can clarify your pores well.

Take a bowl of warm water and add a pinch of turmeric to it.

Dip in a clean washcloth in this bowl and gently pat and swipe it across your face.

Using Turmeric in a DIY Mask

If you’re feeling particularly dry and dull in only certain areas of your face, you can go ahead and treat those dry areas with an easy and effective mask.

Take a bowl and add in just a pinch of turmeric,1 tsp milk, and 2 drops of facial oil and mix.

Apply this paste to the dry areas of your face and let it sit for 20 minutes before rinsing off.

Using Turmeric to make Ubtan

Ubtan is an age-old remedy used particularly by Desi brides to achieve a natural radiance, it uses a blend of ayurvedic ingredients to nourish and brighten the skin.

To make Ubtan, you’ll need ¼ cup of gram flour, 2 tablespoons of oats, 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder, and 1 teaspoon of liquorice powder.

Mix all these ingredients with yoghurt or water.

Incorporating turmeric into your diet, too, can have a beneficial effect on your body as well as your skin.

Rice Water

10 Top Desi Remedies for Dry SkinRice water is essentially the water left over after rice is soaked, washed or cooked.

Rice water is packed with amino acids, which are described as “indispensable for healthy skin” by Paula’s choice.

Among many skin-loving components of rice water, a few include B vitamins 1 to 6, Vitamin C and E.

Studies have shown the anti-ageing benefits of rice water, and anecdotal evidence suggests that rice water helps to tighten and brighten the skin and refine pores, in addition to reinforcing the health of the skin barrier.

A 2002 study by NCBI found that starchy rice water helps heal damaged skin for people with irritated skin. Vitamins B1-B6, Vitamin C and E, and amino acids.

Make a Sleeping Mask using Rice Water

Sleeping with a mask containing rice water can give rice water the time it needs to work its magic.

You’ll wake up with toned, nourished and brightened skin after using this overnight mask recipe for your complexion.

Mix 2 tablespoons aloe vera gel with 1 teaspoon of rice water in a bowl and apply it to your face in a thin, even layer.

Make sure the mask is dry when you go to sleep.

Facial Cleanser and Toner using Rice Water

You can easily incorporate rice water into your daily cleansing routine and reap its benefits.

Put rice water in a bowl and splash it on your face a few times, then go in with your regular cleanser while your skin is still damp with rice water and massage for about 60 seconds before rinsing off.

To use rice water as a toner, put a small amount of rice water on a cotton pad and gently smooth it over your face and neck as a toner.

You can also fill a small spray bottle with rice water and spray it on your face in the toner step.

Take a Rice Water Facial Steam

Taking a rice water facial steam is a great way to incorporate rice water into your routine while enjoying the warmth of steam during cold winter days.

The rice water will be absorbed into your pores, giving your skin the hydration and plumpness it needs.

Further, the rice water tends to soften and brighten dull and dry skin.

To take a rice water facial steam, either warm up some already made rice water over a stove or make a fresh batch on the stove.

Stand over the bowl containing hot rice water with your face about a foot away from the steam.

Drape a towel over your head and shoulders to create a steam tent.

For five minutes, let the rice water steam hit your face.

Desi remedies certainly do work, whether it’s just to attain a pre-party glow or to alleviate concerns such as dryness or excessive sebum production.

However, we believe that remedies should not replace a solid skincare routine.

While tried-and-tested remedies can be done now and then, it’s wiser to rely on lab-formulated concoctions to help achieve long-term results.

A beauty writer who wants to write beauty content that educates women who want real, forthright answers to their questions. Her motto is 'Beauty without expression is boring' by Ralph Wado Emerson.

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