You've probably heard that coconut oil is a good moisturizer for parched skin, and now there's proof: A recent study published in The International Journal of Dermatology showed that, when applied topically, coconut oil decreased water loss in the skin of people who suffer from atopic dermatitis, a chronic form of dry skin. Rub a small dollop (it starts off in a solid form and melts into an oil as you blend) on skin in place of your regular lotion.
Take Out: NYX Cosmetics All Over Balm Coconut Oil ($6.49; ulta.com)
Sweet and sticky, honey is a humectant, which means it attracts water from the atmosphere and pulls it into your skin. Use it like a mask. Spread a thin layer over your face. Let sit for 10 minutes and rinse clean.
Take Out: Manuka Doctor Rejuvenating Face Mask ($85; sephora.com)
Rumor has it that Cleopatra was a fan of milk baths. It's no surprise since the dairy drink contains a skin-softening mix of proteins, fat, and lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid that gets rid of dead skin. To reap the benefits, add a few cups to a bath of warm water.
Take Out: Archipelago Milk Bubble Bath No. 29 ($29; ulta.com)
The acidic citrus fruit dissolves dry, rough skin. Cut a lemon in half and rub it on thick-skinned spots like elbows. Bonus: Lemon also has a bleaching effect and will lighten darkened elbow skin.
Take Out: Ole Henricksen Lemon Strip Flash Peel ($48; olehenricksen.com)
The cooking oil is rich in fats that are essential for healthy skin: oleic, stearic, and linoleic acids. After a shower or bath, apply it to damp skin in place of your regular body moisturizer.
Take Out: Neutrogena Body Oil ($10 for 8.5 oz.; neutrogena.com)
Similar to milk, yogurt is rich in skin-smoothing lactic acid. Plus, its probiotics (live cultures) have been shown to strengthen skin's barrier function, which allows skin to better maintain its moisture levels. Spread plain yogurt on your face and leave on for 15 minutes.
Take Out: Korres Greek Yoghurt Advanced Nourishing Sleeping Facial ($45; sephora.com)
The granular stuff makes for a great DIY face and body scrub. The grit, plus a little massaging action, loosens and sloughs off dead cells, revealing softer skin. To make your own scrub, combine three parts white or brown sugar to three parts oil (such as olive oil). Rub it onto skin using a circular motion and rinse with water.
Take Out: Burt's Bees Cranberry and Pomegranate Sugar Scrub ($13; target.com)
Your go-to breakfast food also prevents and treats dry, itchy skin. When added to a bath, oatmeal helps seal in moisture. Plus, its anti-inflammatory properties soothe any itch and irritation.
Take Out: Aveeno Soothing Bath Treatment ($7; aveeno.com)
The orange squash is ripe with fruit enzymes and acids that get rid of flaky, dead skin. Pumpkin might only be in season in the fall, but the canned stuff will do the trick year-round. To make your own pumpkin peel, spread a thin layer on your skin and let sit for five to 10 minutes before rinsing.
Take Out: Peter Thomas Roth Clinical Peel & Reveal Dermal Refresher ($58; ulta.com)
Chock-full of essential fatty acids, the soft green fruit is super moisturizing for skin. Plus, it makes a great base for a mask. Mash up half an avocado, add a couple of tablespoons of honey, and spread the mix on skin. Rinse after 10 to 15 minutes.
Take Out: Tonymoly I'm Real Avocado Mask Sheet Nutrition ($3; urbanoutfitters.com)