6 Natural Remedies for Your Skin

These holistic skin solutions can help you heal—and get you glowing, too.

Photo by Jamie Chung

Tired of lotions and potions with dozens of unpronounceable ingredients? Not to worry: we asked top natural health experts to recommend natural products that are good for your skin—and you. Here are their simple and surprisingly effective picks.

Important: some supplements can interfere with prescription and OTC medications or may not be safe if you’re pregnant, nursing, or have a medical condition. Check with your physician or pharmacist before taking them.


Arnica ointment may help bruises heal faster. It also reduces inflammation and pain.

Dose: Apply several times daily.


In addition to helping bruises clear up faster, this marigold-derived extract has antibacterial properties that reduce the risk of infection in open wounds.

Dose: Apply a cream, ointment, or gel with calendula several times daily.


Applied topically, honey is antibacterial and promotes wound healing.

Dose: Buy commercially prepared honey compresses, or make your own by pasting 1/2 ounce honey onto a gauze pad and applying it to the affected area. Change the dressing twice a day.


Oatmeal can relieve itchy rashes, like poison ivy and eczema, and the sting of sunburn. “Oats contain a group of compounds called avenanthramides, which block the release of histamine, dramatically reducing redness and itching,” says Tieraona Low Dog, M.D., the author of Healthy at Home: Get Well and Stay Well Without Prescriptions.

Dose: Make a sachet by mixing 1 cup rolled oats with 1/4 cup baking soda and filling the foot from an old pair of panty hose. Tie the sachet at the end and drop it in a warm bath. Soak your body for 20 to 30 minutes. Repeat as needed.

Tamanu Oil

Native to the South Pacific islands, this oil is high in anti-inflammatory fatty acids and may spur the growth of new, healthier tissue. Chris Kilham, founder of Medicine Hunter, Inc., and author of Tales From the Medicine Trail: Tracking Down the Health Secrets of Shamans, Herbalists, Mystics, Yogis and Other Healers, uses it to treat acne, bug bites, stretch marks, sunburns, warts, and minor wounds.

Dose: One hundred percent tamanu oil is available at health-food stores. Dilute it by adding a few drops to your own lotion, or massage it directly into skin. Apply several times daily. Avoid if you're pregnant or nursing.

Tea-Tree Oil

Made from the leaves of a tree found on the northeast coast of Australia, this oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties that help heal acne, athlete's foot, nail funguses, and dandruff, according to a 2006 Clinical Microbiology study.

Dose: Dab a drop of oil directly on your skin several times daily. The 2006 study focused on gels containing 5 percent tea-tree oil, but Low Dog recommends using 25 percent to treat tough conditions, like athlete’s foot.