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.
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.
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.