Dr. Bronner’s Winter Skin Remedies

Dr. Bronner’s Winter Skin Remedies

Chapped cheeks, chapped chin, chapped knuckles, chapped skin. Oh, yes. It must be winter. I hate chapped skin. I hate how it snags smooth fabrics. I hate how it cracks open at the slightest bump. I hate how it snags on my beloved microfiber cleaning cloths. It’s akin to fingernails on a chalkboard for me.

When my oldest became a toddler, his cheeks were so constantly chapped and flaming red in winter that I thought he might scar. My friend’s toddler had such a ring of chapped skin around his mouth, it looked like he had tried to put on lipstick and missed. The hands on my 9-year old feel like 40 grit sandpaper. My personal battles are against cracked hands, a red face, and overall itchiness. Dr. Bronner’s can remedy all of these scenarios with a variety of products: the lip balms, the magic body balms, the coconut oil, and the lotions.

Cracked and raw skin

For cracked skin anywhere, there is nothing like the Organic Lip Balms. Did you catch that? The lip balm. I recommend the lip balm over the Unscented Organic Magic Balm for getting into cracked skin anywhere on the body—especially when the cracks are so dry and hardened that they just won’t come together to heal. For me that’s my knuckles. The lip balm is thicker than the magic balm, so it gets into the cracks and stays put to soften and nourish the skin. Go with the unscented Naked Lip Balm if you can. However, if all you have is a scented one (Peppermint, Orange Ginger, or Lemon Lime), you’ll still like the results. This lip balm remedy is good day or night, but you’ll definitely notice the most dramatic results overnight. Put on a good coat right before bed. Keep it by your bedside for just that purpose.

The worst thing for cracked skin is anything with alcohol. Alcohol is very common in lotions because it emulsifies oils, but on cracks it will burn like nobody’s business.

Chapped hands

The best treatment for sandpaper hands is an overnighter: rub in a generous amount of Unscented Organic Magic Balm and wear cotton gloves or socks over them to bed. Another good option is a full squirt of the lotion with a good hand massage.

Dry, red, or itchy faces

Quick and easy: an overnight mask of the Organic Coconut Oil. This treatment feels heavenly. I absolutely love it. My skin in the morning feels fabulous—no redness, no flakes, no tightness, no itchiness. Just right. I don’t recommend coconut oil during the day because it takes a while to absorb and you can’t put make-up on over it, if that’s relevant to you. (A word on the “but I can’t put oil on my face” complaint: Oil is what moisturizes our skin. It just needs to be the right kind of oil.)

During the day, the Dr. B’s Organic Lotion is a perfect light moisturizer.

Overall itchiness and ashy-ness

My personal favorite again is the coconut oil, but the lotion works great, as well. The coconut oil is like a spa treatment for me. A little bit of the oil goes a long way, so it doesn’t take much for the whole body. (I say that about a lot of Dr. B’s products.)

Dry skin prevention

Now that you’ve got everything all healed up, grab yourself a bottle of the Organic Lotion. This is the best thing to prevent all of the above. It goes on fast and easy. It absorbs quickly.  It provides a great protection against wind and dry air. Just two squirts will cover the whole body, so one bottle will last you quite a while. It is best to put it on right out of the shower, while the skin is still moist. Also, keep a bottle by your sink and apply a small pea-sized amount after hand washing.

So now you’re saying, “I have all of the above conditions, but buying all of these products at once would strain my budget.” If I had to make-do with just one, I would go with the Organic Coconut Oil. It can be applied broadly, but also works for acute problems because it doesn’t have any essential oils or alcohol to burn cracks.  After that, I can’t decide what I would buy. The other three are really great, so pick them up as you can.

The way I cleanse my skin also changes based on dryness levels because different soaps provide differing levels of moisture. Through the seasons, I cycle through the range of Dr. Bronner’s soaps, as I describe in this article: Warding Off Dry Skin with Dr. Bronner’s Soaps.

Further reading

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Bonnie says:

I’m going to Tanzania and was looking for a bug repellant with the Eucalyptus oil. I bought the eucalyptus pure castile soap to mix my own, but not sure what I should mix with it. Would like some advice here.

Moses says:

Hi Lisa. I have read online that coconut oil is comedogenic (4 on a 1-5 scale). I am just concerned using the soap and lotion combo on my face will lead to acne (whiteheads in particular). Thanks.

Audrey says:

Hello! I noticed there is not an unscented baby lotion whihc was disspointing – are all the lotions safe for babies even with the added oils? THANKS!!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Nadine – The coconut oil has not been out of stock on our end. Let me know if you’d like me to track down some in your area, or you can order from the Dr. Bronner’s webstore,

Hi Mia – Yes, they are very similar, although in different proportions. You could probably make-do and use one of them for the other. If you try it, let me know how it works out for you.

All the best,

Mia says:

I noticed that the ingredients in the lotion are very similar to the ingredients in the hair creme – could they maybe be used interchangeably? Or is there a specific ingredient in one that can’t be used for the other purpose?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Dee – Yes, the coconut oil is unrefined.

Hi Julie – I’ve heard great results with the Tea Tree castile soap in alleviating rosacea. The coconut oil is an excellent, “just right” moisturizer as well.

All the best,

Julie says:

I should clarify my question-any one use a particular product that kept the Rosacea under control without needing meds? My face is doing well with Dr Bronner’s products but still need my prescription med to prevent flare ups

Julie says:

I have Rosacea and I am wondering if you have heard or seen anyone use a specific product of Dr Bronner’s successfully? I am using the Castille soap on my face and love it. I use the peppermint moisturizer afterwards. Unfortunately, if I skip the prescribed oral medication, the Rosacea flares right back up.
I would love to try the coconut oil too on face and body but I am trying to be careful with how much I change and how quickly. Any ideas?

Michele says:

I’ve just started using the coconut oil as makeup remover. It removes all my makeup, even the waterproof mascara, and doesn’t hurt if I get it in my eyes! Plus, it moisturizers my skin until I remove it (with Dr B’s Castile soap, of course!). I lovelovelove it!!

dee says:

I read somewhere that unrefined coconut oil is safe to use as a lube for intercourse? As is grape seed oil. Is you virgin oil unrefined?

Shelly says:

I LOVE the body balm with gloves trick. I work overnights and I am always cold there, lol, so I have fingerless gloves that a wear after slathering body balm over my dry hands…and I can still type. I also do it to my feet and socks when I sleep. 🙂

Janet says:

LOVE my latest Dr B purchases – the lip and body balms. Only moments after applying body balm after a shower, my skin feels soft, clean, completely non-greasy and, for lack of a better word, just more COMFORTABLE. Even the size is great – I can tuck this credit card-sized balm around in any pocket and it’s always available. The lip balm is so good I usually just need to apply a little after meals in the Winter [will need less in warm weather, I’m sure]. Other lip care products seemed to dissipate so much quicker – especially in Winter – I was re-applying sometimes 10-20 times each day. Thanks everyone at Dr Bronners for making such wonderful, useful, healthy, green and ethical products!

Janet W says:

Hello Lisa, Thank you getting back to me.I love the lip balm and body balm. I noticed that the Lavender scented products have the perfect amount of scent. I have a rose scented and Lavender scented bars of the Lavender seems to be more evident. I love rose and Lavender scent. my two favorites. I also love the peppermint.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Janet – Thanks for sharing how well the Dr. Bronner’s products worked on your hair! I am able to use just 1 capful, and I have fairly thick, long hair. And about the toothpaste, I can’t say anything specific, but stay tuned!

All the best,

Janet Woodville says:

Hello Lisa, I used the pump soap on my hair and then used the apple cider vinegar rinse that I made then I used a little of my hair creme. my hair turned out nice. not frizz or static. I ordered the rinse your family makes because I can get better nutrition for my hair. my hair sure needs it.I also ordered a peppermint hair creme and the peppermint pump soap. For the citrus rinse, will one capful work or should I use 2 capfuls? my hair has thinned out a lot thanks to my diabetes and way to much stress. I also have a request, an idea. making a toothpaste. I’m sure it sell like hotcakes. I haven’t tryed the magic soap for tooth brushing. not sure what this would be like. Making a toothpaste containing the wonderful oils that you all have would be wonderful. and Baking soda would remove plaque.I’m sure your families company could make the best toothpaste in the world.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Pony – Fabulous! I am so glad to hear it. It really is a wonder-worker.

All the best,

Pony Maurice says:

I started using the Magic all in One coconut oil on my face day and night and within one week I see amazing results. I am 53 and have some wrinkles and age spots and in one week everything is smoother, lines and spots fading away and it feels so soft. Love it! Good Bye Clarins and Dior!

Holly says:

I use coconut oil daily and slather it all over my body after a shower and again on my face and hands at bed time. However, the skin on my shins are still really dry and cracked. They get itchy too. They feel great after i put coconut oil on but by the next morning they’re back to looking dry and cracked and itchy. Am I using coconut oil too much? What’s going on here and how to I get my shins looking silky smooth?
Thanks, Holly

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Holly- I have two thoughts so far. First, as awesome as coconut oil is, there are more intense moisturizers and your shins might just need to take it up a notch. One is the Dr. Bronners body balm or something with cocoa butter in it (although that smells so yummy, I need to eat chocolate). Another factor, may be that the oil is sitting on top of the skin and needs to be massaged in. You may be doing this already which is why I didn’t mention this first. However, if not, try taking some time to work the oil into your skin, particularly the skin on your legs. It will definitely moisturize deeper.

All the best,

Karena says:

Coconut oil is awesome – for skin and hair. People worry about putting oil on their skin – especially their faces – but as you said, “It just needs to be the right kind of oil”. Believe it or not, castor oil (google “oil cleansing method”) is amazing – I mix it with the coconut oil, as well as olive and/or grapeseed oils (rather than full-strength cleansing, I use it diluted with other oils as a leave-on moisturizer – it absorbs quickly). I have noticed a definite decrease in wrinkles, fading of dark spots, the end of dry skin, and the vanishing of acne.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hey, All! I’m sorry for my extreme delay here. I’m glad to hear all the good thoughts!

Heather – Yes, ethanol is alcohol (ours is derived from non-GMO corn). It is a stabilizer and a preservative which means it holds all the oils together without separating, allowing us to incorporate even more oils in the lotions. I definitely understand what you’re saying though, when your skin is already stressed and cracked. To get your skin back on track, go with the balm which is more intense anyways. Then use the lotion more for a preventative.

Catherine – The coconut oil is my new love, too! So, the coconut meat, under the hard shell, has a husk. If this is left on through the drying/pressing process, it is called whole kernel oil. If this husk is removed, then we have white kernel. There is not a whole lot of difference in the outcome – nutritionally they are the same and they can be used for the same things. However, the whole kernel has a stronger coconutty scent. It’s more a matter of personal preference.

All the best,

Shauna says:

I’m so excited to have found your blog. I will be getting the lip balm for sure.

Allison says:

I love coconut oil and Dr. Bronner’s soap! Found your blog through ecokaren. Thanks for the tips!

Catherine says:

Hello Lisa… I am a big fan of coconut oil as well. Could you please explain the difference in the two types you offer, white or whole kernel? Thanks!

Heather R. says:

Question: in reading the ingredients, I spotted organic ethanol as the fourth ingredient in the Peppermint Organic lotion. Isn’t ethanol alcohol? Just curious, because when my hands get reeealllly bad, ANY alcohol is a disaster on them….thanks.

Bess Fogle says:

I use Coconut Oil in the shower after I wash my hair and bathe. I use it in my hair at night and wash it again in the morning and it really helps my hair and scalp and it makes my hair actually shiny. I also run Coconut oil over my body after I wash. it is the only thing that has helped with the cold weather and space heaters doing a number to my skin this year. I just let the jar warm up in the shower while i am bathing and it melts just enough that I can scoop it out of the jar.

Stephanie says:

Great post, Lisa! I love the body lotion on my arms and legs, but have been unsuccessful using it on my hands in the past (too greasy yet also kind of drying in a way) Anyway, I tried using only a pea-sized amount as you suggested and it worked perfectly! Made my hands soft without feeling greasy. I guess I was using too much before. Also, I know this post is about winter skin care, but I must say that the peppermint lotion is a lifesaver for me in the summer. It soothes itchy bug bites, repels bugs yet smells great, and keeps me feeling icy cool on the hottest days. Love it! In the winter I use the Lavender Coconut for daily moisturizing, but I use more like 4 pumps instead of 2 because my skin soaks it up so fast. I wish Dr. B’s offered the lotions in bulk and travel sizes– it’s really great stuff!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Kaylen – Maybe someday Dr. B’s will have gloves but that’s a bit outside our realm of expertise at the moment. They’re pretty widely available, though. I have that exact same situation with my kids. I practically had to pin my 9 year old down to de-sandpaper his hands. At least the first time. After that he realized it helped.

Hi Jill – Great tip for the feet! I’ll be trying that myself.

Hi Judith – I’m glad you’re enjoying your order. You are absolutely right about the Citrus Rinse on broken skin. Lemon juice is a key ingredient so it would definitley sting any cuts.

All the best,

Judith says:

Hi Lisa! I just received the above products a couple of weeks ago and I love them! They are very effective on winter skin conditions. I find the lip balm doesn’t have to be used as much as the petrolatum based stuff (that I have now pitched). I got the whole kernel unrefined coconut oil- smells heavenly! Also, wanted to mention that when using the Shikakai conditioning citrus hair rinse to be careful if you have any broken skin as it will sting. Enjoy your blog and Dr Bronner’s products so much – Thank You!

Jill says:

I have the lip balm (peppermint as well as orange ginger) and the lotion (peppermint as well as orange lavender) and love them all! I also use the coconut oil on my feet at night under clean socks when I am ready to plop on the couch for a movie before bedtime. This has become a cure for my horribly dry winter feet. I have not come across the body balm yet. I should have ordered it with my Sal Suds. Next time!

Kaylen says:

I initially mistook the picture of gloves + body balm as Dr. Bronner branded cotton gloves. My mom always used penaten cream + cotton gloves on my chapped hands when I was a kid. Now I use whatever natural moisturizer I have handy. The cotton gloves are key, though.

I learned the lip balm on chapped skin trick when I was out and had nothing else available. It works great, although of course a bigger stick would work better.

Kids are tricky because some of them love having lotion put on and some act like you’re trying to do something horrible to them…

About Lisa Bronner

My grandfather was Dr. Bronner, my family makes soap, and I share ways to use it plus tips on greener living.

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Organic Magic Balms Cheat Sheet

Organic Magic Balms – To know them is to love them!