Dry skin can be caused by any number of factors. Environmental conditions, genetics and lifestyle all play an important role in determining the condition of your skin. According to the Mayo Clinic, excessive bathing and exposure to low humidity levels can also be a cause of dry skin. Fortunately, you can usually treat dry skin on your own. If you have excessively dry skin that itches, peels or flakes, you should consult a dermatologist.
Baby oil is a lightweight emollient that is made from mineral oil and usually has an added fragrance. You can use ordinary baby oil on dry skin to obtain smoother, softer and hydrated skin. According to the Mayo Clinic, baby oil can help to alleviate dry skin conditions by trapping the moisture in your skin. It is particularly effective when used as soon as you get out of the shower or bath. Make sure you do not take a shower or bath that is too hot, as this can cause further moisture loss. Just blot your skin dry using a towel, and apply the oil liberally to your skin.
Many commercially prepared moisturizers contain olive oil as an active ingredient. However, you don't need to spend a great deal of money on these products. You can use the extra-virgin olive oil that you purchase in the grocery store as a body oil. According to Paula Begoun in her book "The Complete Beauty Bible," olive oil has a beneficial effect when used as an intense moisturizer for extremely dry skin. For a nighttime treatment, apply a layer of olive oil over your regular moisturizer to get a double benefit. Olive oil will help your regular moisturizer penetrate your skin, causing increased softening and hydration.
Canola oil is an inexpensive alternative to olive oil and the more costly commercially made body oils. According to Judy Griffin in her book "Flowers That Heal," canola oil is a good source of essential fatty acids that help to nurture and soothe your skin and prevent inflammation. You can use generic canola oil--available in your grocery store--as a moisturizer to treat dry skin. To combat the smell of canola oil, you can add a few drops of an essential oil, such as lavender or rose oil, to obtain a more-pleasing aroma. You can put the oil in a spray bottle and use it as a mist over your skin when you get out of the shower or bath or whenever you need extra moisture.