The majority of our dry skin problems occur in the fall and winter months. And no wonder.
The use of forced artificial heat, fireplaces and cold weather all take its toll on our skin, stripping it of much-needed moisture. Do you have itchiness, wrinkles and lines, or flaky skin?
If you do, usually these symptoms quickly disappear once you get to the root of the problem and address it the right way. If left untreated, dry skin can lead to cracks in your skin that can bleed, and boy do they hurt. But the great thing is that dry skin can be easily treated.
What is a proven natural cure for dry skin? How do you keep your skin moisturized and supple in spite of our environment? If your answer is to slather on Vaseline or take more baths, you are in for a surprise.
Our skin is very intelligent and knows that it must be our first line of defense against the elements. It is our “blanket of protection,” you might say.
We are different from the animals in that our skin is essentially “naked” but an animal’s skin is covered with fur, quills, feathers or other material. So when we are exposed to harsh conditions that rob us of much-needed moisture, we don’t have an extra layer of protection – just our “naked” skin.
So how does our skin protect us and what can we do for dry skin?
It Starts In The Morning
During the colder weather, do you find it difficult to get out of your warm, comforting bed into the cold morning air? Once you finally convince yourself that you simply must get up and can’t stay another minute in bed, you may feel that a very hot shower or hot bath will help you warm up and feel better. That may be true, but scorching showers and baths are terrible for your skin. In fact, they produce dry skin because they strip your skin of much-needed moisture. So opt for warm, not hot, showers. What type of soap do you use? If it is harsh, it will make your skin dry too.
Once you get out of the shower, or bath, don’t take care of your face and neglect the rest of your body. In order to help prevent or remedy dry skin, you must lock in the moisture that was created by your shower or bath. Apply a good, natural oil or other natural product to trap the water on your skin to keep it soft and feeling great.
What kind of moisturizer? Remember, your skin will absorb whatever you put on it, so choose your moisturizer carefully. You want one that is loaded with vitamins and minerals and no harmful chemicals. Below are three of my favorite moisturizers.
1. Organic Heavy Cream – Milk cream is excellent for the skin. It contains lactic acid that helps exfoliate dry skin. Heavy milk cream is very soothing and will help with your skin’s pH level. If you don’t use animal products, use coconut cream instead.
Here’s what you do:
Mix about 1/2 teaspoon of honey and a tablespoon of heavy milk cream and combine. You can put a couple of drops of an essential oil for further therapeutic benefits. I love lavender and a citrus essential oil such as orange or grapefruit.
Apply this cream to your face and body (just make a larger batch if you are using it on your entire body), and leave on for about 10 – 15 minutes and then take a shower. If you are just doing your face, rinse off with lots of warm water. Follow up with a little coconut, almond or other nut or fruit oil to lock in moisture.
2. Honey – Honey is considered one of the best all-time favorite moisturizers because it contains antioxidants, is antimicrobial, and has humectant properties. It will help to make your skin very soft and clear. For your face, forget soap, use honey instead. Manuka honey is excellent for this purpose.
Here’s what you do:
Take about a teaspoon of honey and put it on your wet face and leave for about five minutes. Then wet your fingers and massage it gently into your skin. Rinse with lots of warm water. This will not only clean your face, but it will leave it moisturized and glowing. Follow up with coconut, almond or some other organic fruit or vegetable oil.
3. Vegetable Glycerin – Glycerin is a very nice moisturizer, and I love it because it also draws moisture from the air to the skin. It is very gentle and can even be taken internally. It is made from vegetable oil. It softens and smooths the skin and doesn’t irritate it. Vegetable glycerin doesn’t have an odor or color; in fact, it is clear. It tastes sweet and resembles syrup. It is found in a host of skin and hair care products. Why not make your own luxuriant moisturizer with glycerin?
Here’s what you do:
To make a moisturizer with vegetable glycerin, add ½ c water, one or two teaspoons of vegetable glycerin and a few drops of essential oil (optional) into a spray bottle. By adding the essential oil, it will be very therapeutic and soothing for your skin.
Shake this moisturizer to blend and then spray evenly over your face and neck. Apply to your hands and feet, or anywhere you have dry skin for that matter. It is gentle, safe and very refreshing. You can even add a few drops of vegetable glycerin to your favorite moisturizer for added benefits.
Get Rid of Dry Skin During the Night
During the night, your skin needs to be moisturized. During the day, we moisturize our skin to protect us from the outside elements. At night, we should do the same to protect us from the inside elements. As I mentioned at the onset, fireplaces, forced heat, and the friction of extra clothes can take a toll on our skin, making it dry and flaky.
Want to save money? Turn off that heater, or turn it way down at night. Once I get in bed during the winter, I turn my heater off and crack the window in my bedroom about an inch. This helps to keep dry skin at bay. My family benefits because not only does a heater dry out our skin, it also dries out our nasal passages and throat.
Of course, in frigid climates, this may not be a good choice, especially if you have little ones. But cracking the window an inch makes a huge difference in the air quality. We sleep so much better too.
What About Those Hands and Feet?
If you are going to wear gloves when going outside, run warm water over your hands first, and then rub a moisturizer on them to seal in moisture. Then put on those gloves.
Just because your feet are covered in socks doesn’t mean they won’t get dry too. At night before going to bed, do the same routine as your hands – wet them in warm water, apply a natural moisturizer to lock in the moisture, and then put on socks. Yes, socks at night. Not only will they keep you toasty warm, the next morning your feet will feel and look fabulous. Don’t forget to add a moisturizer on your feet before you put on socks during the day too.
If You Want To Look Great – Exfoliate
Sometimes our dry skin needs help to remove the dead skin cells. That’s where exfoliating comes in. Exfoliating your skin will help the moisturizers to penetrate better. You don’t need to do it every day. Once a week is good.
If your skin is very sensitive and dry, be very gentle and use a very mild exfoliating agent. Something as simple as a sugar scrub will make a huge difference. Read more about it here.
What is your winter skin care routine? What have you found that works well? What didn’t work so well?