Fight Winter Dry Skin...and Win
By Arvette Hammar
Fall is in the air and winter is around the corner. Cooler weather can lead to dry damaged skin if the proper steps aren't taken to protect delicate skin. As the weather turns cooler we tend to layer on clothing and skin is covered up and for the most part left to fend for itself. We turn on our furnaces and light our fireplaces which suck the moisture from our skin and homes. Cold windy weather strips our skin of its moisture as well. Oh and those hot showers and baths we use to take the chill off – dry our skin out too. So, while we're working on a new winter moisturizer line – here are a few tips to keeping your skin moisturized and healthy this winter.
Drink lots of fluids. Keeping your insides hydrated will take you a long way in keeping your skin from drying out. We tend to not be as thirsty in the winter as the warmer seasons of the year, but your skin loses moisture even when you’re not sweating and needs to be kept hydrated. Remember to avoid caffeinated drinks which can be diuretics making you lose more fluids.
Hot Showers and Baths
Limit hot showers and baths to 10 minutes. Although those hot baths and showers feel glorious on a cold morning or chilly evening, hot water can strip your skin of its natural oils. Instead go for a warm short shower or bath and gently pat the skin dry.
Soaps & Detergents
Harsh detergent soaps will normally strip your skin of its natural oils, but even overuse of natural soaps can be drying in the winter. Use soaps with emollients like Coco Butter, Shea Butter and Castor Oil to help skin retain moisture. Limit the frequent application of soap to the areas that really need it (the “hot” spots) – application of water will clean most areas adequately (yes, I know this goes against everything we have ever been taught).
Avoid products with synthetic perfumes, deodorants and antibacterial ingredients as well as skincare products containing alcohol.
Soak in a lukewarm bath with an essential oil blends that balance out oil production and are anti-inflammatory. Lavender, geranium, rose, frankincense, myrrh, sandalwood and neroli all have skin regenerative properties. Chamomile is anti-inflammatory for cracked and damaged skin. Apply a few drops of your favorite blend with a scoop of colloidal oatmeal (better in cloth bag or tea ball for easy removal) to soothe and soften dry itchy skin. Try our ITCH RELIEF Bath Soaks
Exfoliating removes dry skin and allows moisturizers to penetrate and skin cells to regenerate. Salt and sugar scrubs are excellent 1x – 2x per week or loofah and other in bath “scrubbers” are great for an one stop bathing/exfoliating experience every day.
Use moisturizers often, especially after hand washing and bathing. Whether you’re a naturalist or not – use something. Products with low water content and higher oil content will last longer and protect your skin more. Don’t forget your lips, face, ears and feet.
Body Butters are excellent for dry skin as their main ingredients are usually thick rich moisturizing butters like Shea, Mango, Coco and oils like Olive, Almond and Coconut. Apply to especially dry areas before going to bed and cover with socks or mittens for overnight improvement.
UV rays are still present in cooler temperatures – so apply at least a SPF 30 sunscreen before heading outdoors.
Don’t forget your face
Your face and lips are not protected from winter elements with clothing, so protect them with sunscreen, moisturizers and lip balms to keep them hydrated.
Turn Down Your Thermostat
Dry heat robs your skin of it moisture – Turn down your thermostat at night before going to sleep to limit the drying effects while you sleep.
Use a Humidifier
Add a humidifier to your home to put back moisture in the winter months. There are many models and sizes out there to fit your needs including cool mist and warm mist humidifiers. Humidifiers can take you a long way in reducing winter dry skin and sinus issues. Another low tech method is to fill a sink or tub full of water – but if you're in California’s current drought conditions – that would probably not be the best use of resources.
*Remember to clean humidifiers often to limit bacterial growth
Wear breathable clothing, sweat trapped against you skin under clothing can make you itch.
You know that dry itchy skin you get that makes you want to use any available wall or door for a scratching post? Even your pets are looking at you with sympathy as you scratch away. What about when it really gets bad and your skin begins to crack and bleed? Funny enough, when we moved to a higher elevation, my skin became really dry. My usual formulas, were just not working – then the light bulb went off as I watched a cord of wood my husband split dry and crack almost overnight.
In the Sierra Foothills at 4000 ft. elevation, the humidity is less than ½ of what Sacramento is. Less humidity and drier air was drawing the moisture out of that firewood and my skin. Much like winter; when we live in a cycle of our homes being heated by furnaces, fireplaces and hot showers - my skin was being robbed of all its moisture making it itchy, dry and plain uncomfortable.
My soap, body butters and bath soaks/salts have all been developed for one reason alone – to provide skincare products that utilize the most beneficial natural ingredients and limit harmful chemical additives; to leave skin looking and feeling good. It is my goal to develop a new product line specifically for those of us living at higher elevations with winter skincare needs all year long. Until that time…here are a few skincare tips.
Moisturize Moisturize Moisturize
Use high emollient moisturizers with limited water. Water in ingredients quickly evaporates from your skin at higher elevations. Body Butters like Mango Butter, Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter are excellent. Apply moisturizers at night and frequently throughout the day.
Fluids evaporate quickly from your body at higher elevations, so drink plenty of non-caffeinated fluids even when you don't feel thirsty. Your body is 70% water, keep those cells nice and hydrated.
Limit the Squeak
Limit the use of harsh cleansers on your body and face that strip your skin of its natural oils. Go with natural limited ingredient soaps with healthy oils like Almond Oil, Avocado Oil and Hemp Oil. Being squeaky clean is not necessarily a good thing.
About Our Blog
Join me in my quest for natural alternatives in beauty and healthy living. I am passionate about my craft and strive to continuously educate myself and others on natural ways to care for ourselves and our families. I am thankful for the ability to educate others and formulate bath and body products to enhance one's overall well being.