by Felicia Brower
As winter approaches, temperatures begin to drop and dreaded winter dryness starts to strike. A lack of humidity results in a lack of moisture, which can leave skin feeling itchy and uncomfortable. Instead of slathering skin with potentially harmful chemicals, try some changes of habit and natural remedies.
A few preventive measures can go a long way. Here are a few ways to keep skin smooth and prevent dryness from prevailing:
- Cover up. Wind, sun and low humidity are all contributing factors to dry skin. Protect extremities by covering them with gloves and scarves and by wearing sunscreen and moisturizing lotions.
- Turn down the temperature. Hot water mixed with soap strips the epidermis of its valuable oils. Taking shorter lukewarm or cool showers helps keep those oils intact and maintains desired moisture levels. Less exposure to heat also helps, so the warmer the water, the shorter the shower should be.
- Pay attention to soaps. Soap can have ingredients that leave skin cracked and dry. Switch to a milder soap to avoid skin damage.
- Use lotion while skin is still damp. Using lotions and balms while skin is still a little wet is the best way to retain moisture and prevent skin from drying.
- Pay attention to your products. Pay special attention to the ingredients in everything that touches the skin. Alcohol is a popular ingredient, but it is likely to dry out the skin. Look at the ingredients list or check the product on The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database (ewg.org/skindeep) to see if there are potentially harmful ingredients.
Creating custom, natural products using household items is another option for dry skin relief. There is a plethora of face and body mask recipes online that will keep dry skin at bay. Scrubs also help keep skin smooth by removing troublesome dead skin. Several can be made with a simple combination of sugar, salt and essential oils. When applied with small circular motions, the dead layer is removed, leaving skin soft and rejuvenated.
The following natural products are good for retaining moisture and keeping skin feeling supple:
- Organic honey – local, organic honey works wonders on dry skin and chapped lips.
- Coconut oil – coconut oil has large amounts of the antioxidant vitamin E and helps reduce harmful, drying toxins and pesticides from being absorbed into the skin.
- Avocado oil – avocado oil helps relieve dry and itchy skin. It can be deeply absorbed into the skin, making it an effective moisturizer.
- Olive Oil – olive oil has a lot of skin benefits. In addition to helping with dry cuticles, hands and elbows, it also soothes and conditions dry skin all over the body.
There are many natural products that will help dry skin. LUSH has a wonderful all natural product that is great for dry skin, dry patches and other winter ailments. Ultra Balm is a moisturizing, all-purpose balm made with plant waxes. It contains no petroleum jelly and no mineral oils – just natural, healing goodness. Andalou Naturals boasts products that are made by combining natural, organic and fair-trade ingredients with fruit stem cell science. Their Lavender Shea Firming Body Butter is rich in omegas and provides a luxurious moisturizing experience.
This winter beat dry skin without using harsh chemicals. Try to prevent it with a few changing habits, but if it happens, use natural, time-tested remedies and products that work.
Felicia Brower is a freelance writer based in Columbus. Connect at Felicia-Brower.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.