Time to break out the down jackets and winter skincare! Do you feel like you are constantly re-applying lotion to your dry skin during the winter? I’d like to introduce you to a few ways you can cut down on the use of lotion as well as actually provide your skin some real relief during the upcoming months. First, let’s take a look into why our skin might be dry in the first place.
Why Do We have Dry Skin During Colder Months?
Simply put, the air has less moisture in it during the colder months than the warmer months. This means that when your skin comes into contact with cold, dry air, the moisture on the top layers will evaporate more quickly than it might during the warmer portions of the year.
In addition, we are constantly blasting ourselves with hot hair in order to stay warm. Hot air directly on the skin will essentially have the same effect as dry air - it will suck out all of the moisture left in the skin.
A combination of both of these things can result in some red, flaky, or even cracking dry winter skin.
Know The Difference Between “Dryness” and Bigger Issues
If you are experiencing chronic (year round or worse than usual) dryness, redness, itchiness, and/or rashes, there may be a larger issue to examine. Many people with psoriasis or eczema confuse their irritated skin with seasonal dryness or redness.
In a brief explanation, psoriasis is a common skin condition in which new skin cells form much more rapidly than usual. As a result, sufferers can experience thick patches of dry, red, itchy skin, which can become bumpy and painfully inflamed as well.
The word “eczema” actually refers to many possible skin conditions, which are are fairly similar. Most commonly, skin becomes irritated due to allergens in the body or others that it physically comes into contact with. This results in patches of rashes, dryness, flakiness, bumps, and irritation.
How to Treat it Naturally
The first thing you can do to relieve some uncomfortable winter skin, is learn your skin type. Of course, not every person on the planet fits into one category. Yet, simply examining the way your skin behaves throughout the year can give you miles of insight about which treatments are best for your skin.
For example, does your skin produce extra oil to compensate for the dryness, does it flare up with redness and irritation, or does it crack along common dry areas around the body? Each of these can be treated with different natural methods. Here are a few natural ingredients and their benefits on dry winter skin.
- Ground almonds, salt, pineapple, mango, papaya etc: Each of these items is an exfoliant of some kind and exfoliating before moisturizing is extremely important. Imagine your skin like an unfinished wood table. If you try to put a stain on top of paint, dust, or an uneven surface, you won’t get the result that you want. The same goes for your skin. When you are putting moisturiser on top of dull, dead skin you might not see any results. Once you remove the layer of dry skin, the ingredients can properly do their job.
Ground almonds can be used to gently exfoliate those flaky, dry areas around the body. The same goes for salt except it can be used as a stronger or gentler exfoliant when needed. Use coarse sea salt for a serious scrub or use fine sea salt for a soft scrub. You can also use salt or sugar in the shower or bath to warm up the crystals, which will provide an easy exfoliate as well.
However, if your skin is very sensitive and cannot handle scratchiness or strong exfoliants, fresh fruit is a great way to get the job done. Pineapple, papaya, and mango are all great examples of fruits that contain powerful enzymes which will break down dead skin without the need for scrubbing.
It’s up to you how much you want to exfoliate. Some may decide to scrub one per week or a couple times per month. Too much exfoliation can irritate the skin and begin to scratch healthy layers of skin, so always use in moderation.
- Shea butter, cocoa butter, and other rich moisturizers: If you find your skin in a constant state of dryness and panic, a thick moisturizer can provide soothing relief as well as a protective layer against the elements. It will also keep the skin silky smooth and soft all year long.
- Jojoba oil, almond oil, and avocado oil: If your skin suffers from occasional dryness and irritation, something a little closer to the natural oil of our body might do the trick. Jojoba and almond oil are all a little lighter on the skin and will absorb more quickly with less of an oily or thick feeling left on the skin, if any. Avocado oil is a bit thicker.
- Lavender, chamomile, and rose oil: Each of these ingredients are quite soothing and calming when used on red or irritated skin. They are all excellent at helping the skin balance itself and regulate the production of natural oils in our skin. Rose in particular, can help hold in moisture after it is added to the skin. Although, remember that straight essential oils can be quite concentrated. So, these will be most effective when added to a moisture routine. A couple of drops in into your favorite moisturizer will help you to see the best results.
- Tea tree, honey (or agave if you’re vegan), and aloe: each of these ingredients is naturally antiseptic and as a result, can help the skin heal quite well. If you have small cracks on the ends of your fingers or on the bottom of your feet, add a couple of drops of any of these ingredients to your choice of moisturizer to disinfect the skin and help it repair itself. As an added bonus, honey is a humectant, which means it actually stays on the skin and draws in moisture from the air. Local honey can even help with seasonal sickness and allergies and It will help your skin stay supple all day long.
These remedies are meant for those who need slight help with winter dryness on the skin. It is not meant as a replacement for medicinal help. If you have any serious concerns about your skin please go visit your physician. Any skin with rashes, large cracks, irritated bumps etc. needs to be examined by a professional. If you’re not sure if your skin falls under the psoriasis or eczema category, it never hurts to ask a doctor just to have the peace of mind.
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