Do you suffer from extremely dry skin in the winter? I have suffered this plight since my early 20s. As soon as the furnace kicked on for the first time in the fall, I knew I was in for months of tight, dry skin. My hands would crack and bleed around my knuckles, and I tried remedy after remedy over the years, none providing a permanent fix. Now that I know a little more about how our bodies work and the effect chemicals in our everyday products have, I no longer have this problem. Here are some tips I would recommend if you are suffering from this as well:
1. Keep yourself hydrated.
One of my problems was that I never knew how much water I was supposed to be taking in, or how absolutely necessary it is to stay hydrated. A helpful tip is to make sure you drink 1 oz for every 2 lbs you weigh. (If you weigh 150 lbs, you should be drinking 75 oz of water per day). This is so very important for your body to function properly, as every organ of your body requires water to do its job. Think about it – our bodies are made up of 60% water for a reason. Failing to take in enough fluids keeps your organs from functioning properly, including your skin. If you have trouble taking in enough water there are phone apps you can download that track how much you’ve taken in and remind you to drink throughout the day. Also, if you’re not accustomed to drinking water, consider adding some lemon juice to it, or drinking herbal teas. Also – cut down on caffeinated beverages, and don’t count them in the number of fluids you take in. Caffeine is dehydrating. A dietician once told me that you lose as many fluids as you take in when drinking coffee. It was disheartening to hear, as I am a coffee lover, but I limit myself to two cups in the morning, and just don’t count them toward the number of fluids I take in during the day. It can be done! 🙂
2. Keep your home hydrated.
This may sound strange, but what I’m referring to is using a humidifier. Your furnace dries out the air in your home, and dry air will suck the moisture right out of everything it comes into contact with, including your skin. I have two in my home, a larger one for the main part of the house and a small one in my bedroom. I don’t use them in the summer, only during the winter months when the furnace is running. In the winter I try to keep the humidity above 40%. Not only does this make the air in your home a lot less drying in the winter, but it will make your home feel warmer (consider how much hotter a humid day feels than a dry day of the same temperature). It has other benefits as well, such as reducing static and will help to keep wood furniture, doors, floors, etc in your home from drying out and cracking.
3. Use a natural soap.
Natural soaps contain glycerin which moisturizes your skin and doesn’t have the added harsh chemicals that commercial soaps contain. Commercial soap companies strip their soap of glycerin and sell it to companies that produce moisturizers. This requires consumers to need lots of lotions and moisturizers to balance the damage their soap is creating. Natural soap cleanses gently, and doesn’t require you to use near the amount of moisturizer. This was such a simple change that made a huge difference for me. I did not realize how much damage commercial soaps were doing until I switched. I don’t use near the amount of moisturizers as I used to, and when I do, I also use natural moisturizers, which leads us to my next tip!
4. Use natural moisturizers.
Natural moisturizers are ones made without chemicals, like our lotion bars. Made only of whole ingredients with names you can recognize, you know you are not putting harsh chemicals on your skin. If you’ve never used a lotion bar, think of it as a lip balm, but for your whole body. They work best right out of the shower after you’ve towel-dried, but are still slightly damp. The cocoa and shea butter provide deep moisture while the beeswax seals in the moisture for all day softness. I do this two or three times per week in the winter to maintain soft, moisturized skin.
There are other natural ways to moisturize, including natural body butter and bath oils. Just make sure you are reading labels and avoid lotions or moisturizers that list water as one of their main ingredients and contain preservatives and chemicals.
5. Exfoliate regularly.
When my skin would dry, I would just slather on a thick layer of moisturizer. However, I didn’t stop to think dry, flaky skin means there is a layer of dead skin cells that my moisturizer had to get through to attempt any good. Exfoliating before applying your moisturizer helps to ensure that your natural moisturizer is penetrating live skin cells, working faster and more efficiently at bringing your skin back to a healthy glow.
6. Proper Bathing.
It may sound good on a cold winter day to take a long hot shower, but hot water actually draws the moisture from your skin. Your skin (and hair) will be much better off if you lower your water temp and take warm showers or baths. In fact, I recommend pampering yourself once a week with a warm, relaxing bath using one of our beauty bombs. These bath bombs contain epsom salts, which help ease sore, tense muscles, and sweet almond and olive oils that moisturize your skin. Your skin will thank you!