Article courtesy of our friends at bloomacious
When I first moved from California to the East Coast, people were keen to give me lots of tips about getting through Winter out here. How to turn off the water taps to keep them from freezing, how to drive on icy roads, hiring a snow plow for the driveway. One thing that really caught me by surprise was the crazy dry air that seems to whoosh up and sap every moisture cell in your body in a single gust. If there was ever a climate that can dramatically age a person it’s the wicked Connecticut Winter.
After a fair amount of research, trial and error, intermittent dry itchy skin and some overindulgence’s, I’ve managed through a couple years here. But this season I thought I’d add some insight to my list. Here’s what we’ve discovered, and recommend for a good winter skincare routine:
1) Create a moisture rich barrier that is applied just after bathing or washing. It’s important that the product not sit on the skin and suffocate it, as something heavy like petroleum jelly, vegetable shortening or cooking oils can (which many people actually turn to in desperation believe it or not).
For body, this means a very generous application of body cream rich in oils and emollient. One of my favorites is Treat’s double churned Organic Sweet Cream in Pomegranate Acai Berry ($17). Loaded with antioxidants and soothing cream, the formula is hearty enough to last a good part of the day.
For face, a hard working face potion such as Osmotics Anti-Radical Age Defense Barrier Longevity Complex will do the trick. This is a great skin defense system that offers free radical protection with a patented BRT™ Barrier Repair Technology that literally eliminates dry skin. ($125).
2) Don’t skimp on the sunscreen – even though it’s Winter, sun damage can still happen, particularly if there’s snow on the ground.
3) Keep bath water at a body friendly temperature – this is one that I’ve had to learn the hard way. An afternoon outside in frigid air has made me come in and virtually par-boil my skin under a too hot shower. According to WebMD- hot water breaks down the lipids in skin, and contributes to itchiness and dry patches. They recommend a lukewarm bath with baking soda or oatmeal for a short amount of time – which sounds like a true buzz-kill to those of us freezing to the bone on these 0 degree wind-chill days, but is pretty good advise.
4) Crank up the Humidifier! Mine has become my constant companion when inside. Purchased from CVS (their store brand) for $14, I sprinkle in a bit of sea salt to get a good amount of steam going and keep it filled 24/7. It’s marvelous for banishing static electricity, and dried out anything. The plants are even happier!
5) Turn down the thermostat at night- even on that electric blankie – you may not realize that bedding down under 6 quilts and cranking up the heat can turn your bed into an all-night sweat box. If you wake up thirsty as a desert dog in the morning this could be the cause. Sweating and reheating can really irritate skin and disrupt sleep. Turn down the room temp to around 60 degrees or lower, and keep a glass of water at your bedside.
6) Dress in layers, with natural fibers such as cotton or wool next to skin. Again, sweating and overheating can really irritate and spark a nasty itch/scratch cycle. Make sure you have a natural moisture wicking fabric closest to you to protect from this.
7) Exfoliate, but don’t torment your skin. When skin is irritated from dry winds, and/or too much indoor heat, it’s not the best time to heap on more insults in the form of intense acids and peels. A nourishing scrub made from nice things like sugar, coffee and hazelnut oil will be a welcome treat, rather than torture test. Make them in your kitchen from the day’s coffee grounds and a teaspoon or two from the sugar bowl. For face, turn to a gentle scrub made by sprinkling a teaspoon of sugar over a tablespoon of plain yogurt, and follow with a nice soothing and regenerating treatment like Osmotics Cream Extreme Barrier Repair ($75).
8) Supplement from the inside with Flax Seed Oil. I’ve been hooked on this stuff for years. I use it instead of butter on veggies, and salads. Loaded with essential fatty acids, it accelerates healing and is a natural anti-inflammatory agent. If you’re not feeling the flavor, it comes in convenient pills. If you’re still not loving it, experiment with other great oils such as hazelnut, walnut, and avocado oils. Available at Whole Foods and health food stores.
9) Moisturize lips with non addictive lip balms such as Pharmacopia’s Herbal Lip Elixir $8. For a little color try Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer $5.
10) Cover your face! Some of the most delicate skin on your body should not be pointed at a freezing 40 mile an hour wind without protection. We love our creams but they can only go so far. This one takes a bit of planning in order to avoid looking like you’re pulling a heist at your local bank branch. A cowl / neck warmer that can be pulled up over the face without having to maneuver a lot of yardage is a great choice. We love CrazyJaneKnits $25(shown in photo).
11) Lighten up on the dieting a little. There’s a reason little ducks get through Winter sitting out on a frozen pond. They have a helpful layer of fat to work as a buffer against the elements. We’re not saying dive into the dessert bar at the next party, or even the cheese plate, but you may want to make sure you have a good amount of healthy fats in your diet in the way of salmon, eggs, nuts, oils. These will help protect your entire body from the elements and help lubricate skin. Also, now more than ever, focus on skin loving foods that boost skin health, such as leafy greens, and our favorite, Sweet Potatoes.
12) Exercise inside. Get your blood and all those nutrients flowing to your skin with a quick and healthy yoga routine or 30 minutes on a treadmill. Working out indoors is less stressful than braving the cold winds. Keeping the cells of your skin open in the warm and moist indoors so they can excrete toxins will keep it lubricated and cleansed. Not that we have anything against skiing, but racing down a hill at 60 miles per hour is not skin friendly no matter how much cream you slather on.
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12 fool-proof ways to get rid of dry, blotchy skin. Bring on the snow!