WINTER-PROOFING YOUR SKIN
Written by: Melissa J. HertzlerOne of the most important parts of your face that gets hammered in the winter is your lips. Apply a good natural lip balm regularly (again, avoid petroleum products). There are even some good overnight lip treatments that are worth looking into. And your mother was right, don’t lick your lips. The evaporating saliva draws out the natural moisture in your lips making the situation worse.
Haven’t hit the moisturizer yet and your face has got “the flakys”? Time to exfoliate! Use gentle products which remove dry, dull skin without sucking out all the moisture in your skin cells. Avoid products with alpha hydroxy acids (including glycolic, lactic, citric and salicylic acids). These fruit/plant acids exfoliate the outer most layer of skin, and are generally much too harsh, especially to winter-sensitive skin. Again, there are much better natural alternatives. Try the following recipe which includes ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen:
Combine water and oats, and allow water to be absorbed by the oats for a few minutes. Place mixture in a blender or food processor along with remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth. Check consistency. If mixture is not spreadable enough, add more water. Spread on face, avoiding eye area. Leave mask on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with warm, and then cool, water.
Pressed for time? Use the above recipe as a facial scrub. Apply the mixture to faces using a gentle circular motion. Rinse with water.
Note: Always do a patch test before using any new product or recipe. If you are allergic to any of the ingredients, do not use the product/recipe.
The rest of your body needs moisture too, so load up. It’s best to put moisturizer on your body right after you get out of the bath or shower, so you can lock that moisture into your skin. Again, avoid petro-products. Instead, opt for a moisturizer that contains shea butter. It forms a breathable barrier on the surface of your skin, which helps lock in moisture. Some areas to concentrate on include elbows, hands and feet. For these areas, you might want to use a really intensive moisturizer or body butter. And wrap up! My heels had gotten pretty rough from wearing sandals all summer, so I needed some serious moisturizing. I rubbed our Hand and Nail Moisturizer into my heels, and had my husband wrap my feet with plastic wrap (he’s used to me doing strange things). The next morning, all of the dryness was gone.
One good thing about winter is that it’s a great time to take bubble baths! And bubble baths are a great way to moisturize. Just add 4 tablespoons of your favorite vegetable oil to your bath water and emerge with softer, smoother skin. Some good vegetable oils include avocado oil, jojoba, sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil, apricot kernel oil and even olive oil. The oil won’t mix with the water in your tub; it will lay on the surface and cling to your skin in tiny droplets. By the way, if the oil happens to cling to your tub, rinse it with apple cider vinegar.
Last, but not least, let’s not forget your hair. Between hat head, dry air, and static electricity, your locks take a beating. The first reaction is probably to condition the heck out of your hair. However, your hair can wind up looking limp and won’t do what you want it to. Conditioning your hair is fine, but don’t overdo it. Unless your hair is very dry, only apply conditioner to the ends of your hair. Also, avoid hair products which contain alcohol. And for extra daily moisturizing, try the following:
Combine the above ingredients in a small (1 oz.) spray bottle (an old hair spray trial size bottle works well). Shake well. To use: after washing hair, towel dry. Shake contents of spray bottle. Spray lightly all over hair. Comb through and style/dry as usual. Hair will not be “weighed down”, and will be softer and shinier.
So there you have it - your weapons in the war against winter dryness. But let’s not forget that winter has its fun side - skiing, hot chocolate, ice skating, the holidays, family gatherings, a crackling fire place, cuddling under a warm blanket with someone you love...
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