Winter is here and so is the Arctic air. In Minnesota we have been dealing with sub-zero temperatures for what feels like a lifetime! With cold weather comes dry air and dry air equals tight, dry, itchy skin that keeps me reaching for lotion, salves and other moisturizers at all times of the day (and night)! Winter weather can also make dry-prone areas of our bodies crack or even bleed (elbows, knees, knuckles and heels). Fortunately, I have a few tips and tricks that can help you survive winter with silky, smooth, supple skin!
- Our bodies are made up of 90% water and dry skin can be a sign of dehydration. Drink as much filtered water throughout the day as you can and put a glass of it on your nightstand to sip on throughout the night.
- Eat a diet full of hydrating fruits and vegetables: watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit, cantaloupe, pineapple, mango, raspberries, apple, cherries, cucumber, lettuce, zucchini, celery, cabbage, eggplant, cauliflower, broccoli, and spinach are just an example of the rainbow of foods you can enjoy that will not only keep your body healthy but your skin glowing!
- Avoid skin products that contain alcohol or have astringent properties. Antibacterial soap and harsh laundry detergent can also dry out and irritate your skin so it is best to avoid them.
- Moisturize the air with a humidifier. Many newer homes come with a whole-house system humidifier so make sure to put it to good use during the cold months. But for those of us who live in a house that has radiators keeping the air moisturized can seem like a never ending battle! We put pots of water on all our radiators and have a humidifier in the bedroom – make sure to refill them every day (you will be shocked at how quickly they dry up).
- There are great supplements that can help keep your skin soft: vitamins A, C, E and B-complex are all great options! Vitamin A rebuilds healthy skin cells which can help slough off dull, dead, dry skin more quickly and is also great for anti-aging. Vitamin C helps your body produce collagen (which also produces more moisture). Collagen is what gives your skin elasticity and leaves it looking supple and youthful! Vitamin E is an excellent antioxidant that can help neutralize the effects of pollution, smoke, dust and dirt and can leave your skin feeling dry and dull. Finally, Vitamin B boosts blood circulation and can help give you a healthy glow!
- Exfoliate! I like to do this in the shower with a natural sugar scrub but you can also use a pumice stone or dry brush. Make sure to pay special attention to areas prone to dead skin build-up: elbows and heels.
With all that said, even the best precautions cannot fully protect your skin from extreme winter weather. This is why it is important to treat your skin to an all-natural moisturizing routine. Using natural products that contain royal jelly, honey, milk and vitamin E will not only help your skin survive the winter but can actually improve its texture and appearance and leave it looking supple, youthful and glowing! Here is what I keep in my moisturizing arsenal:
- Body moisturizer, something that is light, non-greasy and contains vitamin E
- High-quality natural lip balm
- Facial moisturizer that contains royal jelly, this also helps with the appearance of wrinkles
- Hand cream that contains milk and honey, this is very soothing for dry, chapped hands
- Cuticle salve
- Foot salve and 100% cotton socks, slather it on your feet before you go to bed and lock in moisture by sleeping in socks
- A hydrating conditioner, I have naturally curly hair which means I have dry hair and it gets especially bad in harsh weather
I also like to carry travel size lotions, creams, balms and salves with me so I can reapply as needed throughout the day. As I mentioned above, it is important to avoid using products that have a lot of color and scent additives or that contain harsh preservatives. Remember, our skin is porous and anything you put on it will be absorbed into your bloodstream. I like to think of this as a benefit: I will add a few drops of lavender, rose, peppermint or tea tree oil to my all-natural moisturizers for added aromatherapy. Many essential oils contain anti-bacterial properties which is an awesome way to help ward off cold and flu bugs! Just remember, moisturized skin is healthy skin and healthy skin is youthful skin! So why not swing through a natural beauty store and create your own moisturizing arsenal? Your skin will thank you! Stay warm everyone!