The chill is on and for many that means tight, itchy, blah skin. Winter weather can irritate even healthy skin and make current skin problems like, eczema, dandruff and psoriasis worse. Dry skin is the most common complaint as cold air lacking humidity zaps the natural oils in our skin. Add to that winter winds and you have chapping and windburn that can lead to rough, cracked skin. And it doesn’t help that indoor heating systems usually dry out the air inside our homes too, further drying our skin.
But don’t lose hope. There are several ways you can protect your skin from drying out.
First, it is important to note what kinds of body and hair soaps you are bathing with. Look for body washes and shampoos without chemicals and alcohols that can exacerbate skin dryness.
Also, on a cold night you might be tempted to soak in a hot bath, but this will cause irritated skin more harm than good. Hot water strips the oils from your skin, so be sure you should keep your showers and baths short and use lukewarm instead of hot water.
Dry skin needs moisture so using a humidifier in your home replaces the indoor moisture lost to your heating system. Then trapping as much moisture in your skin means applying moisturizers in the form of oils, creams and lotions could help ward off cracking and flaking. Avoid using anything with alcohol and chemical additives that promise a cure for dry skin.
Two natural ways to go for moisturizing dry skin is to use pure shea butter or apricot kernel oil, or lotions and creams that include them in the ingredients.
Shea butter is the name given to the rich, ivory colored butter extracted from a tree found in Africa and is commonly used in making cosmetics that promise skin moisturizing. In its purest form, it has the ability to preserve and hydrate skin, treat skin problems, protect skin from sunlight and prevent skin from aging by increasing collagen formation. It is rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties too.
Apricot kernel oil is a great source of vitamin A and omega 3 fatty acids. It is hydrating, nourishing skin protectant. It can also prevent wrinkles and give skin a natural glow.
Also remember that sun protection is just as important during the winter as it is during the warmer months. It might feel cold outside, but that doesn’t have anything to do with the strength of the sun’s ultraviolet, or UV, rays and you can still get sunburn in winter. Once again look for sun protection lotions that do not contain alcohol and chemicals that can further dry out your skin.