Beat Winter Dry Skin
The outer layer of your skin works like a self-oiled machine, but sometimes oil production can’t keep up with demand. Trouble occurs when you shower a lot, use skin-drying soap, inadequate intake of water, or live in a house where the air is dry. What's the best refreshment for parched skin? Try one of these home remedies to soothe dry skin.
- Adequate oral intake of purified water, adding fresh lemon will help the water get inside the cells of the body where hydration is usually lacking. Well-hydrated inside and hydrated skin go hand in hand.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids are essential to lubricate and hold the skin moisture. Good sources include; fish, walnuts, flaxseed (fresh grounded or oil), avocado, Evening Primrose Oil, Borage Oil, etc.
- Eat 5-7 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily. Avoid processed foods, fried foods, white flour and sugar, caffeine, soda, and artificial sweeteners. Eat foods such as garlic, onions, eggs, and asparagus that are high in sulfur, which helps to keep the skin smooth and youthful. Consume plenty of yellow and orange vegetables. These are high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant. Carrots are especially good. Cantaloupes, carrots, and apricots are heating foods for dry skin because they are rich in vitamins A and C, both important for supple, smooth skin. Eat them whole or take them as fresh juices. Eat foods rich in pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), such as raw. milk cheese, natural plain yogurt, kefir, leafy green vegetables, nutritional yeast, and wheat germ. Pantothenic acid is needed for the synthesis of fats and oils used by the skin. Do not drink soft drinks or eat sugar, chocolate, potato chips, or other junk foods. Avoid alcohol and caffeine. These substances have a diuretic effect, causing the body and skin cells to lose fluids and essential minerals.
- Skip the long hot showers-limit to 10 minutes and keep the water cool. If you live in the city, filter the chlorine out of your shower water. Chlorine is very drying as well as altering the way your thyroid uptakes iodine.
- Essential Oils for dry skin: Chamomile, Geranium, Hyssop, Lavender, Patchouli, Rose, Sandalwood, Ylang-Ylang
- Aloe Vera: Aloe vera is soothing, healing, and moisturizing. It also helps to remove dead skin cells. Apply aloe vera gel topically on affected areas.
- Calendula and comfrey have skin-softening properties. They can be used in a facial sauna or to make herbal or floral waters. Comfrey also reduces redness and soothes irritated skin.
- Add 5 drops of lavender oil or oat extract to bathwater. After the bath, apply diluted evening primrose oil or aloe vera cream.
- Drink teas of camomile, dandelion, or peppermint.
- Borage, fennel, coltsfoot, or calendula tea also helps improve the skin. Add 1 tsp. of herbs to 1 cup of boiling water and drink daily.
- Tea tree oil has been known to penetrate into the skin's cellular level. Add 1 drop of oil to your favorite day or night cream to help moisturize and smooth skin.
- To nourish and smooth the skin, mash half an avocado and mix with a few drops of fresh lemon juice and spread over the cleansed skin. Leave on for fifteen to twenty minutes, then dab off the excess with a soft tissue. Splash the skin alternately with cold and warm water.
- For a quick and easy skin pack, mash a ripe banana with a fork and spread it thickly onto the face and throat. Leave on for ten to fifteen minutes and then rinse with lukewarm water.
- Herbal Facial Sauna-A weekly facial sauna using the herbs chamomile, lavender, and peppermint is good for dry skin. Using a glass or enameled pot, simmer a total of 2 to 4 tablespoons of dried or fresh herbs in 2 quarts of water. When the pot is steaming, place it on top of a trivet or thick potholder on a table, and sit with your face at a comfortable distance over the steam for fifteen minutes. You can use a towel to trap the steam if you wish. After fifteen minutes, splash your face with cold water and allow your skin to air dry or pat it dry with a towel. Then either apply a good natural moisturizer or facial oil, or apply a clay mask, after the sauna, you can allow the herbal water to cool and save it for use as a toning lotion to be dabbed on your face with a cotton ball after cleansing.
- NO antiperspirants or deodorant soaps-they’re very drying, not to mention all the unnecessary exposure to unhealthy chemicals.
- Run a humidifier every night to moisturize the air in your bedroom. Not only will it ease itchy, dry skin, but you’ll also be able to breathe the moist air more easily.
- Keep your beauty products clean and simple-natural or organic moisturizers, toners, makeup, etc. Know what chemicals you’re putting on your skin. These are not only irritating to the skin but are absorbed into the body at which time the immune system must work to get rid of them. If you can eat it, then it’s OK for the skin. For example, Sodium lauryl (laureth) sulfate is an inexpensive detergent commonly used in cosmetic cleaners, hair shampoo, bath and shower gels, etc. It’s probably the most dangerous corrosive ingredient used throughout the world. It dries skin by stripping the fats from the surface of the skin or hair so it can’t effectively regulate moisture. The perfumes used are also irritants and dry the skin. Tone your skin with a sage, peppermint, and witch hazel combination. Sage helps to control oil, peppermint creates a cool tingle and witch hazel helps restore the skin’s protective layer. Combine 4 ounces of witch hazel with 1 teaspoon each of sage and peppermint leaves and steep for one to three days before applying to your skin.
- Dry skin brush 3-5 times per week prior to showering. Dry skin brushing helps the body detoxify by removing dead skin cells. Detoxification is performed by a number of organs, glands, and transportation systems, including the gut, kidneys, liver, lungs, lymphatic system, and mucous membranes with the skin being the largest of these. (See separate informational handout)
- Smooth aloe vera gel over extra-dry skin. The acids in aloe eat away dead skin cells and speed up the healing process. Cut off an end of an aloe leaf, split open, and spread the gel on the dry area.
- Plunk your rough, dry elbows into grapefruit halves. First, exfoliate your elbows in your bath or shower, then cut a grapefruit in half and rest one elbow on each half, letting them soak for 15 minutes. The acid in the grapefruit provides extra smoothing power.
- SWEAT- Sweating is nature’s way of eliminating toxic chemicals that can build up under the skin. So go jogging, ride your bike, work out in the garden, sit in the sauna anything to make you sweat.
- Avoid these three skin destroyers: Smoking, alcohol, tanning salons, and sunbathing. All three will age your skin prematurely.
- Use a spritzer with rose, sandalwood, or bergamot essential oils mixed with water. These oils are great for hydrating the skin by increasing circulation which improves nutrition and oxygen.
- 2 cups of ground oatmeal to a warm bath is very soothing to dry skin (high in silica).
- Once a week, use a facial mask and or body wrap to clarify the skin and remove dull dry surface skin cells. Facial mask: blend together well 1 teaspoon green clay powder and 1 teaspoon raw honey. Apply the mixture to your face, avoiding the eye area. Leave it on for fifteen minutes, then rinse well with lukewarm water. While your skin is still slightly damp, apply a natural skin oil or liquid moisturizer. Ask the Better Living staff about facials, body wraps, and scrubs!!!
Young Living Essential Oils and Nature’s Sunshine Products are available through Joan Prentice.
Written by Joan Prentice, RN, ND