Today’s guest post is from a very good friend of mine. Andrea Asa Sonnenberg is fun, witty, and a ginge, the triple threat of fabulousness. She’s also a fellow writer for Examiner.com, covering a bevy of schweet topics, from Women’s Relationship Advice, to Beauty Products, to Parenting, and Celebrity Fashion. She shares with us amazing skin care tips for natural beauties like you!
The combination of frigid winter air and dry indoor heat can spell skin disaster for many people but certainly for those with dry, sensitive, or eczema-prone skin. Unfortunately, for many of us, what’s available on the shelves of the local drugstore is either too harsh or too artificial. If you’re looking for a more natural alternative, you’re in luck: Your winter skin troubles can be solved with a few changes in routine and some products you can rummage out of your kitchen cabinet or find easily either at your local grocery or the health food store.
1. Keep your baths and showers warm, not hot. Even though hot water feels soooo good this time of year, hot water strips your skin of much-needed oil, leading to dry skin. Keep that water at a reasonable temperature and limit the amount of time you spend in the water. Wrinkly toes are a sign you’ve been in there too long.
2. Use gentle cleansers. That smells-so-good perfumed body wash you received as a part of a gift set last Christmas? No. Just no. It’s likely filled to the brim with chemicals and ingredients that strip your skin of moisture and leave a film of detergents and artificial fragrances that can irritate your skin long after your shower is over. Use a natural glycerine-based soap instead.
3. Exfoliate regularly. Dead skin cells build up on the surface of your skin, leaving it dull and lusterless. Worse? They block moisturizers from getting through to newer layers of skin. One good natural exfoliator is a handful of brown sugar mixed with almond oil. If you’re plagued with cellulite, try a handful of coffee grounds mixed with olive oil instead. Stand over a towel and rub well into dry or damp skin before stepping into your shower and rinsing off.
4. Moisturize. This is a critical final step. Skip it, and you’ll regret it all day long. Although you can use standard lotions and creams, natural moisturizers are often gentler and more powerful. Try Shea butter or cocoa butter – look for pure formulas, not simply Shea or cocoa butter lotions or creams. Lanolin is also a great moisturizer, for those who aren’t sensitive or allergic to wool. If you want a little fragrance, add a tiny drop (truly – just a drop!) of essential oil to scent your chosen moisturizer. Lavender, orange, and rose oils are all great choices. Place a dab of oil-diluted EO on a cotton swab, and test on a small spot of skin to ensure you are not sensitive prior to using it.
5. Use bath additives as needed. If you enjoy a long bath every once in a while during the winter (and really, who doesn’t?), add a little something to keep your skin soft and smooth. Buttermilk, nonfat dried milk, oat protein, and chamomile are all fantastic additives that smooth, soothe, and protect winter-dry skin.