As someone who has skin on the oily side, I am always somewhat surprised when I notice my skin becoming itchy and flaky about this time every year. As temperatures and humidity levels drop, our skin naturally becomes dry as winter approaches. Add a heavy dose of blustery wind and your epidermis will be shouting out for relief! So what can those of us who live in colder climates do to protect our skin when winter rolls around?
First, although it seems counter intuitive when temperatures dip below freezing, stay cool! Overheating can exacerbate irritated skin. Instead of turning the thermostat in your home up a few degrees, try to keep it at a moderate 70 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. My furnace has a built in humidifier which is extremely helpful in adding much needed moisture. If yours does not have this feature, consider purchasing a low cost portable humidifier at your local drugstore or online and use it in your bedroom. I’ve also been known to place a bowl or pot of water near the furnace vent to add humidity to the air when staying at a hotel or away from home.
Second, make adjustments to your diet when your skin becomes dry and flaky. Foods with high salt content dehydrate your skin. Instead, look for foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon, tuna, herring and trout are perfect examples of foods that will help your skin retain moisture.
If you are vegetarian or vegan, flax seed and nuts are great alternatives and your skin will thank you through the winter months. Both of these are chalk full of natural oils and vitamins that promote skin health. My favorite skin happy food is avocado, which I consume year ‘round! Avocados are rich with monounsaturated fatty acids which keep the skin moist. No wonder we see avocado in so many beauty products! Cucumbers are another favorite snack as they have extremely high water content, aiding in skin hydration.
Last, it is important to pay attention to skin products during the winter. Products high in alcohol content are extremely drying. I shy away from all make-up remover and face cleansing towelettes once October rolls around.
Instead, I look for cleansing products that avoid chemicals known to dehydrate the skin. We offer soap bars perfectly suited for combating winter skin! Not only do we add ingredients that encourage hydration, we do not use ingredients or soap making processes that lead to dry skin. Most importantly this is because we bans the use of many harmful ingredients, including sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, both known skin irritants.
With the above in mind, any of the dozen soap bars we carry are great choices for combating dry skin. I particularly recommend the Goat Milk Soap Bar this time of year. Goat milk is high in protein and triglyceride making it an effective natural moisturizer. It also contains vitamin A, B6, B12 and E as well as beta-casein which are all known to hydrate and nourish the skin!
My other go to choice for dry skin is the Oatmeal Milk & Honey Soap Bar. This is especially effective as winter’s temperatures are relentless and the need to exfoliate is apparent! This soap is rich in silica, calcium, iron and magnesium which cleanses and sloughs off dead skin cells, leaving your skin smooth and refreshed.
My third favorite hydrating is Olive Oil Soap Bar. Winter’s drying effects won’t stand a chance against this moisture rich soap handcrafted with coconut, olive and soybean oils and enriched with shea butter!
If you follow the above rules of thumb with respect to your skin, and use a bit of common sense from the ages – wear a hat, scarf and mittens – your skin should weather this season well!