Just as you change your wardrobe for winter, you skin-care regimen should be adjusted to cope with skin changes during the colder, dryer months. Cold weather can lead to drier, flaky and even itchy, red skin. In conjunction with dermatological care, there are several organic, home-remedy options available to assist with ensuring your skin stays supple and clear as the weather changes.
1. Exfoliate once a week with a honey and sugar scrub
Honey is a natural humectant, which means it pulls moisture from the air into dry skin. Additionally, honey is high in antioxidants, which studies have shown provide antiaging effects and protection from the elements of the environment. Organic honey is important because it contains higher levels of antibacterial properties to reduce inflammation. Used together with sugar, a honey scrub will leave skin refreshed, clean and with a healthy glow.
Mix 1/3 cup of honey with 1/3 cup of sugar and massage gently onto face for about two minutes. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry. This scrub can be used on more than just the face, concentrating on dry, cracked areas like heels and elbows.
2. Use a weekly organic mask
There are several types of organic fruits that can be used to create a mask to treat skin including bananas, papayas, and avocados. (Yes, an avocado is a fruit!) Organic fruits are more beneficial because they are grown without utilization of chemicals that may cause unwanted skin reactions. Avocados are high in antioxidants and contain vitamin A, a form a retinol, which assists in boosting cell growth and collagen. Bananas contain a variety of skin-supporting ingredients, including potassium to hydrate and moisturize, vitamin E to increase the skin’s UV resistance and lectins to protect against bacteria. Papaya is beneficial to dry skin due to a high water, B-complex, and vitamin C content and is used in a number of dermatological products. The London Dermatology Centre can assist with determining the best type of mask for your skin type.
One mask option is to mix a very ripe banana, one avocado, and an egg white into a paste. Apply to face, neck and other dry areas for about 15 minutes. Rinse off and pat dry. You can experiment with different combinations and preferred essential oils.
3. Throw in an egg white
Egg whites can have amazing effects on skin, including tightening and reducing large pores, helping reduce acne and blackheads and reducing wrinkles and fine lines. While all eggs can produce similar results, organic eggs are free from pollutants such as heavy metals and animal antibiotics.
Include an egg white in any organic mask or use alone. To reap the benefits of an egg-white mask, separate the yolk and the egg white, use a fork or whisk to froth, smooth onto face and allow to froth for about 15 minutes. Rinse off and pat dry. For easier application, soak paper towels in the egg whites and apply towels to face.
4. Moisturize with a yogurt
A weekly yogurt hydration treatment can help keep away the dull skin in the cold, dry months of winter. Yogurt contains lactic acid, which is an alpha hydroxy acid that dissolves dead skin cells, making it a great exfoliate and moisturizer. Yogurt can calm the stresses brought on by winter wind and sun.
Smooth two tablespoons of organic, plain yogurt onto a clean, freshly-washed face, leave for about 10 minutes, rinse off and pat dry. Repeat two to three times per week. Add one tablespoon of honey or a few drops of essential oil, if desired.
5. Take an oatmeal bath
Nothing helps calm dry, irritated skin like an oatmeal bath. Colloidal oatmeal, or oats finely milled and suspended in liquid, is used for skin because the suspension of oats in the liquid allows for easy skin absorption. Colloidal oatmeal is not a breakfast food and really should not be eaten.
Run a bath with lukewarm water, add two cups of colloidal oatmeal and allow it to disperse in the water. Add a few drops of lavender oil, if desired. Soak for about ten minutes and pat dry.
6. Use natural oils to alleviate dry areas
There are a variety of natural oils that can assist with dry, irritated skin. Some oils are more appropriate for facial use, while others can benefit the entire body, hair, and nails. Not all oils are alike. The farming of organic oils is regulated by the USDA National Organic Program to ensure purity. Some popular essential oils used in skin care are:
- Almond oil contains a lot of Vitamin E and helps with hydration, as well as reducing puffiness and dark circles around the eyes. Dab almond oil on elbows chapped lips and dry nail cuticles.
- Sunflower oil contains Vitamin E and Omega-6, or linoleic, fatty acid. Omega-6 assists with decreasing skin inflammation and developing new skin cells. Put a few drops of sunflower oil on a cotton ball and pat on a freshly clean face like a toner.
- Coconut oil is known for its moisturizing properties, as well as healing properties. Utilizing extra virgin organic coconut oil can not only leave skin feeling nourished, but it can help reduce the appearance of scars. Keep a jar of coconut oil next to your bed and lather on hands and feet every night.
- Lavender oil is a calming oil that can be added to baths, masks and moisturizers for a spa-like effect. In addition to mind and skin calming properties, it also contains high levels of antioxidants to reduce skin stress. Dab lavender oil under your nose before going to bed for a restful sleep.
Taking care of your skin is not just about what you put on it, but also what you put in it. Make sure to drink plenty of water, choose healthy food options and get plenty of rest.