Are you looking to prevent dry skin?
During cold weather months, there is a tendency for many of us to develop dry skin and hair. We can blame this on forced air heating, tightly enclosed spaces, and/or a tendency to drink less water. A combination of factors can result in a humidity level of 40% or less. When this occurs, we risk drying out mucous membranes, as well, which can lead to a higher risk of developing respiratory tract and sinus infections. Our hair can also become drier which can lead to more fly aways or static electricity.
Fortunately, there are a few things that we can do to prevent dry skin and hair resulting from these and other factors. They don’t require fancy equipment or expensive products, either. Here are a few tips:
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
It may seem obvious, but colder weather often results in more sedentary behavior, diminished perspiration, and a tendency to drink less water. Alternatively, we may also drink more hot coffee, cocoa, or tea which have a diuretic effect. Alcohol has the same effect. The result is dehydration. To counteract this, it’s important for us to monitor our water intake and to drink a glass of water for every cup of coffee or glass of wine that we imbibe. We know we’re adequately hydrated when our urine is the color of light straw. This can also be affected by the foods we eat and drink (e.g., beets, cranberries juice). It is merely a rough measure of our level of hydration. If we pinch our skin and it does not retract immediately, it is also an indication of dehydration. Be sure to take into account the fruits and vegetables with a high water content that can also contribute to proper hydration.
Avoid hot water baths and showers.
This removes protective oils that keep our skin and hair pliable. Use lukewarm water instead and apply a barrier balm like our Body Balms or our Dry Oil to skin and hair immediately after bathing or showering. These products contain humectants like candelilla wax (trapping moisture) or glycerin (drawing water) which serve to trap water in the skin. Just lightly towel-dry and apply products while skin is still warm and damp. Natural oils can also help to preserve the skin’s acid mantle which can be impacted by harsh detergent cleansers and shampoos. A small application to dry hair can also help to preserve its cuticle.
Buy a hygrometer
It reads the relative humidity in any room. If the humidity level nears 40%, you have dry air that can sap moisture from skin and hair. To prevent dry skin, you can purchase a humidifier. Personal steam inhalers are also becoming popular and can help moisturize mucus membranes. We are undecided on facial mists. While refreshing during hot summer months, they are primarily water, relatively expensive, and the water evaporation may leave skin drier than before.
Use a natural moisturizer throughout the day as needed.
Be sure to read labels and avoid products containing silicone and petroleum by-products. These are neither nourishing nor earth-friendly. Products containing glycerin, castor oil, olive, jojoba, argan or other quick-penetrating oil can be beneficial for skin and hair over the long term. Coconut oil, while great to have on hand, can be drying for some when applied directly. And yes, even oily skin can benefit from oils. If you are acne-prone, try grapeseed or pumpkin seed oil. Oils that don’t clog pores (non-comedogenic) include argan and hemp seed oils. Results vary by individual, so you’ll need to experiment; a little goes a long way. Hemp, pumpkin seed, argan, and olive oil tend to become rancid easily, to it’s best to refrigerate them, or buy them in small quantities.
Moisturize while you sleep.
Many find it beneficial to use a hand cream or a foot balm with cotton gloves and socks. This gives the product a chance to sink in and soften rough areas overnight.
With a little effort, you can treat your skin to nourishing oils while preventing dry skin during the cold weather months. (Disclaimer: This information is not intended to prevent or cure disease. See your doctor if you are having respiratory, dermatological, or other symptoms of illness.)