Harsh winter weather and less moisture in the air is a recipe for dry skin.
Dry skin can be itchy, red, or flaky- not exactly the healthy-looking skin we all want. But that doesn't mean you need to go buy an expensive cream to deal with dry skin.
Changing some of your skincare habits during cold months and using some everyday ingredients can help to take care of your dry winter skin naturally.
Here are some natural skincare tips to help you hydrate dry skin.
Avoid Harsh Soaps
The natural oil your skin produces is called sebum. While overproduction of sebum can cause acne, it's otherwise an oil your skin needs to keep in moisture and protect skin from damage.
Harsh cleansing soaps strip this natural oil from your skin, which means it's no longer there to protect skin from drying out.
Face washes, especially, can contain ingredients like alcohol, fragrances, and preservatives that are drying to skin. Overusing soap or hand sanitizers will also strip protective oils from your skin.
Many natural soaps are made from oils like olive or coconut and help to lock moisture in your skin instead of stripping it.
Choose a mild and natural soap to prevent dry winter skin and use only as needed.
Should You Oil Cleanse Your Skin?
Oil cleansing is a great option for your face during the dry, winter months and helps to keep skin well moisturized. (Oil cleansing is best for those who don't have acne.)
Olive oil is a popular choice as a cleanser, but you can also try jojoba, castor, or almond oil.
Rub a small amount of the oil of your choice into your hands, then into the skin on your face. Massage the oil gently into all areas of skin.
Soak a washcloth in warm (not hot) water, squeeze out the extra water, and drape it over your face. The idea is to open and soften pores.
Leave the cloth there until it cools. Then, use it to gently wipe off excess oil. Oil cleansing also works for removing makeup.
Why Use Less Hot Water?
Using very hot water to wash your hands, take a shower, or clean your face will actually dry out your skin.
Try using warm water rather than hot to take a bath or a shower. If you try the oil cleansing method, make sure the water you soak the washcloth in is warm enough to open pores but not extremely hot.
Why Use Hydrating Facial Masks?
Using a homemade face mask once or a few times a week can really help to moisturize dry winter skin.
Avocado is not only a very healthy food to eat, it also makes a great face mask for dry skin. Just puree half of a ripe avocado and add in 1-2 teaspoons of an oil like olive, almond, or jojoba.
For acne-prone skin, substitute 1 tablespoon of honey for the oil. Leave the mask on for 15-20 minutes before rinsing off.
Oatmeal makes another hydrating and simple face mask. Take about 2 tablespoons of oats and run them through a food processor. Then, mix the oats with 1 tablespoon of raw honey and just enough water to make a nice, spreadable paste.
Apply the face mask and leave it on for 15-20 minutes. Oats can help to exfoliate your skin as well as moisturize it, so you can rub it into your skin as you rinse it off.
Other natural ingredients that can hydrate dry winter skin include bananas, aloe vera, egg yolks, shea butter, and yogurt.
Can Oatmeal Baths Help Dry Skin?
Oatmeal makes a great face mask, but it can also hydrate the rest of your skin if you use it in a bath.
Oats have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and can help with both dry and itchy skin. (1) An oatmeal bath is gentle enough to be suitable for young children and babies.
To prepare an oatmeal bath, take about 1 cup of rolled oats and process them in a food processor or blender until you have a fine powder.
Then, start to fill up the bathtub with warm water, keeping in mind that you don't want it too hot. You can either add the oats directly to the bath water as the tub is filling or you can put them in an old nylon and tie it before putting it in the water.
Soak in your oatmeal bath for 15-20 minutes before gently drying yourself off and adding a moisturizer if needed.
Use Oil as a Moisturizer
Certain natural oils can be extremely beneficial for dry skin when used as a moisturizer. You would simply rub your chosen oil into your skin after showering, bathing, or washing your face.
Olive oil is another good choice for hydrating skin along with jojoba, sweet almond, apricot kernal, grapeseed, and shea butter.
For some extra treatment during the winter for dry skin, add essential oils like Lavender, Sandalwood, Cedarwood, or Frankincense to further soothe skin.
Try Aloe Vera
Aloe vera gel is often used as a natural remedy for sunburn, but it also works to hydrate and soothe dry winter skin.
Aloe vera will moisturize your skin and absorbs quickly so that skin doesn't feel greasy after applying it. It can especially benefit those with inflamed skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis and is a good alternative to an oil moisturizer for those prone to acne. (4)
You can simply rub a good quality aloe vera gel into your skin after bathing or showering to lock in moisture and calm irritated skin.
What are the benefits of Humidifiers for skin?
Aside from the sometimes harsh weather of winter (depending on where you live), one of the main causes of dry skin is the drier air indoors. The heater that keeps your house warm also dries out the air and your skin.
To help prevent this from happening, you can run a humidifier (or several) throughout the winter months.
How do you know what the right humidity level is?
Between 30-50% is the recommended indoor humidity level, but you can also go by how you feel. If the air feels dry and you notice a dry throat when you wake up, it's probably too low. If water starts condensing on the windows, the humidity is probably too high.
Adding a humidifier or two is a simple and inexpensive solution to dry skin caused by a lack of moisture in the air.
Make Your Dry Winter Skin Happy Again
While no one wants to have dry and itchy skin during the winter, there are many simple and natural solutions to this problem.
From switching to a gentle, natural soap to soaking in an oatmeal bath, there is a lot you can do to help your skin out. Using hydrating oils or aloe vera is especially a great way to hydrate and protect skin.
Try out some of these remedies to make your dry skin happy and healthy!
Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice and should not be substituted for medical advice. Please consult your health care provider, herbalist, midwife, or naturopathic physician before taking herbs, supplements, etc. Here's the link to our full disclaimer.