Are you fighting dry, itchy, irritated, or cracked skin?
You’re not alone. Winter is tough on bodies. The good news: with a few simple adjustments, your skin can feel its best - hydrated, smooth, and soft - no matter the weather.
My top three tips for happy, healthy skin in winter:
#1. Avoid foaming cleaners and switch to gentle, natural cleansers.
The foaming agents in many cleansers, both for body and face, give a ‘squeaky clean’ feeling but are unnecessarily harsh. And often irritating. They strip the surface of the skin, including the natural oils it needs to maintain its integrity. (Skin cells are made of lipids, or oils, which are essential to healthy function.)
What’s healthier AND more effective? A gentle oil cleanser for the face. And a gentle, natural bar soap for hands and body. These are much less disruptive to the natural sebum balance of the skin and are highly effective. Natural oil-based cleansers still remove excess sweat, dirt, grime, and makeup, but without stripping the skin and making it work harder to rebalance.
Enrich Daily Face Cleanser is my go-to daily face cleanser. Massaged over the skin, then taken off with a warm, damp washcloth, it leaves the skin fresh, clean, and hydrated.
And for body- and hand-washing, I recommend finding a local natural soap maker in your area. Here in Iowa, a favorite of mine is Locust Grove Farm’s Raw Cocoa Butter Bar Soap (made with coconut oil, cocoa butter, sunflower seed oil, babassu oil, water, castor oil). So good!
#2. Up your hydration, both inside and out.
The colder the temperature, the less able the air is to hold water. So cold air is naturally drier, which pulls moisture out of the skin and body. Freezing outdoor air naturally takes a toll on the skin, but also consider the dry air inside our homes and buildings due to furnaces and heating systems. With all of this, hydration is key.
As with most health practices, we need to consider what’s going on both inside the body and outside. Hydrating internally with fluids is extra-critical when the air and environment is dry. Add more water, electrolytes, kombucha, bone broth, herbal teas, soups, and stews.
And on the outside, add extra layers of hydration to protect the skin from drying out as quickly. For the face, I first use Argan & Rosehip Face Oil, then I add a small amount of Rich Rengeration Face Creme - particularly around the eyes where skin is more susceptible to irritation from the cold. Made with rich oils and a small amount of beeswax, it adds an extra barrier to hold in moisture. I use both of these products year-round, but I definitely use more in the winter months to combat dryness.
For the body, a rich, hydrating favorite of mine is Super Soothe Body Butter. I use it more sparingly in other seasons, but in the winter I apply generously! So luxurious and healing, especially for sensitive skin.
#3. Give lips and hands extra care.
Dry air and cold temps can really impact thin, delicate skin. Flaking, cracked lips is a common issue. Extra hydration from a lip oil can make a big difference. Sea Berry Lip Oil is formulated to sink into the deeper layers of the lips to heal and hydrate (versus sit on top of the skin). For best absorption, I apply it to bare lips (usually after brushing my teeth). Then I add balm or gloss on top, both of which can serve as an extra barrier to cold air and wind.
Washing and sanitizing our hands a lot also dries out skin and cuticles quickly, leaving them susceptible to cracks and snags. While my hands are still slightly damp after washing, I apply Soft & Supple Cuticle Oil to help hydrate and protect. (Don’t forget to give your toes some love too. Feet are often bundled up in wooly socks all winter and get less attention and care.)
And see #1 above to make sure you’ve swapped out any harsh foaming hand soaps for more gentle, natural options. Aim to use warm, but not hot, water for washing and bathing.
Our skin truly is amazing. It keeps us hydrated, maintains our body temperature, serves as our first line of defense against pathogens, and senses so many things - day in and day out. As we move through changing seasons, it’s important to adjust our care of this vital organ accordingly.
Small, daily rituals can have a big impact on our wellbeing and vibrancy. During colder months:
- Avoid harsh, foaming cleansers
- Up your hydration, inside and out
- Give thin, delicate skin extra love and attention
Cheers to good health and happy skin, all year long!