NOTE: This is a repost of a post from last January. While it hasn't been as cold as last year, it's still cold and our skin is suffering once again. Thought this would be a nice reminder to myself and my readers how to gently care for our dry skin!
I don't know what the weather is like where you are, but here in the Deep South, it's COLD! Not as cold as some of you, but definitely colder than usual. We've had our 7th straight day of freezing temps and this cold is supposed to last at least until the weekend.
Not only is our heating bill suffering, our skin is too. The cold, dry air is really taking its toll. Hubby and The Princess get the worst of it. Both of them are afflicted with dry skin anyway. And this cold snap is exacerbating the problem. My hands give me the most trouble because I'm in the kitchen a great deal, washing hands and dishes.
I made a homemade skin salve to put on our dry itchy spots. It soaks in and gives relief to the itchiest patches. It's made from all natural ingredients and contains no alcohol. Did you know that most brand name hand and skin lotions contain alcohol? Look at the ingredients on the bottle. Do you know what alcohol does to your skin? It dries your skin out! Now why would these companies put drying ingredients in products that are supposed to moisturize? Do they want you to keep buying more products? Hmmmm.
All you need for this salve is olive oil, coconut oil, beeswax, and whatever essential oil you want for scent. Lavender is my favorite, but peppermint and lemon are also really nice. I found the beeswax in pastille or pearl form at a craft store, but you can use beeswax blocks as well. The blocks are usually sold per pound.
Measure 1/3 cup olive oil into a small saucepan. Add 1/2 cup coconut oil. The coconut oil solidifies at temperatures under 76 degrees. So if your kitchen is anything like mine in this cold weather, your coconut oil will be solid!
Heat the oils over low heat until the coconut oil is melted. This will only take a minute or two. When the oils are combined, add 2 tablespoons of beeswax. Stir frequently with a small whisk or spoon.
Continue stirring until the beeswax is completely melted. This will be the longest part of the process, even though it only takes a few minutes. If you're using wax blocks it might take a little longer. Remove from the heat and add 10-15 drops essential oil. Stir well to blend.
Pour into an 8-ounce container. I ordered this one from Mountain Rose Herbs. You could use a glass canning jar or jelly jar, too.
Cover container with a paper towel and let cool for an hour. The salve will solidify as it cools.
The salve will look solid, but you can easily dip your finger into it and spread it on your skin. A little salve will go a long way, so start with a tiny amount. It might feel slightly greasy as first, but it will soak in after a few minutes. Give it time to work.
The best time to apply this is right after you shower. Pat your skin dry - don't rub with a rough towel, just pat. Then massage in some salve on your dry spots. Let it soak in before you start getting dressed. Reapply the salve as needed throughout the day.
Here are some other ways to help your dry skin during this cold weather if you don't want to make the salve.
Use olive oil on your hands and dry spots before you go to bed. Just a dab will do.
Coconut oil makes a marvelous facial moisturizer. I've been using it for over a year and have seen improvements in my complexion. Word of caution - don't use the coconut oil that's located with the cooking oils at the grocery store. You want unrefined coconut oil, usually found in health food or natural food stores. It's pure, doesn't contain any harsh ingredients, and naturally nourishes the skin. We've been conditioned to believe that all oil on our face is bad. But if you take a look at the ingredients in most facial care products on the market, you'll find some really harsh stuff. Why put that on one of the most sensitive parts of your body? As long as you're not slathering it on, the coconut oil will soak in and nourish your skin.
Stay hydrated. Your skin is the last place your body will hydrate. Major organs are more important in the grand scheme of survival, so skin goes last when body parts are getting hydrated. So drink plenty of water. Your skin will benefit, as will the rest of you.
Turn down the temperature on your hot water heater. Hot water, though it may feel good on a cold morning, will dry out your skin. Short, warm showers are best. And remember to pat yourself dry gently.
Use a cool mist humidifier at night. This not only helps your skin but keeps your nasal passages and throat moist too. Don't you just hate waking up with a dry, scratchy throat and nose?
Apply lip balm regularly. Don't wait until your lips are chapped to start putting it on. Look at the ingredients, too. If the lip balm contains alcohol, avoid using it if possible. It will provide temporary relief, but it will take your lips longer to heal if they're chapped. I'll post a lip balm recipe later this week.
Eat your veggies! Foods rich in Vitamin A and C will help keep your skin hydrated longer. Green leafy vegetables, carrots, and sweet potatoes are good sources of Vitamin A, while citrus fruits, tomatoes, and broccoli provide Vitamin C.
Hopefully some of these solutions will help if you or your family suffers from dry skin.
For more helpful tips, visit Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family.