Winter is here and with it comes dry, flaky and sometimes itchy skin. Sometimes things can get so bad, that your only recourse is to rush to the doctor, or opt for over the counter medical moisturisers. What’s the problem with that? Well, they contain chemicals in the form of deodorants, fragrance and preservatives – which are unnecessary for your skin. Besides, they come in plastic bottles, which end up in the trash after you’re done, polluting our air and surrounding water sources.
What’s the solution? Taking good care of your skin as winter begins, and if things do get bad, opting for natural remedies instead of chemical, store bought lotions.
Here are five ways in which you can do so:
- Keep yourself hydrated: With winters our water consumption spirals downwards and this instantly reflects on our skin. Keep a bottle of water on your table at all times, and make sure you have at least a few bottles a day. Instead of hot coffee which has Caffeine and can be dehydrating, sip warm water or coconut water, and add warm water with lemon to your morning routine!
- Skip the real hot water baths: Hot water baths rob the skin of moisture and leaves it exceptionally dry. Opt instead for lukewarm bucket baths instead. Good for your skin, and for the environment!
- Moisturise immediately post a shower: The skin absorbs better when it is slightly damp i.e. immediately after your shower. Choose an organic moisturiser or opt for the good old cold pressed coconut oil (read on for details on other natural ingredients for dry skin). Smear this on damp skin to keep your skin hydrated for longer.
- Use a sunscreen: Though you can’t really see the sun, the winter sun hidden in the gloom is as damaging to the skin as the summer sun. So make sure you put sunscreen, and ideally also wear a sun-hat before decide to step out. Opt for sunscreens made with natural ingredients, or make one at home using Sesame oil.
- Opt for natural kitchen ingredients to hydrate the skin:
- Olive Oil: Olive oil, a natural humectant (it restores moisture), is rich in antioxidants, including Vitamin E and Vitamin A, making it a great oil for skin care, especially dry skin. Apply it liberally onto your skin for rich hydration. Olive oil also helps in regeneration of skin cells and is great when used for anti-aging. To use:
- Have an olive oil bath: Add a few teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil to your bucket bath. Once done, just pat dry the skin. It’s a sure shot way to have soft, smooth, hydrated skin.
- Use as a moisturiser: Apply olive oil onto your skin and let it stay for approximately half an hour prior to your bath. Have a bath using a mild natural soap. Pat yourself dry.
- Olive oil and brown sugar, honey scrub: Use a combination of olive oil, honey and brown sugar as a mild scrub. Mix together two tablespoons of olive oil, four tablespoons of fine brown sugar and a tablespoon of honey. Apply this scrub in gentle circular motion all over/ on dry areas. Rinse off with lukewarm water and finish off by applying a little olive oil on your damn skin.
- Doodh and Malai: Milk and milk cream are both great moisturisers along with being gentle exfoliators. In addition milk has anti-inflammatory properties. To use:
- Malai, milk and some lemon juice: Mix together two tablespoons of malai, a teaspoon of milk and a few drops of lemon juice. Apply this mixture generously onto dry areas like hands and legs. Leave on for approximately half an hour prior to your bath. Wash with lukewarm water.
- Malai and Besan (gram flour): Alternatively, you could use this age old technique to fight dry skin. Take a cup full of besan and mix with malai till you get a good pasty texture. Apply this generously onto dry skin and rinse of after 15 minutes for soft skin.
- Milk and Rose Water: Take 4 tablespoons of milk and add a few drops of rose water to this. Apply this mixture onto hands and legs and wash off after a few minutes.
- Yogurt: Much like milk and malai, yogurt too is anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant in nature, and it’s great at hydrating skin. All you need to do is apply it generously onto your skin and rinse off after 10 minutes.
- Coconut Oil: The goodness of coconut oil can’t be debated. It is rich in fatty acids that makes up for any moisture loss. Be sure to pick organic cold pressed coconut oil that is chemical free. To use:
- Apply generously onto your body at night and wash off with a lukewarm water bath in the morning.
- Alternatively apply it onto your damp body post your bath.
- Glycerine: It’s a simple compound, which is used both in the food and pharmaceutical industries for its smooth, sweet and humectant (hydrating) nature. Take Glycerine and Rose Water in equal parts, mix it up in a bottle, and apply on your skin while it’s still warm and damp from your bath. It’s a quick fix for keeping your skin supple all day long, although it may not have the same nourishing properties that oils do!
In addition to the above, smearing honey, another great humectant is also known to be very effective.
If you are familiar with other ways of keeping the skin hydrated, please do share them with us. We’d love to hear and include them in our list.