Thursday

green ways to soften sad winter skin


a throwback from the archives. i thought the week could use some lighter fare!

although t.s. eliot said, "april is the cruelest month," my vote is with january. dark afternoons, tundric temperatures, and lack of fresh fare (and air) cast shadows on the post-holidaze, but the accompanying itchy skin doesn't exactly endear the season to me, either.  thankfully, relief can be found well before the ground thaws.

1. Humidifiers Are Your Friend. we run one in both bedrooms, and they make a huge difference. indoor heating strips moisture from the air, and a humidifier puts it back in nicely, making skin healthier and breathing easier. just remember to keep it clean so that you aren't circulating bacteria or mold. we use these filter-free models that are quiet and effective work horses. 

2. Re-Think Your Body Lotions and Moisturizers. ingredients like alcohol, fragrance, and synthetic glycerin can actually dry your skin. mineral oil, petroleum, and petrolatum are also poor ingredients in a moisturizer. chemically identical to crude oil, they cannot be absorbed and form an impenetrable barrier, blocking skin from receiving moisture or oxygen (and preventing the body's release of toxins). sodium lauryl and laureth sulfate can irritate sensitive skin as well.

i love non-greasy jojoba oil, even on my face. it's truly healing, prevents itchy winter skin, and absorbs especially well after a shower. almond and coconut oils are nourishing, too.  

3. The Best Thing for Chapped Lips: lanolinagain, petroleum-based products won't truly moisturize.  it's decidedly non-vegan but natural and long lasting, and i like to put it on the kids' chapped noses, too. you can spring for organic to avoid traces of pesticide or other toxins. cocoa butter and coconut oil are worthy vegan alternatives.

3. Turn Down the Water Temperature. excessive heat is drying on delicate skin (and uses more energy). although i still can't bear to give up super-hot showers, i try to keep them short and turn down the heat while washing dishes and hands. 

4. Use a Saline Nasal Spray. the ones i'm talking about cost under $2 and contain no medicinal ingredients. nasal passages can become dry and uncomfortable in the winter, and a saline spray can be soothing. when i get a bottle, i pop off the lid and put in 2-3 drops of tea tree oil. its antiseptic properties help to prevent illness, making a good thing even better.

now i wonder if anything barring a tropical vacation could make this six degree weather feel like a balmy 60 degrees...

[affiliate links included. shared with Your Green Resource hosted by Live Renewed, Sorta Crunchy, A Delightful Home, Simply Rebekah, Creating Naturally, and Red and Honey.]

8 comments:

Holly said...

Interesting ideas. My hands and feet do get very dry in the winter; I'm also not real consistent about using even lotion. Doesn't using oil just make you feel greasy all over?

Debbie said...

How could April possibly be the cruelest month? That is so wrong.
And I love my humidifiers too. We run two of them nonstop. But one of mine still gets funky, even being used all the time. You don't have any great tips for me on that, do you?

suzannah said...

holly, i've found plant-based oils to be very different than mineral oils. since it can be absorbed by our skin, i haven't found jojoba oil to be greasy. the key is to use a modest amount--and keep it away from your hair!

debbie, the directions on our humidfier call for sticking removable parts in dishwasher, and soaking a vinegar/water solution in the basin to remove mineral deposits on the heating element. we try to do that weekly, which works for us, but i don't know exactly what type your family uses...good luck!

Penny said...

jojoba is lovely. I find apricot kernal oil quite good too but it is a bit greasier. Nice in a bath though.

It Feels Like Chaos said...

Okay, so I'm not even gonna rub it in that it was a balmy 65 degrees where I live today! But I do feel a little of your pain. When we do get a cold snap and run the heater a bunch for a few days, my skin and my kids' skin dries out so quickly, we are not used to the heater! Thanks for your comment on my blog!

Beth said...

Susannah - do you have any recommendations for dry lips? We are all struggling with them right now and I don't know what to try. I have used vaseline with some success but don't like using it. Any ideas???

Tara said...

Love the suggestions. I have not tried Jojoba oil..but perhaps I will.. What woman doesn't want softer skin!!! Thanks for the tips

suzannah said...

i found the BEST thing for chapped lips--lanolin. decidedly non-vegan, but very natural and long lasting.

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