This winter has been especially harsh for my skin, and my 5-month-old son’s as well. We both have had dry patches from head to toe. Even though we moisturize every day, it was no match for the dryness of the winter weather. Finally, after nearly two months of experimenting, we found a combination of techniques that worked for us. After about a week of practicing these methods our dry skin patches were gone, and we’re both as soft as a baby's bum.
1. Use a Humidifier
During the summer there is more humidity in the air, keeping our skin hydrated. Ironically, during the winter the air tends to be dryer and often causes dry skin. A simple solution for preventing dry skin is to add a humidifier to your home. I put mine in my living room; it’s a big enough room where I can add essential oils and it won’t be too strong, plus it’s the room we spend most of our time in during the day. If someone is sick or needing more moisture than most, you can add it to their bedroom at night (be sure to follow the directions on your humidifier, clean it regularly, and consult a professional before using essential oils). Using the humidifier for aromatherapy is only an added bonus. The moisture that a humidifier adds to the air, and provides to our bodies internally and externally is beneficial all on its own.
2. Take a Milk Bath
It may sound odd at first, but milk is in fact a wonderful aid for the skin. History suggests that Cleopatra bathed in milk every day to achieve her radiant skin. The live proteins in milk digest dead skin cells, and leave your skin feeling soft and renewed. I put about ¼ cup of powdered milk into my bath and about 2 Tbs. in my son’s (he uses a smaller tub), and soak in it for about 10 minutes. Add essential oils or herbs for added benefits. We did this once a day and after the third night we were already seeing results. Apparently the saying is true, milk does a body good.
Your skin is often a reflection of your internal health. Another way to hydrate your skin is to drink plenty of water. The suggested water intake for an average adult is 8-12 cups per day. If you aren’t already drinking water frequently throughout the day, find something that motivates you to hydrate. I have found that if I flavor my water with lemon, orange, or cucumber slices, I want to drink it more often. And, this may be silly, but I like drinking my water out of a specialty glass or water bottle – that way I always know which glass is mine, and it makes it a little more of a personal experience.
Exfoliation is essential for repairing dry skin; however, removing dead skin cells should not be rough or painful. Using a washcloth or loofah, or a simple sugar scrub will be sufficient. Soak in a bath or shower for several minutes to moisten and soften the skin. I use a sugar scrub for myself and a washcloth or a sponge for my son. Gently massage the skin in a circular motion; resist the temptation to scrub dry spots vigorously, light pressure and gentle motion is all that is needed. Think of this as a treat for your skin, not a punishment. Use a moisturizer after bathing to protect your freshly exfoliated skin and to lock-in moisture.
To have soft skin there must be moisture in the air, in your body, and on your skin. Moisturizing is only part of the equation but it is a very important part. Adding moisture to the skin topically helps to lock-in moisture, and creates a barrier for the skin to protect it from dirt and toxins as well. Be sure to choose a moisturizer that does not have harsh chemicals or drying ingredients such as alcohol or parabens. Moisturizing your skin after bathing and before bed are easy ways to include the practice into your routine. I like to make moisturizing an experience; I use body oil made with plant oils (i.e. almond, grapeseed, or coconut), and essential oils that help me feel relaxed, confident, and beautiful. Make this your moment, close your eyes, take a deep breath, feel grateful for your health, and give nourishment to your body and mind.