Six Ways to Combat Dry, Itchy, Irritated Winter Skin

Winter in the midwest.  Dry itchy irritated skin.  Can you relate?

Invest in your skin.  It’s going to represent you for a long time.

1. Stay Hydrated

Being well hydrated is so important for many body systems, including skin health.  I know you have heard this before… drink plenty of clean, filtered water throughout the day.  Several sources state you should drink half your body weight in ounces.  So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces each day.  I personally do not like to measure or keep track of things, so I make sure I have a big water bottle close by at all times.  

Try jazzing up your water with lemon, lime, or orange slices.  You can also try mint and cucumber.  This adds flavor and nutrients to your water.  

You can also try adding some apple cider vinegar to your water.  Apple cider vinegar has a long list of health benefits, but the taste can be intimidating.  Start with a just a small amount and add some lemon and ginger.  This flavor combination is actually pretty good.  

If you aren’t a fan of cold water in the winter, try warm water with any of the above combinations.  You can even add some honey.  Apple cider vinegar, lemon, ginger, and honey is a powerful combination to take when you are feeling a cold or flu come on.  

If you are not feeling that adventurous with the water suggestions, try some warm tea.  Be mindful of what kind of tea and how much caffeine you are consuming. Caffeine is a diuretic and can further dehydrate you.  Green teas have less caffeine than black teas and herbal teas are caffeine free.  Add honey and lemon to your tea for more flavor and a nutrient boost.  

Want to learn more about tea?  Check out Why You Should Visit David’s Tea.  

2. Eat Healthy Fat

Yes, I said it, eat fat!  Butter, full-fat cream, full-fat cheese and yogurt, eggs, avocados, coconuts, nuts, and seeds are no longer off limits. Don’t trim the fat off your meat and don’t buy the lower fat ground meats.  If you are like me, you grew up in the 80’s and 90’s during the low fat craze.  The grocery store shelves were flowing with low-fat everything.  The problem is when they took out the natural, healthy fats, they replaced them with sugar and toxic trans fats.  

Your body, especially your brain and your skin need healthy fats to function optimally.  Of course, you need to be mindful of the source of fat.  Choose organic when you can, especially meat and dairy products.  Grass-fed cows provide much more nutrition than conventionally raised cows.  

A simple rule to live by- if it was made the way mother nature intended, it is good for you.  If it was made in a factory, beware.  

3. Slather Fat on Your Skin

Just like you want to nourish your body with healthy fats from the inside, you also want to do the same on the outside.  Try coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, avocado oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, and argan oil.  This is what you don’t want to do- slather chemical laden lotions all over your body.  The toxic chemicals not only irritate your skin, they mess with your hormones.  The same rule applies here: if it was made by mother nature, use it liberally.  If it was made in a factory, beware.  

I have a tub of coconut oil I keep in the bathroom. I take a handful out, add a few drops of essential oils, rub it in my hands to soften it up, then rub it all over.  It feels and smells amazing.  If you don’t want to mess with the inconsistent consistency of coconut oil (it is hard when it’s cold and soft when it’s warm), you can use fractionated coconut oil.  It is always liquid, no matter what temperature.  The oils absorb quickly and your skin will feel soft and silky.  

4. Exfoliate

You need to exfoliate the dry, dead skin cells to reveal healthy new cells underneath.  

Sugar Scrub

Sugar scrubs feel and smell amazing.  They wake up your skin and make it soft and silky.  You can make a sugar scrub with a few simple ingredients.  Rub the scrub over your skin for several minutes then wash off in the shower.  Warning: shower floor may get slippery from the oil- be careful!

Super Simple Sugar Scrub Recipe

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • essential oils of choice (optional)
  • Mix all ingredients together and store in airtight container.  

Dry Brushing

Your skin is your largest organ.  Did you know it plays a major role in detoxification?  Toxins are excreted from your pores.  When they are clogged with dead skin and other debris, they can’t function properly.  Dry brushing helps your body detoxify by clearing the debris, opening the pores, and increasing circulation.  

Directions

  • Use a natural brush.  
  • Start with your feet and brush toward your heart.  
  • Go to your hands and continue to brush toward your heart. 
  • Go in circles around your joints.  
  • Go very gently over your abdomen and back.  
  • Use light, quick strokes, don’t rub your skin raw!  

Do this for several minutes before getting into the shower.  It is very invigorating.  It is perfect on a cold, dark winter morning when you really don’t want to be out of bed.

5. Take Therapeutic Baths

You need to be careful of not over bathing (or showering), especially during the winter as it can further dry out and irritate your skin.  But taking warm baths at night with some added ingredients can be very beneficial.

Vinegar Baths

Sounds appealing, doesn’t it?  I promise the smell of vinegar quickly dissipates, and you won’t come out smelling like a pickle.  The vinegar will help soothe your skin and restore its pH balance.

Just add a cup or two of vinegar to your bath and soak for 20 minutes.  I often use plain distilled white vinegar because it has a more mild scent.  I also use apple cider vinegar at times because it is even more beneficial.  Your skin will feel soft, cool, and refreshed after your bath.  

Epsom Salt Baths

These are hands down, my favorite way to unwind and treat my skin after a long day.  I add 5-10 drops of essential oils to about 1 1/2 cups of Epsom salts and pour into my tub of hot water.  I take my iPad or a good book in with me and lock the door.  The Epsom salts help pull toxins out of your body and allow magnesium (a relaxing mineral) into your body.  The essential oils also support the skin and aid in detoxification.  And they smell amazing.  Your skin will be so soft and refreshed when you get out, you won’t even feel like you need any lotion.  

6. Try a Sauna

Do you belong to a gym with a sauna?  Try it out.  Infrared saunas help your body to release toxins through your skin by sweating.  After your sauna, it is important to shower to wash the toxins away and not reabsorb them.  At first, your skin might be red and slightly irritated from the heat and the release of toxins, but it will quickly return to normal.  Over time, your skin will continue to get softer and smoother.  

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