Winter Rescue: 6 Natural Remedies for Dry Skin

When the fresh snow falls, its like a winter wonderland.  Our Canadian winters are long and beautiful, but with the cold temperature and lower humidity levels, we’ll notice right away changes to our skin and body from inside out.  The most noticeable is our skin.
Dry, itchy skin can happen to anyone, and if you have skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis (like in my family), then you likely also experience cracked skin and some bleeding cuts too.  Don't despair!  Here are 6 natural remedies to create a more comfortable environment at home and tackle dry itchy skin.  

1. Humidity control.

In general, the ideal humidity level in your home should be between 30 and 50 percent. Humidity in this range may help you control asthma by easing dry throat, nose and mouth, reduce spread of flu germs, relieve congestion and allergy symptoms, and help control dry skin.  Where possible, place a humidifier in the living room, office, bedroom and other common areas to add moisture back throughout your house.  It is recommended to fill the tanks with distilled water because tap water contains minerals that create deposits inside the humidifier promoting bacterial growth.  You’ll notice evaporated tap water may form a dry, white dust on surfaces, and this can irritate the respiratory systems for sensitive individuals. Remember to change the reservoir water daily and regularly clean the humidifier.

2. Plants can add moisture to your air.

Plants are amazing for the home.   They can warm up your space, but did you know that growing houseplants can also help replenishing moisture in the air?  Through a process called transpiration, plants will take in water through their roots, and then release moisture through the leaves.  Houseplants can significantly reduce the amounts of pollutants in the indoor environment that aren’t filtered through air purifiers.   Here are some of my favourite indoor plants:

  • Peace Lily. A part leafy and part flower plant that is known for its ability to fight against carbon monoxide and other toxic gases.  Relatively easy to care for, but they can be mildly toxic to pets and humans, so it's important to wash your hands after touching the plant.
  • Snake Plant. A yellow-tipped succulent that releases oxygen at night and is one of the best air filtering plants.  Very easy to care for, but
  • Areca Palm. Unique to other air purifying plants, they are also an excellent humidifier.  For example, it is believed a six-foot Areca palm can transpire almost a litre of water every 24 hours and thus considered one the best houseplants. Easy care, just place them in bright, filtered light to avoid leaf burn, and give them plenty of water.
  • Aloe vera. An easy-to-grow succulent and cleans the air of benzene and formaldehyde when given off by paints, cleaners with chemical ingredients and other products. It is also great to use the gel to relieve sunburn or other minor wounds.  Needs lots of sunlight and make sure the potting soil is dried completely before next watering cycle. 
  • ZZ Plant.  A beautiful addition to any space, this plant can thrive in low or high areas of light making it an easy to care indoor plant. It has wide dark green leaves that are smooth and shiny, and can grow from a desk plant to a floor plant.  Not pet-friendly especially cats.
  • Cactus. A great indoor plant to eliminating bacteria. It absorbs carbon dioxide at night to release oxygen so it’s very helpful in sleeping and supplementing oxygen for your room.

3. Shower and bath rules.

A long hot shower or bath is the first thing I think of after a long day.  However, hot water is a common cause for drying out your skin and stripping its natural protective barrier.  As a general rule of thumb, try to limit your shower time to less than 10 minutes with lukewarm water and ensure you’re using natural ingredient soap and washes.   When taking a bath, limit the time you soak in warm water to less than 20 minutes and only pat dry with a soft towel.  Especially during the colder months, you can also use a restorative and hydrating bath treatment once or twice a week to help restore your skin’s moisture barrier. 

Our Oat + Coconut Milk Herbal Bath Soak is a comforting blend of pure organic coconut milk, colloidal oatmeal and natural herbal ingredients to actively soothe and provide relief for dry, itchy skin. Just remember, lotions and moisturizers are designed to lock in moisture, so applying right after your shower or bath while skin is moisture will be most effective. 
 4. Exfoliation is key to healthier and clearer skin.

Winter months are especially tough on our skin, when humidity levels drop, our hands and body will feel dry and tight and itchy. While moisturizing lotions and body butters are essentials in winter skin care, regular exfoliation will keep pores clean, shed the dead skin cells faster and help your skin absorb moisture and retain it.  The question is what type of scrub is best for you? 

  • Sugar Body Scrubs. Perhaps the most popular type of scrub is less abrasive than salt.  They contain granulated sugar or brown sugar, an oil base (often coconut) and other moisturizing agents.   
  • Salt Body Scrubs.   Using a combination of different grades of sea salt (such as Epson, course, Himalayan pink) will remove toxins from your skin’s surface and great for healing properties as well.  Adding almond or coconut oils will create a more nourishing scrub, along with essential oils to a dd relaxing aromatherapy to your scrub.
  • Coffee Body Scrubs.  The amazing smell of coffee aside, this type of scrub has anti-inflammatory properties and said to help improve blood circulation.  The anti-oxidants found in coffee helps give your skin a radiant glow and reduces fine lines and wrinkles.  as well.  

5. Natural ingredients for the win.

What you eat matters.   Nuts and seeds for example are filled with fiber, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids that are fantastic for your skin and health.  Not everyone likes to snack on nuts or seeds on its own, so perhaps next time you make a banana loaf, try adding some walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds; all of which are great to protect your skin.

The magic of coconut oil.  We use organic coconut oils in all our sugar and salt scrubs.  It is an excellent moisturizer and packed with antioxidants.  In fact, the primary fatty acid of coconut oil is lauric acid with anti-fungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral properties.  It can be applied directly to skin or consumed naturally in foods.

6. Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water.

Water exists throughout the body and the percentage of water in the body varies depending on your age and sex.  On average, our bodies are made of between 45–75% water and that level is optimal to keeps our cells plump and healthy.  When you’re dehydrated on the inside, your skin starts to look and feel dry and dull and in turn, any fine lines will become more visible. 

Contrary to the summer months when you feel hot and sweaty, you might not be as thirsty during the winter, but your body is still losing water.  Try to minimize the number of caffeinated drinks you have each day, and stay hydrated with water, decaf coffee and tea, and herbal teas.

I hope you’ll find these 6 natural remedies helpful for you and your family.   Say no more to dry, itchy skin!

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