Baby, it’s still cold outside! And the heat is on everywhere, blowing hot dry air all around to keep us warm. The cold and dry air can wreak havoc on our skin. Dry, cracked hands, chapped lips, and itchy skin from head to toe, sound all too familiar this winter?
The Paradox: Water Dries Out Your Skin
Soap is great for washing hands through the day to keep the germs at bay, but with harsh detergents and chemicals it can also diminish natural oils that our skin needs to stay hydrated. And while antibacterial soaps can kill bacteria, it can be indiscriminate, also killing the good bacteria that lives on the skin’s microbiome.
The first ingredient found in most soap is plain tap water. We know we should drink plenty of clean, filtered water to stay hydrated, and this is most important in the winter, when you may not be taking in enough fluids (because you aren’t sweating in summer’s heat). But water isn’t necessarily hydrating for the skin; your fingers look like raisins after a long bath because the water is pulling the natural hydration out, leaving skin drier and the moisture barrier depleted. Tap water is also going to contain micro amounts of chemicals, like chlorine, so steering clear will increase the skin’s natural moisture level.
Swap Your Soap for Oil!
For your delicate face and body, swapping your soap for a nourishing oil cleanser can make a big difference for dry and even oily skin. Gentle, natural (read those labels!) soaps are the way to go for areas like hands, feet, underarms, and private bits, but for the rest of your skin, oil cleansing will attract any make-up or excess oils on the skin, leaving your face and body, clean and soft. For those with dry skin, oil cleansing will help replenish the oils your skin is yearning for, leaving it plump and hydrated, not tight and dry. For those with oily and acne prone skin, don’t panic – there are oil cleansers with you in mind as well. Stripping the necessary oils from your skin barrier can lead to unbalanced oily skin as your dermis will overproduce the natural oils to try and re-balance itself.
Jojoba oil is a crowd standout when oil cleansing. It’s gentle and effective and contains lipids similar to the skin’s natural lipids to replenish and lubricate the skin. And it’s friendly oil for those with oily skin! It helps to clear stubborn clogged pores by dissolving the settled sebum without disrupting the skin’s natural microbiome. Straight organic jojoba oil as a first step in your nightly skin care routine is cost effective and nontoxic! A quarter size amount of jojoba oil warmed up in the palms and then massaged over the face at night is a great way to break down and remove make-up. Wipe clean with a clean warm wet washcloth. Next, using jojoba or a pre-mixed cleansing oil (Primally Pure is a fantastic organic, economic brand!) add a quarter sized amount of oil to your washcloth and massage in small circles over the face. For the body, in a warm shower follow the same plan using a bit more oil and larger circles. The washcloth and circular motion will lift away the day and leave your skin clean without the drying effects of soaps.
A Final Moisturizing Measure: Dry Brushing!
Over exfoliating can damage the skin and cause uneven, patchy texture! If you use a washcloth or loofah in your shower, odds are you are already exfoliating. Instead of using a body scrub that probably contains chemicals and harsh exfoliants that might cause micro tears, reach for a brush instead (try Walmart or Amazon). Dry brushing the face and body has numerous benefits!
Body brushes will have a stiffer bristle than a face brush, so only use a brush designed for your face on your face! Brushing over the body will stimulate and increase circulation, bringing fresh blood and nutrients to the skin, increasing collagen production, and stimulating the lymphatic system. It only takes a few minutes a day. (I prefer to dry brush in the mornings – it’s invigorating and awakens my entire body!)
For the body, start with clean, dry skin, brushing from your feet towards the heart, moving up the legs and to the torso. Then brush the hands and arms toward the heart.
For the face, using a face brush, start by brushing the neck behind the ears to the collarbone. Then brush from the center of your face outward and finish by again brushing the neck behind the ear to the collarbone. Follow up with a moisturizer all over to seal and hydrate.
Your body will feel invigorated, and your skin will thank you!