Falling leaves, apples and cider, pumpkin everything, scarves and boots, crisp evenings – there are so many things to love about the fall. One thing that’s not so great is how the cold weather affects my skin. If you’re anything like me, as soon as the cold weather hits (or maybe more accurately, the DRY warm ::cough – office – cough:: air arrives), your skin dries up within days. My skin gets flaky and itchy (my ankles especially, so weird – anyone else??), and I am constantly grabbing for lotion and lip balm and anything to get some relief! If you are in the same boat, I have some hacks for staying warm hopefully without drying out your skin, along with some ways to hydrate the largest organ of your body! (Yes, that’s your skin).
Moisturizer is pretty much a staple in my house (or office, or purse) all. the. time. Not only do I use a daily moisturizer on my face, but I have a well stocked collection of lotions, scrubs, and balms everywhere. By definition, the goal of moisturizer is to sink into your skin, ideally to nourish and hydrate it. In reality, however, a lot of skin care products are loaded with chemicals, many of which are untested and can be toxic to our bodies (especially over time as they accumulate). According to the Environmental Working Group, the American government doesn’t require health studies or pre-market testing of the chemicals in personal care products, even though nearly everyone is exposed to them. I often reference the EWG’s Skin Deep database to find better products with fewer or safer chemicals so I know what I’m putting on my body (that is then getting absorbed by my body) is safe and sustainable. I talk a little more about the database in this Little Seed post. I haven’t done must research about this yet, but it appears that the EWG now also has a certification – EWG verified – for personal care products. You can read about that certification here.
Some of my favorite moisturizing products are: Aya Natural’s Facial Moisturizer Natural Day Cream, Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Creme, Burt’s Bees Peppermint Lip Balm, Trader Joe’s Head to Toe Moisturizing Balm, and Aveeno Active Naturals Skin Relief 24 Hour Moisturizing Lotion. Another option is you can make your own lotions and then you can really control what’s going on your body! I promise they’re not difficult to make either! I’ve made this body butter and this shaving cream (for men, although I bet with different essential oils it’d be great for ladies too). There’s a bunch of others I’d like to try including this whipped sleepytime rub that just sounds decadent, and so many others from this extensive list.
Add Some H2O to the Air
One of the reasons winter air is so awful when it comes to dry skin is that there is very little moisture in the air. One thing that can really help is adding a humidifier (or several) to places you spend a lot of time. I have a small little one in my office (which several coworkers have seen and adopted) and it makes such a big difference in my work space. My sinuses are less dry and congested, my skin is less itchy, and my eyes aren’t as dry. The one I have is the Best Cool & Warm Mist Humidifier by JZK. I also have a cool mist humidifier for my bedroom. Another awesome option is a non-electric humidifier; especially for offices, living rooms, or other places you don’t want to hear/see the ‘mist’. These use evaporation to add water to the air, so they’re very passive and don’t use any energy at all! One of my favorites is the EasyComforts Room Humidifier, but if you do a search on Amazon for non-electric humidifiers, there are a ton of cool options!
Heat It Up!
On a similar note, part of the reason why the air gets so dry is because we’re heating it up so much. Not only are space heaters really inefficient (anything that produces heat is generally inefficient since heat is “wasted” energy), but they dry out the air and depending on other factors, can be a fire hazard. Instead of using a space heater, try using a heating pad instead. Not the old-school kind that you plug in (since those can also be a fire hazard), but the kind filled with rice that you can pop in the microwave for a couple of minutes. I have a couple of these (homemade Christmas gifts 🙂 ), and I LOVE them! I pop them into the microwave and then curl up with them under a blanket and I’m warm for hours! Another awesome thing that I love doing is heating them up and then throwing them under the covers before I get in bed. There’s something about climbing into a toasty warm bed in the cold-weather months that feels so luxurious. If you’re a crafter (or at least have access to a sewing machine), there are a couple of tutorials for making these here, or here, or a smaller, hand warmer version here. If you’re not able to make your own, there are tons on Etsy (a couple are this one, this one, and this one). I have also found that pretty much everyone loves these – kids and adults, men and women, even my cat is a huge fan! But who doesn’t like to be snuggley and warm in the winter?!
What are some hacks you use to avoid or deal with the dreaded dry skin in the winter? Have you ever made your own lotions? Any favorite ‘recipes’?