During winter, it’s a common problem to get dry skin, flaky legs, and the worst thing of all, sore throat. I used to be affected by this, well I still wake up with a sore throat on extreme days, but nowadays there’s hardly any impact on my legs, arms and face like it used to.
I decided to go straight to the main cause of dry skin and fix it. Because we all know that it doesn’t matter how much shea butter or body lotion you apply during winter-time, the flakiness will still be there the next day. If we don’t treat the cause then we’re just wasting money on lotion…
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Original posted 2014/10/3, Updated 2018/01/15
Eat watery foods
Just because it’s winter and it’s cold doesn’t mean you should forget all about raw foods. Not only do they contain all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help you stay healthy, they also contain precious electrolytes and gel water that helps your body stay hydrated. But it’s really not the fruit that does the job, you see…
When eating cooked food the body has to use up its own water reserve to digest the food. One of the reason fruit is so easily digested is because they hardly acquire any digestion because they come with their own water content and enzymes. The body can just pick up what it needs and waste the rest without compensating with its own tools.
I always say that drinking isn’t normal, because we humans always seem to mix thirst signals with hunger, and I choke myself to death every time I try to drink lol Also most of us favor flavored water, unless we’ve been through an extensive workout, then we’ll drink pretty much anything in sight. We are meant to drink what we eat, so don’t forget to indulge in high water content fruits and greens like iceberg lettuce. But don’t get me wrong, you should still drink water!
Drinking with cooked food will ruin the digestive fire, slow down the digestive process and make you feel bloated… Well, so they say. While hydrating in-between meals is a better choice, sipping (read: not chugging it in!) on some liquids during your meal can actually be good for digestion and prevent dehydration.
Winter is the season of not only cooked foods but also hot beverages, like tea. I’d suggest going for herbal teas that don’t contain caffeine which is very diuretic and taxes the liver. Some warm water over ginger and a squeeze of lemon are enough to keep your body warm and moist.
Avoid Foaming Cleansers
Harsh alkaline foaming cleansers strip down your natural oils that form an acid mantel and leaves your skin feeling tight and dry.
These types of cleansers are even too harsh for oily skin types for they dry out the skin, which in turn makes the skin produce even more oil. Avoiding strong alcoholic toners is also advised.
Look into the gentle oil cleansing method (no steam) or go for low pH cleansers. If you suffer from very dry skin you might even want to look into foaming- and sulfate-free cleansers that have more hydrating and soothing properties.
My formula for treating dry skin:
- Don’t wash your face in the morning – a splash of cold water or face mist followed up with a moisturizer is enough.
- Don’t mechanically exfoliate more than once a week, and don’t steam your face more than 2 times a week. Opt for Lactic Acid chemical exfoliants as lactic acid is the only AHA that has the ability to stimulate hyaluronan in the skin.
- Be wary of Hyaluronic Acid – the way it works is by drawing moisture from the air. But during winter, the climate can be dry, and thus draws moisture from the skin instead of the opposite.
- Keeping a facial mist on hand to spray throughout the day – especially when working near computers and radiators.
- Wash your face in the evening with gentle milk- or balm cleanser. If you wear none to just a little bit of makeup: wipe your face using a cotton pad with some oil on and end with a moisturizer.
Skip the long and hot showers
It may be nice to step into a hot bath or steaming shower after being outside in the cold, but hot temperatures tend to dry out our skin even more. The hot water, just as harsh cleansers above, removes our protective oils leaving us dry and itchy. Hot showers + harsh cleansers and we’ve got double trouble. Go for lukewarm showers and baths and try cleansing your body with a damp cloth and oil.
Invest in a Humidifier
The number one reason why the skin gets dry in the winter is the dry air from the cold outside and the heat from the radiators inside. To solve the problem we need to recreate humid summer air in our home and workplace. A humidifier adds water vapor to the air, which helps the skin keep its moisture.
Humidifiers can be somewhat expensive, but a small one to keep near your desk or bed is a good investment. If you’re on a really tight budget, one way is to put bowls with lukewarm water or a damp towel on top of the radiator. This will bring up the humidity level in the room letting your skin hold on to its moisture. To actually know if the environment you’re in is dry you can easily purchase a hygrometer to check. Check out my review of the humidifier Oskar by Stadler Form.
How to increase humidity in a room without a humidifier:
- Dry your laundry in the middle of a room.
- Put a damp towel over your radiators and don’t forget to re-dampen them.
- If you’re able, turn off the radiators and wear warm clothes instead.
- If you take baths, leave the water in the tub after you’ve finished bathing. Letting it sit and cool allows moisture to evaporate into the air.
- Fill empty vases and bowls with water to put around the room.
- Spray water on curtains.
Green is the new black
Another way to fight off dry air is to get help from nature by turning your home into a mini tropical forest, decorating it with plants that not only work as air purifiers but also humidifiers. When a plant is watered, moisture travels from the roots up to the pores that are on the underside of the leaves. These pores release moisture, which will then increase the humidity level in the room. All plants work wonders, but plants like palms that are adapted to tropical areas work even more efficient at it.
Got other great tips for dry skin?
Share them in the comments below!