Protect Your Skin from Old Man Winter

By Alicia Diaz-Verson

As the mercury drops and leaves begin to fall, our skin can begin to take on a less than desirable appearance.  Winter weather brings an onslaught of blistery breezes and dry, cool air that act as skin irritants and moisture sappers. Add an overabundance of indoor heat and you’ve got a recipe for disastrous skin.

While some may consider dry skin as nothing more than a nuisance, others realize the vital role skin plays as the body’s largest organ.  In the average adult, skin covers about 3,000 square inches and weighs around six pounds, which is nearly twice the weight of the human brain or liver. The skin receives about one third of the blood that circulates through the body. It’s rugged, flexible and practically waterproof.

As the harsh winter elements deplete essential moisture from skin, it’s important to take preventative measures to protect your skin. By just making a few small adjustments to your hygiene habits, you can safeguard your skin.  And, you can do so in an eco-friendly way that’s good for you and good for the environment.

Because our bodies absorb ingredients found in everyday personal care products, it’s important to look for natural ingredients that are safe for the body to ingest.   Purchasing all-natural products will help you avoid potentially dangerous ingredients such as parabens, fragrance, and phthalates.  And remember, the FDA doesn’t regulate cosmetics and personal care, so buyers must beware.

Below is a guide to achieving soft and supple skin, lips, hair and nails.

Problem: Dry, flaky skin.
Solution: Switch to a soap-free cleanser.
On your face, use a milder cleanser such as Avalon Organic’s Vitamin C Hydrating Cleansing Milk, which allows you to gently remove dirt and impurities while maintaining moisture levels.  For the body, Alba Botanica’s Coconut Cream Milk Body Wash offers emollient-rich ingredients that replenish skin’s natural oils and leave you smelling like a tropical paradise.

After changing cleansers, put away your everyday skin salver in favor of a heavier moisturizer.  A more emollient-rich moisturizer will help combat severe dryness.  Restore moisture to your face with Boscia’s Recharging Night Moisture.  Then soften your body with Burt’s Bees Rich and Repairing Cocoa Butter & Macadamia Nut Body Butter.

Problem: Chapped lips.
Solution: Use conditioning lipsticks or moisture lip treatments.
Lips don’t have oil glands, so they succumb to dryness much easier.  Switch to a conditioning lipstick, such as Josie Maran’s all-natural lipstick.  Not only will you have beautiful color, you’ll also enjoy the added benefits of jojoba seed oil, coconut cream, organic argan oil, all designed to replenish moisture and suppleness to your lips.  If you want to forgo color on your lips, consider Amore Pacific’s Moisture Bound Lip Treatment, which binds hydration to lips for up to eight hours in a gel texture.

Problem: Rebellious hair
Solution: Use a nourishing shampoo.
A lack of humidity can lead to good hair days, without the need to battle frizz. However, much like skin, hair takes a beating with a lack of moisture.  Formulated with ingredients that create healthy hair from the inside out, Jonathan Product Green Rootine Nourishing Shampoo is a good choice for winter hair care.

Problem: Cracked hands, brittle nails.
Solution: Use vitamin enhanced lotion.
Because hands are often exposed to outdoor weather, they can easily become severely dry and cracked.  Try Jason’s Vitamin E Hand and Body Lotion.  Enriched with wheat germ oil and vitamins A and C, it relieves and nourishes dry skin.

More winter beauty tips . . .
To supplement the moisture in your immediate surroundings, use a humidifier in your home.  Or, you can create a winter wonderland by introducing new plants to your home.  Not only will the plants diffuse much needed moisture, they can also help alleviate the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Also, limit your skin’s exposure to water. Not only does this safeguard you from drying out your skin, it also saves precious water!   And remember to hydrate from the inside out.  Increase your consumption of water and other non-caffeinated fluids and eat more fish, nuts and dark, leafy greens.  After all, your skin’s health is an indicator of your internal health.

Geography Matters
Climates vary from coast to coast, yielding mild, moderate and intense winters.  In areas with extreme winters, such as the Northeast, humidity levels decline as central heating doles out hot, dry air, wreaking havoc on your skin.  Although considerably warmer, desert areas, like the Southwest, are more likely to produce dry skin due to a lack of moisture.  Meanwhile, higher-than-average levels of humidity can be found in areas like the Southeast and the Pacific Northwest, allowing skin to be better moisturized.  So, to adjust your beauty routine properly, consider your local environment and climate to determine what steps to take.

Hello, Beautiful!
Follow these guidelines and you can bid adieu to undesirable winter skin while choosing products that befriend the environment.  Take care of your skin, and it will take care of you!  If you’re unsure, consult with your dermatologist to find the most suitable, products for your skin.