Winter-Ready Skin and Hair: Tips to Take Us Through the Season
by Candy St. Martine-Pack
With colder temperatures and abrasive wind, the winter months can be especially harmful to the skin. For treating chronic skin conditions or just trying to maintain overall health, organic and holistic treatments will leave the skin healthy and nourished.
1. Go organic. Many over-the-counter products contain harsh chemicals, such as parabens, petroleum, sulfates and fragrances that can damage the skin and overall health. These products, when applied to the skin, are absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Using soaps and lotions containing natural and organic ingredients keeps the whole body healthier.
2. Choose “hot-pressed” soap. There are two main types of soap: cold-pressed and hot-pressed. Unlike cold-pressed soaps, hot-pressed soaps contain glycerin, a humectant that attracts moisture to the skin. Look for hot-pressed soaps to help skin maintain moisture and hydration. These soaps should be wrapped in plastic to prevent moisture, attracted by the glycerin, from beading up on them.
3. Limit water. When dry skin itches, we scratch, which leads to further irritation and damage. A good moisturizer will help soothe and protect the skin. Look for creams and lotions that don’t contain water as the first ingredient. Products that contain calendula oil, jojoba oil (which is more like human sebum), olive oil, tamanu oil and shea butter have important antioxidants and healing properties.
4. Be mindful with diet. Both eczema and psoriasis are considered inflammatory disorders, and while they can be quite bothersome, they can often be managed through diet and holistic treatments. Diet can have a significant impact on skin in general. Foods that contain white sugar, dairy and flour cause inflammation inside the body, aggravating not only eczema and psoriasis, but other conditions as well. People with severe skin conditions might also try avoiding nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant and other highly acidic foods.
5. Don’t skip sun protection. Protecting skin from the sun is just as important in the winter as in the summer. Snow and ice can reflect the sun and cause sunburn damage. Zinc-based total sunblock protects against both UVA and UVB rays and also acts as an antifungal treatment. Read the labels; avoid sunscreens that contain artificial ingredients that may be harmful.
6. Limit shower time. People tend to take longer, warmer showers in the winter, and the extra exposure to water can leave skin feeling dry. Try to keep shower time below 10 minutes and skip a day if possible. People with scalp psoriasis should use a shampoo that contains tea tree oil, which has antiseptic, antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, to help with itchiness and sores on the scalp.
7. Mediate mold and dust. Although humidifiers are commonly used to add moisture to the air in the winter, they can actually be cesspools for mold and other bacteria that irritate the skin and lungs. Those with severe sensitivities or allergies should keep their homes free of dust mites and make sure anything that comes into contact with their skin, such as bed linens, is covered in plastic. Frequent dusting and vacuuming is also important.
Candy St. Martine-Pack is owner and originator of Green Street Luxuries and GSL Organics, located at 617 W. Main St., Lansdale, and creates all products on-site. For more information, call 267-879-1554 or visit GSLOrganics.org.