Even though I live a bare mile from the ocean and tucked up under a ridge that pools the fog around our house nearly daily, in January my skin is totally parched.
It isn’t just my skin. I feel emotionally parched in winter, too.
But first, the skin. While we think of dehydration as a side effect of hot weather and sweat, it is also common in winter. After all, up to 60% of our body weight is water, and it only takes a 1-2% drop to cause dehydration.
Dry forced air heating and wood burning stoves suck the moisture from the air in your house, and excess water being flushed from your system while your body trys to stay warm work together to dry you right out.
Here are a few ways I fight dehydration and nourish my skin in the winter months:
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Cold water may not be so appealing in frigid weather, but you still need the liquid. Hydrate up with warm drinks and water-rich foods (fruit and soup). A common rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in fluid ounces. Limit caffeinated beverages and alcohol, which are both diuretics and will cause your body to flush even more water out of your system. Hot herbal tea is my friend in the winter. Lately I’ve been loving this chamomile-lavender blend from Traditional Medicinals.
I apply an all-over moisturizer right after I get out of the shower. Whatever body lotion you like is great, but I’ve really become partial to a very rich whipped lotion I made myself. You can find a really straight-forward recipe here (and a less oily version here). This stuff is seriously rich, and my skin just soaks it up. Making my own in small batches means I can scent it with whatever oils appeal to me, which changes with the season.
Baby Your Face
A few years ago, after dealing with mild but persistent monthly acne for ages, I tossed out all of my facial cleansers and started cleaning my face with oil in my morning shower instead. It sounds weird but it works. The breakouts ceased and I never looked back. While this simple skin care regime keeps my face clear and baby soft most of the year, I need an extra boost in the winter. So I’ve started using the Regenerating Serum from Frangipani on my face in the evening, too. it smooths out the rough itchy spots that I feel by the end of the day and also it smells great!
Feed Your Feet
The skin on my feet is my dehydration bellwether. When my heels get dry and itchy, I know I need to take action quickly or the rest of my body is going to be dry and itchy by the next day. I use two heavy hitters to care for my feet in winter: A rich shea-butter based lotion, and a daily sugar and oil scrub in the shower.
My favorite foot lotion is Bee All Natural’s Intense Hand & Foot Salve. Thin hand lotion just doesn’t seem to make a difference on my feet. This salve is thick and greasy, so slather it on and then put socks on!
I make my oil shower scrub, using this recipe. It is simple to make with ingredients I already have in my kitchen and it is very effective.
I love lip balm, but I’m also so picky about it. It has to smell good, have just the right texture, and not have any scary ingredients in it. My current favorite is this Roseberry Dogoba Chocolate Lip Balm. Yum.
Whatever you use, keep it where you’ll use it. I keep one in my bathroom, one in my purse, one on my desk, and one in the drawer of the table next to the couch. Anytime my lips are dry, I’m sure to have a tube of balm right near by!
Staying on top of body and skin hydration is just one way to keep your whole self nourished in the winter. I’ll be back with more winter-time soul-care ideas in a few days.