This crisp weather is glorious for getting out and about, doing things without sweating (too much), and enjoying the gentler rays of the sun. But it's very drying for our skin...
When we think of cold weather skin care, one particular thing comes to mind, and that's 'barrier function'. Let's take a look at how we can best protect and heal our skin during cold weather and how our skin is most threatened. Our skin is literally holding us together and it needs proper support from the inside out. Regular intake of good fats and oils (avocado, olives, eggs, nuts and seeds, some grains, oily fish) paired with purely natural topical skincare products, promotes strong skin that can withstand the elements and indoor temperatures too.
With the onset of cold weather I prep for keeping my skin in good condition by using a blend of carrier oils and some nourishing botanical butter to fortify the stratum corneum and promote the best barrier function. Protecting from wind, cold, sun, and, from the heavier layers of clothing that go with colder weather. Covering the skin constantly isn't great and there's the added layer (nyuk nyuk nyuk), that potential synthetic fragrances from *detergents and softeners will be against your skin for longer periods of time.
To regain structure in the skin there's nothing quite like using body butter after a shower. A blend that is completely synthetic free helps to build skin from a cellular level and seeing as there are usually fewer ingredients, if you are prone to reactive skin, you won't have too many ingredients to eliminate to find your trigger. Helpful! I write this tip from many years of experience...
BodyVelvets are a blend of Shea Butter with other carrier oils and some aromatics. Some of these aromatic essential oils are helpful for dermatitis if used in the low concentrations, like they are in the BodyVelvet blends. Shea Butter is fantastic as a skin nourishment and protective. It even has its own small SPF rating, but the gold of it lies in the regenerative properties which will assist you to turn over skin cell production faster and therefore help to heal quicker. Use a BodyVelvet on wet skin after showering or bathing. Massage small amounts in and allow to absorb before dressing. If your skin feels oily you've used too much.
MEM's products don't contain filler ingredients like water, preservatives, glycols or synthetic penetrating ingredients, so the rule is that you use about a quarter to a third of what you may use of a mainstream lotion.
Yes, this means your BodyVelvet will last a long time! For this reason I strongly suggest you always use the wooden spatula you receive with your order to get a small amount out of your tub. Water can affect and contaminate the pure natural blends, so avoiding using your fingers 'in the pot' is a good idea.
SOAPFREE AND CLEAN
If the onset of cold weather brings out reactions like psoriasis, eczema, keratosis pilaris or any outbreak of dermatitis, the use of soap needs to stop. You may feel that you need to 'clean' the skin more; and so your mind immediately considers soap and antiseptics, but the reality is you will make your skin weaker, more inflamed and more prone to outbreaks. Think gently. Think kindly towards yourself. Practice sympathy with your skin and wash it with warm to cool water, botanical powder cleansers and avoid soap altogether. You may even find that a gentle clay cleansing is the best option. Using a blend of Kaolin Clay and an MPO (MultiPurpose Oil) will help to cleanse skin as the clay draws impurities out of the dermis, while the oils replenish the surface layers, leaving you with clean, soft and supple skin.
Some people may need to start rebuilding skin even more slowly with a basic body moisturiser in the form of a MultiPurpose Body Oil like AngelWings. This premium blend of Calendula in Olive Oil, Vanilla infused Jojoba and Camellia Seed Oil, has a tiny amount (less than 0.5%) of Rosemary oil in the blend to act as an antioxidant. The natural oils are best massaged into clean skin while it is wet after a shower or bath. Gently bringing blood and lymph fluid into and through the top layers of skin helps to naturally detoxify and promote rapid skin regeneration, so it's a must-do for anyone with skin issues.
PROTECT & HEAL YOUR HANDS
This information is not just for cold weather, but during this season we will feel warmer and more comfortable with a well established oil barrier and a strong skin surface. Hands are probably our worst affected area apart from cheeks and lips! Use Au Naturel All Purpose Balm to create a very strong barrier that will also feed the skin while it's on. It helps to heal cracks, soothe chapped and flaky skin, soften calluses and provide a protective layer against water, wind and sun. Apply it regularly through the day and you'll find your skin improves in 48hrs or less.
Both Au Naturel and AngelWings are on the 'LOW OR ZERO EO'S' page where you'll find a range of products specifically for sensitive skin soothing, repair and maintenance.
Keep warm and cosy-up to a purely natural way of looking after your skin during colder weather, through any weather!
PS: But what about exfoliation?
For sensitive skin, exfoliation is best kept to using a soft cloth with warm water. If you can handle some essential oils, try one of the Powdered Body Wash blends. 'Peace and Quiet' Powdered BodyWash, OR 'Soothe' Facial Cleansing Powder are best to start with. Once the skin is healed, stronger and happy for a long period of time (at least 28 to 31 days), you could use a gentle exfoliating bodyscrub. ALL of MEM's BodyWash and Body Scrubs are absolutely synthetic-free and soap-free.
*Exposure to mainstream detergents can lead to little outbreaks of dermatitis or a general irritation. So, to avoid this I recommend always choosing a fragrance free or low and naturally fragranced detergent for washing. For years I only used Soapnuts, Bicarb Soda and White Vinegar. Later I found ionic washballs, and they worked amazingly well. Have a look around and see what you can find. This regime helped to avoid my skin being irritated. Now I can go back to using some safe detergent now and again. A couple of detergents you may consider are Dirt, Happi, or Ecostore. Soapnuts are available from so many natural outlets now and the eco wash balls are also quite mainstream, however not in supermarkets yet.
Then there's the fabric itself. For anyone with sensitive skin you'll understand the bliss of finding organic cotton, hemp or bamboo clothing for your under-layers. The sheer relief is worth a fireworks extravaganza! I'm sure anyone who's had dermatitis will agree. But that won't help at all if the detergent you use is laced with synthetics, so do your research, find a solution and be happier.