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Natural Remedies for Dry Winter Skin

March 1, 2020

The biting, cold winds of this recent cold snap were not kind to my skin. Despite keeping my hands protected with gloves whenever possible, they feel like sandpaper, and the skin on my face is dry and taught. And then there are the chapped lips. Hundreds of commercial skin care products out there promise a cure, claiming to miraculously make dry lines and wrinkles disappear, giving you the skin texture of a baby. Uh-huh. Sure.

Claims aside, many of these products contain chemicals that can be harsher than Wisconsin winter winds. In my 20s and early 30s, my bathroom was stocked with almost every fruity, flowery scented skin product available. But it wasn’t until later into adulthood that I started to question why pure lavender essential oil is clear, but the lavender-scented body wash I used was bright purple. And really, how can a hand lotion manufacturer succeed in trapping the fresh scent of the ocean into a bottle?

The answers were in the paragraph-long lists of unpronounceable ingredients on the back labels. I gradually learned to screen those marketing gimmicks aimed to sell skin care products chock full of synthetic scents and artificial colors that can actually dry the skin (to sell more lotion?) and cause sensitivities.

These days, I’m a minimalist when it comes to body care products, and many ingredients right in my own kitchen provide nourishment for not only the inner body, but also for the outside. Pure coconut oil makes an excellent moisturizer and heals dry, cracked skin. Just dab a little right from the jar and blend into any dry areas on the skin. I use it around my eyes, on my legs after shaving, and on my hands.

Olive oil is also a good moisturizer. It’s a greasier than coconut oil, so swipe just a tiny bit from the lid of the bottle and massage it under the eyes or on the back of the hands.

Many lip balms are also full of artificial ingredients that do little to actually soothe chapped lips, and they also come in plastic tubes that are not recyclable. I make my own lip balm by blending one tablespoon of coconut oil, one teaspoon of almond oil, and one- half teaspoon of grated beeswax into a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on low for one to two minutes, until the beeswax has melted. You can also heat it on the stove. Stir the ingredients until well mixed and pour mixture into a small, clean container and let it cool completely. If you want to add a scent or a flavor, stir in a drop of essential oil or flavoring extract you would use for baking (like vanilla or orange) into the mixture just before pouring it into the containers.

Spring is just around the corner, but in the meantime, these few gifts from nature can help keep your skin healthy and well.

Sheila Julson is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine. 

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