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How to Help Dry Winter Skin
The weather is changing. The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder. Depending on where you live, you may have already powered up your heater or started fires. Your skin may have started to notice the change in the weather as well.
When we heat our homes, we tend to "dry out" the air. Our dry skin is often one of the first indications that we need more moisture. And if you spend a lot of time outdoors, the cold temperatures and cold winds can cause even more damage to your skin. Skin that is suddenly drier, itchier, or more chapped is a good indication that the weather changes are negatively impacting your skin and that it needs some extra care.
To combat all the ups and downs that the seasons throw at you, you need healthy, strong skin. Skin that is regularly given the nutrients and protection it needs can remain smooth and baby soft despite the colder temperatures.
Fortunately, there are several easy steps you can take to improve the condition of your skin.
Add moisture back to the air. You may not have control over the air your skin comes into contact with outside, but you can definitely control your indoor air. A humidifier is a simple step to introducing moisture to your air. For a more old fashioned solution, I make soups and bone broths all winter long. The constant simmering of boiling of the soup stock adds lots of moisture to the air. Since we heat our home with wood, the air can get very dry, and our "soup habit" definitely makes a noticeable difference.
Stay hydrated internally. It's always a good idea to drink enough water. We aim for half the pounds of our body weight in ounces. For example, a hundred pound person should drink at least 50 oz of water daily. We also tend to drink a lot more tea during the winter which helps us stay hydrated. Drinking enough water helps moisturize your skin from the inside out.
Avoid detergents that can dry out your skin. Most commercial soaps you find at the grocery store are detergents and not true soaps. They use chemicals such as surfactants to clean your skin. These chemicals can be harsh on your skin and leave your skin feeling tight, dry, itchy, and red. They can make winter skin worse by further drying out already dry skin. They can also exacerbate oily skin types because drying out the skin causes increased oil production in order to compensate for the increased dryness.
Avoid harsh cleaning agents or wear gloves. Using chemical detergents to clean your home or your dishes can also further dry out and irritate your skin. Use simpler products to clean, like vinegar and baking soda, or protect your skin with gloves. We use our bar soap or liquid soap to wash our dishes. They get the dishes clean while protecting our skin.
Make sure your laundry cleaner isn't drying out your skin. Most commercial laundry detergents contain chemicals that bind to your clothing. These chemicals either trick your eyes into making you think your clothes are cleaner and brighter than they actually are. Or they trick your nose by using perfumes to cover up the odor of your clothes. These chemicals remain on your clothes and towels, and sheets and come into constant contact with your skin. They can irritate and dry out your skin. Instead, use a natural laundry soap that washes clean and won't cause your skin any irritation when it cleans your clothes.
"Fantastic soap! Only a small amount needed. It really helps with my sensitive skin. I was getting a rash from commercial detergent." - Robin
Use a moisturizing bar of goat milk soap. For the health of your skin, it's important to avoid detergents and to take care of your skin with high quality, natural soaps. Most handmade soaps are superior to commercial bars, but soaps made with goat milk (instead of plain water) have an extra ingredient added that is super moisturizing on your skin. The goat milk contains vitamins, minerals, creams, and alpha hydroxy acids, all of which can moisturize and protect your skin from the colder, winter air.
Avoid liquid lotions which require chemical preservatives. When you purchase a liquid lotion (one in a pump or squirt tube), it's important to realize the steps needed to make that a less dangerous product. Since bacteria grows in liquid environments, the manufacturer of your liquid lotion needs to add chemical preservatives to prevent bacterial growth. I personally don't believe these preservatives are healthy for you or for your skin and avoiding them altogether is why I started making soap in the first place.
Use a safe, solid goat milk lotion for extra moisturizing. Goat Milk Stuff makes a solid lotion because we believe it is safer for you and your skin. A solid environment is not friendly to growing bacteria. The solid lotions are the consistency of lip balm and are applied by passing the lotion stick over your skin and then rubbing it in. After years of experimentation, we've even discovered a method to safely add dehydrated goat milk to the solid lotions so that you get the benefits of goat milk without the dangers of the liquid environment.
"My husband usually has very dry skin every winter, but not this year. I have hands that crack and bleed in the cold, but not this year. My three children are all doing better using the GMS soap. I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate your testimony and that the soap has done in our family. Thank you."
If your skin is really struggling during the winter, we recommend starting with the unscented Purity goat milk soap and the Unscented solid lotion. Once your skin is in better condition, you can try different scents to see how your skin handles the added scent.
Take care of your skin this winter! It works hard to keep you safe and deserves to be treated well. The benefits of goat milk soap will keep your skin smooth and irritation-free no matter what the weather does.