You know winter is here when you wake up one fine morning with dry chapped lips and parched skin. And no matter how much water you drink, it never seems enough to fully quench your thirst. While those with naturally oily skin may welcome the season, winter can be quite a pain for people with combination or dry skin. Because of lack of natural moisture, dry skin wrinkles faster than oily skin and in winter, if left untreated, it can become rough, itchy and in extreme circumstances, it can appear to corrode.
Fear not dry-skin kin, there are a few things you can do to ensure that your skin remains soft, supple and moisturised both from the outside and from within, during this rather unforgiving season. Your skin is the largest and fastest-growing organ in your body, so it would be wise to focus on keeping it well. It is a living, breathing organism so what you put on it and inside your body, both affects its health.
Use 100 per cent natural coconut oil as a moisturiser and ditch over-the-counter commercially sold moisturising creams. Coconut oil is incredibly nutritious for your skin and is used as a base for most beauty products and creams. It contains saturated fats that eliminate moisture that is lost through the pores of your skin. It also behaves as a disinfectant and prevent sores or wounds from falling prey to external bacteria.
Worried about dry and parched skin? Read on to learn what you can do to help yourself
Coconut oil also contains Vitamin E which is essential for healthy skin growth, repair of wear and tear on the skin, keeps it smooth and protects against cracking. It also contains anti-ageing properties and proteins that keep the skin healthy, rejuvenated and help in cellular repair of the skin.
You can use coconut oil as a base for your make-up, both as a day and night cream and as a moisturiser for your feet. One tip for the winter season would be to moisturise your entire skin with coconut oil before going to bed. You won’t wake up with skin that feels parched and dry.
You can also keep your skin moisturised by using natural honey as a face or body wash as it will nourish your skin and clean it without leaving it dry. Using milk cream as a face pack also helps to nourish and moisturise your skin.
For those who have an aloe vera plant at home can cut off a small patch and squeeze the gel out from it to use on their skin. Aloe vera has antiseptic, antifungal and soothing properties that help when applied on dry and irritated skin and can prevent flaking. It will also form a protective layer on your skin.
Winter is also the season in which dandruff thrives. The skin on your scalp sheds faster than anywhere else on your body and this process becomes faster in winter. It would be wise to invest in a strong anti-dandruff shampoo and use it several times a week. The correct way of using it would be to apply coconut or any other natural hair oil to your hair a couple of hours before washing. That will serve to nourish and moisturise dry hair. The second step is to use a regular, mild shampoo to wash off impurities that may have built up on your scalp, on top of the dandruff itself. And then finally, for the second wash you apply the dandruff shampoo and keep it in for at least 10-15 minutes before washing it off. Because you are washing your hair twice in this process, it would be wise to moisturise hair beforehand. You can use a conditioner after the second wash but be careful that it doesn’t reach your scalp — that can aggravate dandruff.
It goes without saying that you must drink as much water as you can — at least, anywhere between eight to 12 glasses a day — to keep yourself hydrated. Having said that, hydration doesn’t work the other way around — showers and long baths serve to dehydrate you further and rob your skin of its natural oil. That doesn’t mean one is suggesting you go without showering or bathing at all, cleanliness is essential for good health, but try not to overdo it — stick to shorter showers and baths with lukewarm water at most as hot water dehydrates faster.
Also, moisturise while skin is still damp. Pat your skin dry with a towel instead of rubbing it and then apply your chosen moisturising agent.
Published in Dawn, Sunday Magazine, November 16th, 2014