Friday, October 30, 2009

Oh the weather outside is .... drying my skin!

I love fall and winter but as the temperature drops in my area, so does the humidity and that means dry skin. Reaching for a bottle of lotion may seem like the right solution but it can actually make the situation worse in some cases. And some lotions are full of bad-for-you ingredients. So, let's talk about some Eco-friendly ways to keep our skin supple and soft.

Begin on the Inside

  • Drink water! Yep ... good, old-fashioned water. Water keeps us healthy in many ways ... our brains function better when we're properly hydrated, our organs work efficiently and our skin stays lush and beautiful. So ... drink 6-8 glasses of water a day.

  • Eat a well-balanced diet. What we put into bodies affects our skin so eat well-balanced meals every day. Be sure to include plenty of foods which contain the following vitamins which are particularly beneficial to skin:
C (for example, leafy green vegetables and citrus fruits)
A (carrots, spinach, dried apricots, etc.)
B (found in bananas, oatmeal, etc.)
K (try asparagus, kale, okra, etc.)
E (almonds, sweet potatoes, wheat germ oil, etc.)

On the Outside

  • Love long, hot showers or baths? While they are relaxing and luxurious, they aren't good for skin. Avoid hot water and opt for short showers (it also saves water and energy which is very Eco-friendly).

  • Use a mild soap. Harsh detergents dry out the skin.

  • Moisturize immediately after a shower when skin is most able to absorb. If you use a commercial product, look for natural, healthy ingredients (we'll talk about ingredients to avoid in a bit). Also look for third-party endorsements ... some reliable groups to look for are: Ecocert, USDA Certified Organic, BDIH and the Leaping Bunny label.

  • Consider using olive oil, almond oil, avocado and even oatmeal to naturally moisturize your skin. Oils can be rubbed onto your body and oatmeal can be placed in a mesh bag then tossed into a bath where it will sooth and moisturize.

  • Watch the temperature of your home ... keeping it too hot will dry out one's skin.

  • Cover up. When the temperature outside drops, be sure to cover your skin when going out. Use gloves, scarves, etc. and apply moisturizer before facing the elements.

Ingredients to Avoid

When buying commercial lotions and moisturizers, check the labels ... some include ingredients derived from petroleum or natural gas which have negative health effects (and, being non-renewable resources, they aren't very earth friendly). Avoid these ingredients:

  • Antibacterials
  • Coal-tars
  • Diethanolamine (DEA)
  • 1,4-dioxane
  • Formaldehyde
  • Fragrance
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Nanoparticles
  • Parabens
  • Petroleum distillates
  • p-phenylenediamine
  • Hydroquinone

Watch out for misleading terms which are not defined by the government or by independent third parties:

  • Fragrance-free
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Cruelty-free

The weather outside might be frightful ... but it doesn't mean our skin needs to be!

As always, I would love to hear from you!


  1. This is a lovely, useful post. Thank you!

  2. Hi thanks for the valuable info.
    To avoid antibacterial! why?
    i wash my hands with this when i'm outside.
    Do you think vit E in pills is good for our healh?
    thank you so much.
    Have a great week-end
    hugs hugs

  3. love this post...and glad you mentioned olive oil as a natural moisturizer...when I gave up paper towels, I asked myself, how am I going to grease my casserole dishes, etc.? So I just got natural and washed my hands, and used my hands :) - then rubbed them afterwards and love the softness of them!

    I've also discovered what stearic acid is, which is in a TON of cosmetics and other products. While it is possible to obtain this from vegetable fats, manufacturers primarily use animal fat for this. It is a neurotoxin and as I recently read, comes "from cows and sheep and from dogs and cats euthanized in animal shelters, etc. Most often refers to a fatty substance taken from the stomachs of pigs. Can be harsh, irritating. Used in cosmetics, soaps, lubricants, candles, hairspray, conditioners, deodorants...". And I'm having a heck of a time finding a facial moisturizer that does not have this in it!

  4. Ecocert is just up the road from me! Not sure how it works on your end but I find that health food stores have good organic products that now come in family size - including shampoos and conditioners AND skin creams. Given that the skin is the body's largest organ and absorbs at least 80% of what we put onto it, that's a good enough reason for me not to use commercial products if I can help it - and certainly not for the kids!

    I have a wee 'recycling' giveaway riddle going on over at my blog on Yesterday's post if you want to pop over before Sunday night! It's open to all!!!

  5. Hi Betty,

    Thanks for asking about antibacterial soaps. Antibacterial soaps typically contain an ingredient called Triclosan. Triclosan is a hazardous material. If you take a look at your antibacterial soap, I'll bet you'll find Triclosan. And here's the thing ... research has shown that simply washing with regular soap kills as many germs as antibacterial brands. To read more on Triclosan, here's an excellent article from the Food and Water Watch organization:

    As for taking vitamin E supplements ... well, I am not a doctor or nutritionist but my personal belief is that it's preferable to get vitamins from food rather than a pill. The only exception I make to that is vitamin B12 ... as a vegan, it's very hard to get an appropriate amount of B12 from plant based foods (the very best sources of B12 are from animals). So, I take B12 supplements. Other than that, I try to eat a varied diet, full of color, flavor and ... vitamins.

    Thanks for asking the question!


  6. Great post, TFS. I was wondering if you read my comment in the Blogcatalog Group about sunblockers? Those are very bad news as well.

  7. Aside from Vitamin C, other vitamins that can help clear and smooth the skin are vitamin A, B complex, E and zinc. It will not only promote healthy skin but as well as boosting the immune system.