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!