With this dry cold weather it’s hardly surprising that so many people I know are complaining of cracked and itchy skin – but fear not, I have created an ultimate guide to banishing dry skin!
On the Surface
We tend to run for the bottle of cream when we get dry skin but most creams on the market not only do a shit job of hydrating your skin but contain harmful chemical preservatives like Parabens which possess estrogen-mimicking properties that can contribute to estrogen dominance and increased risk of breast cancer. Anything with fragrance (except natural essential oils) contains harmful chemical mixes that have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and may even have potential effects on the reproductive system.
Most lotions only coat the top layer of your skin and won’t actually soak into layers below and also contain Phthalates – a group of chemicals that cause endocrine disruption and are once again linked to increased risk of breast cancer.
Where possible natural organic moisturizers that containing clean ingredients are best as they soak into the skin. Alternatively try coconut oil on slightly damp skin when you come out the shower. Your skin needs water to absorb it through to the deeper layers of the skin.
When I was 20 years old I came across a recipe from Rosemary Gladstar for homemade cream and I have never bought commercial cream since. Once you use this cream you will never go back! I use it on my body and face, it goes on heavy but soaks in quickly without leaving any residue!
Group 1 ingredients
¾ cup oil choose from the following: grapeseed oil, almond oil, apricot kernel oil
½ cup coconut oil and or cocoa butter (I use both)
1 teaspoon lanolin (can be found in drug stores)
½ – 1 ounce grated beeswax or beeswax pellets (use 1 ounce if you don’t use cocoa butter)
Group 2 ingredients
2/3 cup distilled water
1/3 cup aloevera gel
A couple drops of your favorite essential oil (I use a mix of lavender, patchouli and sweet orange)
Please note before blending group 1 into group 2
The basic proportions of this cream recipe should be one part Group 1 (oils) to one part Group 2 (waters)
In group 1, the oil proportions should be approximately two-thirds cup liquid oil to one-third cup solid oil.
1. Combine distilled water, aloe vera gel, essential oil and vitamins in a glass measuring cup. (Tap water can be used but it will sometimes introduce bacteria and encourage the growth of mold.) Set aside.
2. In a double boiler over low heat, combine remaining ingredients. Heat just enough to melt.
3. Pour oils into a blender and let cool to room temperature. The mixture should become thick, creamy, semi solid and cream coloured. This cooling process can be hastened in the refrigerator, but keep an eye on it so it doesn’t get too hard. I usually leave my overnight on the counter.
4. Place group 2 water ingredients in blender and turn on to the highest speed. In a slow, thin drizzle pour the oil mixture into the center vortex. (if your oil mixture is really thick and doesn’t pour drop in by the tablespoon.)
5. When most of the oil mixture has been added to the water, listen to the blender and watch the cream. When the blender coughs and chokes, and the cream looks thick and white like butter cream frosting, turn off the blender. You can slowly add more oil, beating it in by hand with a spoon, but don’t over beat! The cream will thicken as it sets.
6. Pour into cream or lotion jars. Store in a cool place.
Oil yourself up
I know this will sound insane, but you really need to start cleaning your face with oil! Mainstream facial cleansing products strip the oil out of your skin, leaving your largest organ trying to repair itself by replacing the stripped away oil. This leaves us in a cycle of being tight and dry especially in the cold winter months. Each time we strip the oil away, our skin over-compensates for the lack of moisture by creating more oil. On top of the drying effects, these products are highly toxic and contain the same ingredients listed above in body lotions. When cleansing and moisturizing your skin, it is imperative that you keep in mind that oil dissolves oil! The basic concept of this skin care and cleansing method is that the oil used to massage your skin will dissolve the oil that has hardened with impurities like blackheads.
The steam will open your pores, allowing the dirt and oil to be easily removed. I know the thought of of rubbing oil into your skin goes against everything you believe for ridding blackheads but I encourage you to give this a try for 30 days and watch your skin transform!
All you need are a couple of natural oils and a wash cloth!
The most common oils used are Castor Oil and either Olive Oil, Almond oil, Sunflower oil or coconut oil or any natural oil can be used. My favorite is a mix of castor oil, sunflower and almond. Castor Oil is naturally astringent, so it helps pull impurities from the skin, making it ideal for oily or combination skin (and even dry skin in lesser amounts).
It may take a couple of tries to figure out what blend of oils works best for you. Here are a few examples of ratios to try out for different skin types:
- Oily Skin: 1/3 Castor Oil and 2/3 Olive, Sunflower or other oil
- Combination Skin: 1/4 Castor and 3/4 Olive, Sunflower or other oil
- Dry Skin: All nourishing oils like olive oil, or a very small amount of Castor/Hazelnut Oil added to the nourishing oils.
The Oil Cleansing method
I like to do this at the end of my day but the choice is yours. Pour about a quarter size amount of the oil blend into your hand and massage into the skin on your face (don’t wet skin first). Massage for about 2 minutes or until you are sure that the oil has saturated your skin. This will also remove make-up very effectively, so there is no need to remove make-up first. You can even leave the oil on the skin for up to 10 minutes to really deep clean pores.
Place a clean washcloth under very hot tap water as hot as you can stand it, until it is completely soaked and quickly wring it out. Open it and place over your face. This will create steam and will open the pores to remove the oils and any impurities in the skin. Leave the wash cloth until it cools. Repeat one more time to get remaining oil off. Then rinse wash cloth out and gently use to remove any remaining oil. You want to leave a light layer of oil on your skin as this will be beneficial.
Typically, no face cream is needed after the adjustment period, but if you still have dry skin, try reducing the amount of astringent oil and using a tiny bit of the homemade cream to moisturize your skin.
Notes on the Oil Cleansing Method
Most people depending on your skin type, will go through an adjustment period of 1-2 weeks where you may have more breakouts. Your skin is just adjusting to the moisture and it will pass.
On the Inside
We tend to concentrate on what goes on the outside of our body when it comes to dry skin and wrinkles – but what goes into the inside is far more effective in preventing dry skin, ageing and skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis and acne.
Eat the right fat
You must eat the good fats and cut out the bad fats. Bad fats are extremely inflammatory and we want to rid the body of inflammation as much as possible. Bad fats include seed and vegetable oils like Canola, shortening and margarine aka spreadable, edible plastic! Increase your intake of good fats like omega 3 fatty acids from fish and or supplements, coconut oil, avocados, olive oil, nuts, seeds, grass fed butter or ghee and 100% grass fed protein including beef and wild game.
- Avocados Are a great source of vitamin C, E and monounsaturated fat which can help lock in moisture to the skin!
- Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, anchovies are all high in omega 3 which can improve dry skin dramatically! They can also improve sun damage, inflammation (acne), and elastin of the skin.
- Olive oil is full of vitamin E which helps moisturize the skin
- Coconut oil can be used both internally and externally to nourish the skin.
- Nuts and seeds are full of omega 3’s, vitamins A,B,E, monounsaturated fats, minerals and anti-oxidants. All of which will help hydrate and protect the skin.
Other foods that nourish the skin
- Sweet potatoes These beta-carotene-rich root vegetables contain an abundance of vitamin A, one of the most important nutrients for preventing dry skin. These antioxidants help repair tissue damage and prevent premature aging.
- Cucumber contain silica which can help increase moisture leading to increased skin elasticity. Cucumbers also contain vitamin A and vitamin C, helping to soothe skin and fight damage.
- Water is super important for nourishing dry skin especially in the winter months. Drink clean spring water that contains all the natural vitamins and minerals for ultimate absorption. Make herbal tea infusions with marigold and rose both of which contain moisturizing properties.
Supplements for dry skin
- Krill oil or omega 3 fish oils Ideally we want to get our intake of omega 3 through diet but in most cases people don’t consume enough foods like fatty fish for the necessary intake to combat dry skin. I prefer Krill oil to fish oils I find I absorb the oil better and it doesn’t leave any fishy burps after I take them. 600-1000mg of fish oil daily with a meal.
- Vitamin A is one of the most commonly known vitamins for problem skin and can help to strengthen and protect skin tissues.
- Vitamin C has been shown to be one of the most crucial nutrients for the skin. The antioxidant properties and it’s role in collagen synthesis has been shown to help reduce wrinkles and improve skin health. Food sources of vitamin c can be found in bell peppers, dark Leafy greens, broccoli, strawberries and citrus fruits.
- Vitmin B complex Deficiencies of biotin, thiamine, riboflavin or pantothenic acid can lead to dry skin.
- Vitamin E can help replace cells on the on the skin’s outer layer and it also protects the body against free radicals.
- Zinc is needed for proper functioning of the oil-producing glands of the skin.
- Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that works synergistically with vitamin E, which means that each increases the potency of the other. In addition, selenium protects against ultraviolet-induced damage and encourages tissue elasticity.