We fill the cold winter months with things that keep us warm and cozy, inside and out. Steaming hot beverages, fuzzy blankets, knitted scarves, and vanilla-scented candles take over as we hunker down in a semi-hibernating state.
As the temperatures drop outside, the moisture disappears from the air, leaving us with the dreaded winter skin. Since we’re all bundled up, we forget the importance of skin care and moisturizing. Before we know it, we’re sporting chapped lips, dry, cracked hands, and flaky, red skin all over. That dormant skin condition that you’ve forgotten about all spring, summer, and fall comes back with a vengeance, and you’ve gotta get a hold on it—quick.
Don’t let the weather get the best of you. Turn that winter skin around with these 10 natural remedies for winter skin care.
Rich in healthy fats and skin-nourishing nutrients, avocado is an ideal natural ingredient for hydrating homemade skin care products. When your skin becomes irritated, itchy, red, cracked, or flaky during the winter, these are all signs that it is suffering from dehydration.
The healthy fats and vitamins A, D, and E hydrate the skin and help to lock in the moisture for a long time. They also work as antioxidants and fight early aging, fine lines, and wrinkles.
Apply mashed avocado to your skin and leave it on for 15 minutes. You can mix in other skin-nourishing ingredients, such as honey or buttermilk, for an even stronger effect.
Honey has many natural healing and moisturizing properties that are perfect for skin care. It is proven to have antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant benefits. In fact, honey has a long history of being used to treat conditions including blemishes, cuts, wounds, rashes, and bacterial and fungal infections.
Honey contains enzymes that penetrate deep into the layers of skin, moisturizing from within. Its antiseptic and antibacterial properties allow it to clean pores, removing dirt and eliminating blackheads for clearer-looking skin. The anti-inflammatory properties of honey soothe the skin and reduce redness and itching. It also helps to keep pimples and acne at bay.
When choosing a honey to use for your skin, opt for raw manuka honey, as it contains very high levels of antioxidants when compared with other honeys.
You can apply raw honey straight to the skin to benefit from all it has to offer, or mix it with other nourishing ingredients, such as avocado, yogurt, or aloe vera.
3. Olive Oil
Dry skin lacks sebum—oils that your body produces to protect the skin from moisture loss. One of the best ways to combat this it to replace the oils that your skin lacks with other natural oils, like olive oil.
Olive oil is not only an excellent moisturizer, but it’s a cleanser as well. It contains antibacterial compounds that help to eliminate bacteria that can lead to acne. In addition, it’s packed with antioxidants to ward off early aging.
If you’re planning to use olive oil on your face, get a good-quality extra virgin olive oil. Apply a thin layer to your skin and blot off any excess oil with a paper towel.
4. Castor Oil
Castor oil, made from castor beans, has a variety of uses. It is used in foods, medications, and skin care products, and it is a natural remedy for many conditions, including constipation, eye irritation, skin problems, and more.
The reason castor oil is such a powerful moisturizer is its monounsaturated fatty acid content, called ricinoleic acid. The thick, rich oil locks in moisture when applied to the skin, preventing dehydration.
Because castor oil has been known to cause allergic reactions in some people, apply it first to a small area of skin and wait for a few minutes to make sure no irritation occurs.
5. Coconut Oil
Talk about a useful and versatile oil—coconut oil is not only rich in skin-nourishing nutrients such as fatty acids, vitamin E, and antioxidants, but it’s also antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory.
People use coconut oil to improve complexion, boost moisture, and treat rashes and skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Studies show that the antibacterial properties of coconut oil are so powerful that it can kill off bacteria Staphylococcus aureus and the yeast Candida albicans that commonly causes fungal skin infections and yeast infections. (1)
You can make your own homemade natural moisturizer using one ingredient only—coconut oil. Simply scoop the coconut oil into a mixing bowl and break it into chunks. Mix it on high in the mixer until it becomes light and fluffy. Apply it as a moisturizer as often as you need.
Lactic acid, a compound found in buttermilk and in many skin care products, helps to rejuvenate the skin by removing dead skin cells and promoting cell turnover. When new skin cells are made, the skin looks brighter, younger, and healthier.
Buttermilk is full of nutrients that moisturize, nourish, and detoxify the skin. You can also apply it to your scalp to reduce dandruff and fortify your hair.
Soak a washcloth in buttermilk and apply it to your face or an area of dry skin. Leave it on for 5–10 minutes and gently rinse your skin.
7. Shea Butter
Shea butter is a well-known skin care ingredient, and for good reason. It is incredibly thick, rich, and buttery (hence the name), making it ideal for application on the lips and skin. It is highly concentrated in vitamins and fatty acids that nourish and moisturize the skin.
Studies show that shea contains compounds that are anti-inflammatory and chemopreventive. In other words, it can treat inflammatory skin conditions and prevent cancer. (2)
You can apply shea butter straight to the skin and lips to reduce redness, dryness, and irritation.
Oatmeal is a calming, hydrating, anti-inflammatory ingredient that is often found in creams used to treat inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema.
Oats help to remove dead skin cells, promote skin cell turnover, and moisturize the skin at a deep level for long-lasting hydration. Oatmeal also restores balance to your skin’s pH levels, relieving itching caused by inflammation under the skin.
To use oatmeal to restore moisture and relieve irritation naturally, soak in an oatmeal bath. Start by measuring out a cup of oatmeal and placing it in a blender. Blend the oats until they reach a very fine powder. Pour the oatmeal into the bath as warm water runs, mixing the powder around to help it dissolve. Once the bath water becomes milky, the oatmeal has dissolved. Soak in the water for 15–30 minutes and quickly rinse off with clean water before getting out of the bath.
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9. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is well known for its skin-soothing properties. It is incredibly hydrating with powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which is what makes it so popular for after-sun care. Not only does it soothe a sunburn, but it also benefits your dry winter skin.
If you’re looking for something that will restore moisture without causing the skin to feel or look oily, go for aloe vera.
10. Rose Water
When creating a homemade face mask, moisturizer, or healing bath, mix in some rose water for even better results.
Rose water helps the skin maintain pH balance and has anti-inflammatory benefits. It has been shown effective in treating skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and dermatitis. It is antibacterial, so it wards off infection, and it’s full of antioxidants for rejuvenation of skin cells and younger-looking skin.
Add a few drops of rose water to raw manuka honey for a moisturizing and cleansing face mask.
Skip all those chemicals and additives in the skin care products lining the shelves in stores and pharmacies and go natural instead. You may be surprised by how effective these ingredients are in restoring the glow to your dull winter skin.