Ouch! Dry hands are so painful!
The winter tends to be dry anyway… and running the heater (or wood stove) only makes it worse.
This year has been really bad for me. I feel itchy all over, and it's a full-time job to keep on top of moisturizing my face, hands, and feet (especially) to prevent excessive dryness, cracking, and/or bleeding.
Over Christmas week, I did a lot of sewing. I worked with fabric for many hours and it stripped my hands of any moisture they still had. Then, the kids were sick and I was doing extra washing and cooking, so my hands got even drier.
They were quite painful! It took me several days, if not a week, to restore my skin back to normal.
You know how fingernails on a chalkboard bother some people and give them the heebie jeebies? That's how dry skin feels to me. I absolutely HATE it and do anything I can to get on top of it or avoid it entirely!
So on today's #AskWardee, I'm sharing the tips I follow to prevent and heal dry winter skin naturally… and these tips work for dry summer skin, too!
Read, listen, or watch below!
Q: How Do I Heal My Dry Winter Skin Naturally?
Glenda P. asked:
It's winter and my skin is so dry, especially my hands! It's painful to wash dishes or do any of my usual tasks. Everything makes it worse so I can't get ahead of it. I don't think my lotion is any good because it doesn't help. What do you recommend for a moisturizer, to heal it, and to prevent it getting so bad? Thank you, Wardee!!
Glenda, I know just you feel because it happens to me every winter when I let it get away from me. Here's what I suggest…
How To Prevent And Heal Dry Winter Skin… Naturally!
These are the tips I follow to keep my hands, feet, and the rest of my skin soft and hydrated.
#1 — Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
You need to fight dryness from the inside out. If your body isn't hydrated, your skin fights a losing battle. So drink up! I love adding lemon and stevia to my water to help me drink more; here is my recipe.
#2 — Eat nourishing fats.
Renee from MadeOn Hard Lotion shares: “Many people have improved their skin by adding more fat to their diet. Try incorporating more butter and healthy fats into your meals or snacks, and try at least one cup a day of homemade broth.”
Want an introduction to traditional cooking that uses healthy nourishing fats? Register for our free video series here.
#3 — Avoid toxins, allergens, and irritants.
Harsh soaps and cleaning products are toxic and irritating to our bodies and can make skin issues worse. Even some real foods can be triggers for some people. If you know what bothers you, cut those things out of your diet and lifestyle.
Got eczema? Renee from MadeOn Hard Lotion shared: “The most common triggers for eczema are dairy, gluten and eggs. If you suffer from eczema, think about eliminating these to see if it helps your skin.” Learn more about how eczema happens here.
#4 — Work on your gut health.
If you have psoriasis or eczema or other skin conditions that only get worse in winter weather, focusing on your gut health — and healing from the inside out — will help as much as anything you can do externally. It could make the difference in healing your skin.
#5 — Wear gloves while cleaning and washing dishes.
Homemakers have it tough. We're always immersing our hands in soap and water. And that just makes dry hands worse, to the point where they can get red, irritated, scaly, and even cracked/bleeding. Ouch.
When we had our homestead with a milk cow, I would have to wash our milk cow's teats in soapy, vinegary water. That was even worse for stripping oils off my hands, because of the “power” of vinegar to clean. My hands were so red and painful until I figured out how to minimize the damage (using all the tips here).
The lesson here is… give your hands a break from touching soapy water as often as possible. Use the dishwasher if you have one. And when you do have to wash dishes, wear gloves and spare your hands!
#6 — Shower less and/or for less time.
Long and/or frequent showers will strip moisture and oils from your skin. To minimize moisture loss, I shower every other day. I keep my showers short and sweet whenever possible.
Like baths but don't want to dry out? Try coating your skin with a little bit of oil before hopping in the tub!
Whether you shower or bathe, definitely use natural soaps like I describe in #16 and moisturize right afterward like I'll share in #11.
#7 — Shave less often.
If you shave every day, do it every 2 or 3 days instead. If you shave every 2 or 3 days, try going to 5, 6, or 7 days. Shaving irritates and strips oils from your skin. It's winter anyway, and most of that skin is covered up, so who cares?
I'm not saying don't shave at all; just less often! 😉
#8 — Wash in warm, not hot, water.
Hot water strips oils in your skin more than warm or lukewarm water does. So, keep the water cooler if you can. I know it's hard, especially in winter, when you're craving a hot shower to warm you up! Make sure your nice, cozy robe or blanket is waiting for you when you finish. 🙂
#9 — Apply moisturizer immediately after washing.
Washing with soap strips oils from your skin. I'm not saying not to wash; I'm just pointing out what it does. So follow the other steps I list here to wash with minimal damage and then moisturize immediately afterward.
What do I use to moisturize?
On my hands, and feet, I use hard lotion.
On my body, I often use my homemade whipped body butter, this baby bottom balm (yes it works for grown-ups, too!), or a hard lotion bar. If I really need the moisturizer to stay on, the hard lotion bar is the best.
On my face, I use aloe vera gel. Others may be able to use oil-based moisturizers on their face; I can't or I will break out with pimples.
#10 — Apply moisturizer often — the RIGHT kind.
The right kind of moisturizer for dry winter skin is not lotion. Rather, it's a hard lotion bar made of nourishing natural ingredients like coconut oil and shea butter that's also firmed up with beeswax. No water, fragrances, or fillers to dry out or irritate your skin, or reduce the effectiveness of the fats.
It might look like a bar of soap, but it's not. 🙂
When you put it on your hands, your skin's temperature softens it so you can begin spreading it on pretty quickly. And the magical part is — the beeswax (and no water) in it ensures that it stays on your skin (instead of lotion that would wear right off) and that you're not leaving greasy trails of lotion behind on everything you touch.
There's nothing better! It can literally heal my skin overnight — and I use it regularly along with the other tips I'm sharing here because it keeps dry skin at bay. Way at bay.
I keep a hard lotion bar everywhere: kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, purse, car, and living areas.
In the Fall of 2016, we moved across the country. The month of moving, I was constantly touching boxes and paper to pack everything up. My hands got soooo painfully dry. The photo (above) is me on the cross-country move. I practically held the hard lotion bar the whole way from Oregon to Indiana to heal my hands from the dryness of packing! 😉
I also keep these lips balms (same ingredients as the hard lotion bars) everywhere as well. Because I hate it when my lips are dry, too!
#11 — Wash and/or moisturize your hands after touching anything that could be drying.
Although I don't regret it, I made about 75 napkins over Christmas week (serged a rolled hem around squares of linen blend). That excessive contact with fabric stripped my hands of so much moisture that it took me several days to restore them using the tips I'm sharing here.
Another example: occasionally, I use an acne treatment gel that contains a bit of benzoyl peroxide. I wash and moisturize immediately afterward so that it can't dry out my fingertips any more than the initial contact does.
The point here is to be smart using your hands. We can't not use our hands (we're homemakers after all!), yet we can avoid tasks that are excessively drying by saving them for another season or spreading them out more. We can also take steps to prevent more damage by moisturizing immediately afterward.
#12 — Lather up with lotion (bar) at bedtime.
I hop into bed each night with my hands and feet well coated (and I mean, well coated) with hard lotion.
So much healing and restoration happens during the night when we're still and inactive. I find if I'm a bit dry at the end of the day, this tip alone ensures I wake up with soft and hydrated skin. I do this even in the summer, especially on my feet!
#13 — Protect skin from wind with gloves and scarves when outdoors.
Whipping wind and cold weather can be drying, so cover up with gloves and scarves when you're outside in the elements. Plus, you'll feel warmer. 🙂
#14 — Use a humidifier.
In dry climates, dry air is the biggest culprit behind dry skin, so consider using a humidifier to reintroduce moisture into the air. There is a caveat here — you don't want too much moisture in your home or you'll end up with mold. And that's a serious concern of another sort.
So, this tip is only for those who feel that mold is not a risk. We do not run a humidifier; we let the shower introduce humidity into our bedroom during the winter. It's not too much that it will mold, but it does help a bit.
#15 — Use a dry brush to exfoliate.
I'm addicted to dry brushing. Not only does it stimulate the lymph system and detox pathways, it exfoliates your skin. Your skin will be smoother and softer (and less dry) overnight. It also feels really good. I love it and do it nearly every day over my whole body. You can even get softer, smaller dry brushes for the face to help with exfoliation there!
If you're a member of Traditional Cooking School, check out Lesson 3 of our Women's Health eCourse for more information on how to dry brush!
#16 — Use gentle cleaners and soaps — or skip the soap sometimes.
Soaps can be drying, very drying. Therefore, you should always use gentle soaps when you wash. By gentle, I mean the same quality of soap as homemade, where the recipe starts with nourishing fats like coconut oil, tallow, and olive oil. And sometimes, don't use soap at all. Give your skin a break from being stripped. (Or consider oil based cleansing.)
Personally, I rotate between soap and no soap when washing my face in the morning and evening. I try not to wash too much and sometimes I only wash with water. Then I follow tip #10 and moisturize right afterward.
15% OFF — Hard Lotion Bars & More
I keep a hard lotion bar (and lip balm) everywhere: kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, purse, car, and living areas. There's nothing better for dry skin!
How a hard lotion bar works: A hard lotion bar is lotion formed into bar. It's made of nourishing natural ingredients like coconut oil and shea butter that's also firmed up with beeswax. No water or fragrances or fillers to dry out or irritate your skin, or reduce the effectiveness. When you put it in your hands, your skin's temperature softens it so you can begin spreading it on pretty quickly. And the magical part is — the beeswax in it ensures that it stays on your skin (instead of lotion that would wear right off) and that you're not leaving greasy trails of lotion behind on everything you touch.
- MadeOn Skin Care Products — use coupon code TRADCOOK15 to save 15% on your whole order through Wed, Jan 31, 2018!
- Free Traditional Cooking Video Series
- Lemon-Water Recipe
- MadeOn Lip Balms
- Dry brush for the body
- Dry brushes for the face
- My Homemade Crockpot Soap Recipe
- Dr. Bronner's castile soap
- Nummy soaps from MadeOn
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How do you keep dry skin at bay during the winter or any other time of year?
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