Aloe Me to Tell You…
I’m constantly finding dried-up old raisins on the floor of my house.
They are a favorite snack of my wild 2-year-old twins who have the attention span of a dog who smells the scent of a squirrel. They tend to leave their precious snacks laying around the house for a later time. I picked one up the other day and couldn’t help but relate to the shriveled-up and dry morsel. My skin has been feeling dry, dehydrated and simply looks paler than a halibut. If we are going with a theme here, think of that green raisin. To make matters worse, I have eczema and dry skin in general, so the winter months sometimes feel like a losing battle. Here are some tips and tricks that I’ve learned over the years to help alleviate the red knuckles, the cracks next to your cuticles, and the scaly appearance that comes with it.
Hydration is more than making sure you are drinking half your body weight in ounces per day. Also, please tell me your secret if you are able to accomplish this daily, I tend to take after camels. To set yourself up for success, make sure your body is fully prepared to absorb water. What do I mean by this? Electrolytes! They aren’t just for those who sweat a lot, anyone can be deficient in the very nutrients that help our cells absorb water. If your body’s cells do not have the necessary nutrients to absorb water then it’s going to pass right through and you will be taking more trips to the bathroom than the dog.
Hydration also comes from your environment. Your water intake takes care of the under-laying layers of your skin but what about the top layers exposed to the harsh dry climate? The ideal relative humidity for your skin is between 50-60%. In Alaska, we can run about half that most of the year! An easy fix to help obtain that is with a humidifier. Be sure to not over humidify your house or office though, as you could create a breeding ground for mold!
Lock It In
Against popular opinion, warmer showers versus hot showers are going to be the best defense against stripping your body of its natural oils. Think of warm water washing away a grease layer in a pan versus hot water, which does the better job? The other component that is going to wash away your lovely oils is body care products. While there are a lot of fun body care products out there, be sure and do your research if you are finding your skin feeling dry afterward. This could be due to your products being formulated with sulfates. Sulfates are surfactants that are cleansing agent which strips your skin of any oil. Cleansing sounds good though, right? Not when the oils are the glue that holds the protective skin barrier together. With the absence of oils, the protective skin barrier is more prone to breaking down and allowing in pollutants and UV rays. Your skin’s natural oils are your own personal ozone layer. Let’s not go around putting holes in it.
After singing your favorite tunes in the shower and scrubbing down, you want to IMMEDIATELY add some oil back onto your skin. Whether you like lotion, balm, salve, or straight-up oil, make sure you are giving your body the good stuff. I tend to stick to natural plant-based oils that are going to bring other things to the table like vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals that my skin craves. Since I was gifted with the scaly skin of a lizard I also tend towards salves. My personal head-to-toe salve is the Alaska Winter Salve, it’s my go-to year-round. It has beeswax which will lock in the moisture and seal it in. For me, lotions are great but, being made of half water and half oil leaves me needing to apply more than there are raisins on my floor (and let me tell you I have a lot of raisins on the floor).
Now you know all my secrets for dry skin. Since we live in a world of information, I would love to hear what you do to combat beef jerky skin.