It's that bewitching time of year for your poor skin . . . the end of winter and the start of spring. The time of year when the humidity is still relatively low, the house is still being heated with forced hot air or a wood/coal stove, and your skin, fingernails, and feet are yearning for warmth and moisture. Basically, most of you are feeling parched and itchy - all over. What to do?
Firstly, you need to exfoliate your body at least once per week so that you remove the outer layer of dead skin cells - in order for your moisturizer to best penetrate and be absorbed. This exfoliation can be done using a gentle body scrub, a body brush, or a loofah sponge. For facial exfoliation, a very gentle facial scrub made with jojoba wax beads, ground oatmeal or almond meal or sunflower seed meal can be used or you can apply a homemade papaya pulp or yogurt mask. A good quality wash cloth will suffice - especially if you have sensitive skin - if you wish to keep it simple. Recipes for exfoliants are given in my book, Organic Body Care Recipes.
I'm going to share with you a list of key ingredients to look for when purchasing a natural, chemical-free (if possible) moisturizer for either face, body, or feet.
Emollients and Occlusives - These ingredients are used to soften, coat, and smooth the stratum corneum (outer layer of skin) and hold water / moisture inside the skin: beeswax, cocoa butter, shea butter, organic almond oil, evening primrose oil, squalane, grapeseed oil, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, sunflower seed oil, lanolin, olive oil, wheat germ oil, vitamin E, linoleic acid, kukui nut oil, jojoba oil, non-petroleum jelly, organic soybean oil. You may find products containing mineral oil, dimethicone (silicone), and petrolatum, but those are best avoided as they are not compatible with human skin.
Humectants - These are ingredients that have high water absorption capabilities (attracting water from the atmosphere to your skin) and are water soluble. They will not clog your pores: vegetable glycerin, hyaluronic acid or sodium hyaluronate, amino acids, lactic acid, honey, urea, sorbitol, algae or seaweed extract, marshmallow root extract, comfrey root extract, polysaccharides (sugars), peptides or proteins, panthenol, NAPCA (sodium PCA). There are others such as propylene glycol and butylene glycol that are synthetic chemicals and irritants - best avoided.
Here's to soft, radiant, beautiful, moist skin. Happy Spring!
(NOTE: All recommendations are made without guaranteee on the part of the author, Stephanie Tourles - lic. holistic esthetician, aromatherapist, and herbalist. The author disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information and recommends that the reader use their common sense. This information is for educational purposes only.)