Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Winter Skin: Lizard Skin? - Part 2

Salutations and Warm Wishes to All! The temperatures dropped into the deep freeze again over the weekend! When will it end? The local red fox must be quite hungry as I spotted him eating a pile of sunflower seeds that I'd left in the yard for the wild turkeys. Poor guy! My big backyard garden is calling to me for some attention, but, alas, it is still under 2.5' of snow. I'm yearning to dig in the soft earth and smell fresh, young green plants. Perhaps I have signs of cabin fever . . . our late Maine spring is still just a glimmer in my eye, sad to say. Hope springs eternal . . . warmth will return!

Yes, winter still has a grip on the northern half of the country and many are still suffering from "lizard skin" - winter's dry hold on your otherwise soft, comfortable skin. Today, as promised, I'll share my recipe for a most wonderful skin-conditioning body oil that will make your skin feel like silk. I hope you find it to your benefit!

Nourishing Oil***

This is a nourishing blend that's high in essential fatty acids. The sesame, avocado, and olive oils are "heavy" oils and impart a velvety texture to the skin that I love, especially in mid-to-late winter when my skin is driest. This formula doubles as a healing oil to massage into cuticles on a nightly basis, especially if the cuticles are dry and ragged. It helps promote nail growth and adds a natural sheen to the nail surface. Important note: The aroma is rather distinctive, so add your choice of beneficial essential oil to help mask it if you wish. I prefer it plain and simple, though.

- 4 tbsp. unrefined, sesame seed oil (not the toasted kind)
- 4 tbsp. unrefined, avocado oil or extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large vitamin E oil capsules, pierced or 2 teaspoons vitamin E oil
- 15 drops lavender, Roman chamomile, frankincense, rosemary, grapefruit, or geranium
essential oil (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a glass or plastic storage bottle. Tightly cap the bottle, label, and shake the mixture vigorously. No refrigeration is required if product is to be used within 6 months. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 year.

Yield: 1/2 cup

Application Tips: For bath oil, add 2 teaspoons to running water. For application as a body oil, following a shower, or for massage, use as needed. I recommend using at least 1x per day as a body oil.

*** Recipe adapted from "Organic Body Care Recipes", by Stephanie Tourles, published by Storey Publishing, LLC, December 2007.

NOTE: This blog is by Stephanie Tourles and the content adapted from her recent article, "Make Your Own Skin Oil", that appeared in the Ellsworth American newspaper "Health Quarterly" on Feb. 3, 2011. The information is true and complete to the best of her knowledge. All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of Ms. Tourles. She disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information. It is for educational purposes only.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Winter Skin: Lizard Skin? - Part 1

Greetings My Fellow Health Seekers! It's nearly mid-February and Old Man Winter sure has a strong grip on things up here in Maine. Doesn't seem to want to loosen it-even a tad! What happened to the "January Thaw" that we've all come to love and expect? I don't buy into this global warming business. The weird weather we're all experiencing throughout the U.S. this winter is just Mother Nature doing her cyclical thing that she's been doing for eons. At least that's my opinion. Anyway . . . today I will begin a 2-part blog on how to prevent what I call "Lizard Skin" - winter skin itch, flakiness, and associated misery, as well as give you tips on how to treat it if you already have it. In Part 2, I'll share a "Nourishing Oil" recipe to help restore, soothe, soften, and protect your largest body organ . . . your skin.

When the outdoor temperatures are frigid and indoor heating robs the air of all humidity, the skin is the first to suffer.

Dry skin occurs because of water loss from your skin, not oil. Healthy skin, with its natural lipid or oil content, normally serves as a protective barrier to the external world. But, this vital function can become disturbed when the skin is hypersensitive or very dry, often resulting in a condition called atopic dermatitis - simply defined as irritated skin accompanied by tightness, itching, flaking, and redness.

Sound all too familiar? To prevent these conditions due to dry winter indoor and outdoor air, supporting and fortifying the skin with a pure, natural, unrefined nourishing body oil is especially important during the long cold season. Daily application will seal in moisture, strengthen the skin's own powers of resistance and improve its natural barrier function.

Additionally, proper hydration has many benefits, including the health, beauty and comfort of your skin, so drink plenty of water and herb tea. Since caffeine acts as a diuretic, which further "drains" the skin of moisture, avoid caffeinated beverages as much as possible.

Bathing also hydrates your skin, but harsh soaps, soothing hot soaks and showers strip away the essential oils that protect your skin. So, limit your bathing time and use of hot water - sorry, but I had to say it. Use a mild, cream-based soap or soapless cleanser and pat skin dry, don't rub.

Moisturize immediately within minutes of toweling using my Nourishing Oil recipe (which I will give you next time in Part 2), or with your own favorite moisturizer or body oil. Remoisturize throughout the day as often as necessary - especially before bedtime.

Dry skin or "winter itch" or "Lizard Skin" doesn't have to make your life miserable. With consistent care, you can feel comfortable in your own skin again.

NOTE: Portions of this article were adapted from the book, "Organic Body Care Recipes", by Stephanie Tourles, Storey Publishing, 2007 and also from her Ellsworth American newspaper "Health Quarterly" article that appeared on February 3, 2011 entitled "Make Your Own Skin Oil". The information is true and complete to the best of the author's knowledge. All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of Ms. Tourles. She disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information. It is for educational purposes only.