This year in New York, we’ve seen an unprecedented amount of pre-winter-solstice snowfall. While I was happy to watch the flakes dance through the calm gray skies from the comfort of my couch, as soon as I stepped outside I was hit by a blast of icy wind that made even the tiniest slivers of exposed skin cry out in agony. My dried out face, hands, and feet made me feel like a cracked, red, and itchy monster. Moving between the dry heat of the indoors and the moisture-lacking air outdoors can be torture on skin during the winter, and comfort that you might seek in a long hot shower can exacerbate the problem.
The cause of dry skin is simple: a lack of moisture and natural oils, which the body doesn’t produce as readily in dry air conditions. You can literally get lost in aisles of moisturizing lotions and soaps made especially to alleviate your skin’s woes. But alas many of these quick-fixes are full of synthetic and animal-based ingredients. What’s a peaceful dumpling to do? Luckily, vegan-friendly super moisturizers do exist, and in price ranges that won’t cause you to sacrifice any of your holiday gift-giving.
1. Drink Plenty of Water
The easiest and least expensive combatant against dry skin is right in your faucet! Keeping your body hydrated on the inside will also help the outside. If you’re too freezing to drink cold water, try sipping hot or warm water (plain or prepared as tea) during the day. This will also combat chapped lips, boost your mood, help you focus, help your digestive system, and basically keep you alive.
2. (Gently) Scrub Away Dead Skin
Rich moisturizers will just sit on top of your skin, then evaporate without being absorbed, if you have a layer of dry, dead skin cells. When sloughing is necessary, choose a gentle scrub so as to not break delicate skin. Look for a scrub that contains pure botanical oils and no harsh chemicals and preservatives, like Alba Botanica Natural Hawaiian Body Scrub. This one contains sea salt, jojoba, sweet almond, macadamia, and avocado oils. Like many Alba products, this one has a fresh tropical scent that will also help the winter blues!
3. Look for a Moisturizer that Contains Vitamin E.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that nourishes all your organs, including skin, which is the largest organ in our bodies. Jason Pure Natural Vitamin E Hand & Body Lotion contains nourishing avocado oil and soothing aloe for even the most severely dry skin.
4. Seal the Moisture with Plant-based Balms on the Go
Creams feel wonderfully hydrating on the skin, but they can also evaporate quickly. When you’re on the go and feel you need that extra protective barrier, use a mess-free, plant-based balm. LUSH Ultrabalm is formulated sans beeswax but with all of the intense moisture retention, featuring all organic, fair trade and plant-based oils like jojoba, candelilla wax, and rose wax. ($13.95)
5. Less is More
Don’t be tempted to indulge in extra long, extra hot baths, which can strip your body of its moisture! If you can, try to make do with warm, not scalding hot showers. Refrain from washing your hair everyday. Your hair most likely only needs to be washed every other day (maybe even once every three days, depending on your hair type). If your hair looks especially dry and dull, skip the shampoo and conditioner and try this trick to boost shine without stripping oils: pour white wine vinegar over your hair, massage, and rinse off with warm water.
Also by Jennifer: How Water Can Damage Hair
Dealing with Stress By Self-Gifting
More in Skin Care: Getting Your Best Skin Ever
Photo: Janine via Flickr; Alba Botanica; Jason; Lush