| Usually this week is the coldest one of the winter. But, Mother Nature is still showing us all over the country how fickle she can be. We’ve had soaking rains that have melted most of the snowpack. Skin care in the Maine winter is a challenge. Cold air takes moisture out of your skin, but so does your home heat and the car defroster. Being pro-active with added hydration and moisture can really make a big difference. I have some winter skin care ideas for you from my home state of Maine.
Snow-covered gazing ball in the garden.
In 400 B.C., Hippocrates said “The way to health is to have an aromatic bath and scented massage every day”. Can you imagine the world today if we all did that? There are few things I enjoy as much as a long hot bath, especially with Dead Sea Salts (about 1 cup added). I’m fortunate to own an old claw foot tub that allows me to soak up to the earlobes! However revitalizing the bath is, salt and hot water dry the skin. I always shower off afterward and while still wet apply Calendula oil with a few drops of Rose Attar added. It’s important to apply while wet for two reasons. The oil will lock the water into your skin and the water will help spread the oil in a nice light layer and it absorbs quickly. Bath oils usually float on top of the water, so applying afterwards is the key. I no longer get dry flaky legs and elbows or cracked heels.
Try a few drops (10 or 12) of Lavender Essential Oil added to the bath for an attitude adjustment. Lock the door and take at least twenty minutes for yourself. Years ago when I took my first herb bath, I felt like I was floating. My husband said I had the most angelic look on my face. I was euphoric. Try experimenting with Peppermint when you need to get energy, Roses for romance or Ginger for sore or chilled muscles. Use about 1/2 cup of loose Peppermint, dried Roses or ground Ginger right from your spice rack. Place in a washcloth, secure with a rubber band. How easy is that? And easy cleanup, too. Toss into the tub at the start. After your bath, remove the elastic and discard after one use. Don’t forget to use oil after your bath.
A humidifier will help not only your skin but your upper respiratory tract, too. Try one in your home. Drink the recommended 8 8oz glasses of water daily.
I spritz my face often to add water to my skin. I use an Essential Oil floral water including Lavender, Peppermint and Sweet Orange. It’s refreshing, a great skin toner and will chill out a hot flash. Just spray where needed over face, throat and upper chest. It’s always in my carry-on bag for the extremely drying effects of flight or in my beach bag, gym bag. My girlfriends at the gym often ask for a mist when I use it. Floral waters are terrific if you work in a dry office environment and spraying Lavender is a great way to dispel airborne bacteria. You can use a Lavender spray as an all-natural room freshener or in the room of someone who is ill. I know some teachers who use it to cool and calm their young students after recess. Excellent for long car trips. This is truly a multi-tasking personal care product must.
The sleeping winter garden.
I once met a lady at a craft show whose fingertips cracked until they bled. I met a guy who used super glue to close split fingertips. He said his wife’s lotion stung (most contain alcohol and chemical fragrance which are drying agents) plus, the guys at work kidded him about the scent. Did you know it’s a myth that using lip balm creates a need to use more? Actually it’s licking your lips and dry air and wind that does it. Prevention comes with using natural products and don’t forget to wear your gloves.
For healing dry, chapped skin, I developed a salve made with Calendula, Comfrey, and Plantain which are grown in my organic garden. I dry them and infuse olive oil with the plants, then add Maine beeswax. This combination is excellent to soothe inflammation and regenerate cell growth. My clients report great results for lips, elbows, cracked fingertips and heels, diaper rash, nursing nipples and even eczema. Gardener’s love it, too. There are no other ingredients added, no colorants, fragrances or preservatives. I’ve used this for about 30 years on everyone in my family. It’s safe for babies and the elderly. I use it daily from the neck down and occasionally on my face for times I’m going to be out all day in wind or super cold.
For my face moisturizer, I use a blend of seven Essential Oils in a Jojoba oil base.
First I wash my face with a clean washcloth every time. If I use soap, it’s got to be goat’s milk. Pure and natural goat’s milk soap has a ph level closer to your own so it is quite safe, even for sensitive skin. Sometimes I’ll just wipe my face clean or use an oatmeal and herb scrub.
Next, I hydrate my face with a floral water spritz. The Essential Oils are great skin toners and I want a wet face for applying my moisturizer massage 5 drops of my oil into my face while still wet. Occasionally I repeat at bedtime. It contains Rose Attar, Lavender, Neroli, Carrot Seed, Evening Primrose, Myrrh, and Palmarosa Essential Oils. I find this combination in Jojoba oil really nourishes my skin and seems to be slowing the aging process. My husband thinks the scent is an aphrodisiac and that I should put that on my label. Well, Rose is the flower of love so that’s just a sweet bonus.
I am proud to list ingredients on my labels. You, too, can find out what’s in your personal care products. The Environmental Working Group has established a database to provide information for consumers who want shopping lists of products free of fragrances or carcinogens. The database is called “SkinDeep” and is available at www.ewg.org/reports/skindeep.
The FDA is allowing the industry to set the standards and most products are not tested. Most adults are exposed to over 100 chemicals in personal care items every day. See the article about synthetic ingredients on this website.
Skin care in winter is part of overall self-care. It can be so cozy on the couch. To deter winter depression, try to get outdoors on sunny days. I was blessed seeing this eagle recently on a walk. Fresh air is wonderful. Walks can invigorate and focus.
I was blessed seeing this eagle recently on a walk.
Photos of: Gazing Ball – Sleeping Garden – Eagle – Mountain Mama of Maine Products
Courtesy of Janet Edwards