And it’s bringing dry skin with it. So let’s talk about why skin is prone to drying out in the winter and what we can do to avoid dry or even cracked skin.
You’re skin consists of three layers. The innermost layer is essentially a layer of fat that provides insulation and energy. The next layer up is the dermis. The dermis contains all the blood vessels, nerves, oil and sweat glands, along with the hair follicles. The final layer, the epidermis, is where we run into problems. The epidermis consists of layer upon layer of skin cells held together by tight junctions and desmosomes. Think of it as a lipid rich glue. New cells are formed at the base of the epidermis and make their way up to the stratum corneum, the top of the epidermis, where they die and are shed. This cycle takes about 30 days to complete.
The stratum corneum is composed of dead skin cells embedded in the oils (the “glue”) created by the underlying skin cells that are still living. The combination of dead skin cells and oils are what holds moisture in our skin, keeping it smooth, soft and pliable. Dry skin results when there isn’t enough moisture in the stratum corneum to keep it functioning appropriately. As it dries out, it shrinks and small cracks form which exposes the more sensitive skin underneath to the harsh environment.
So why do we lose so much moisture during the colder months?
Humidity is the biggest factor. As the temperature outside drops, so does the humidity level. Additionally we turn the heat on in our homes. The dry air outside is further dried out by the process of heating it. All the dry air wicks moisture from our skin.
Another factor is hot showers and baths. I’m a big, big fan of hot showers and baths. For me, the longer and hotter the better. But hot water strips your skin of its natural oils.
Harsh soaps and wimpy lotions are next on the list and this is where I start shamelessly plugging Martha’s Bath and Body products.
The skin on your hands is thinner, has fewer oil glands, and takes the biggest beating during the winter. I’m amazed at how many comments we get about the improvements to dry cracked hands we get just after changing soaps. Our 100% Olive Oil Soap is the gentlest cleansing soap we have and I know you’ll love it. Most soaps at the stores aren’t even soaps, they’re detergents and detergents are harsh. If you’re concerned about germs during winter and want an antibacterial soap I’m happy to tell you true soap is naturally antibacterial. Many of the store-bought “antibacterial” soaps use a chemical called triclosan to make them antibacterial. Triclosan is actually a pesticide.
Our lips chap so easily because they have no oil glands of their own. Our lip balm is loaded with babassu oil. We chose babassu oil over the more popular coconut oil because it soaks in faster and isn’t as greasy. Whether you’re into Lavender Vanilla, Peppermint, Dill Pickle, Menthol Eucalyptus, Gingerbread, Salted Caramel or even Fragrance Free, we have 60 different lip balms to choose from and you’re sure to find one that suits you.
Our lotion is great for all over, not just your hands. Many happy customers report using our lotion as a facial moisturizer. It's gentle and effective. Don’t forget the two-ounce travel-size for on the go. I’d also recommend one of our new solid lotion sticks. They store wonderfully and won’t spill! Additionally, we have an incredible body oil. Oils get a bad rap. Most oils you get at the store are cheaper oils that sit on top of your skin. Our oil is a combination of high-quality organic ingredients - jojoba oil, argan oil, coconut oil, and lanolin. Looking for a quick and effective way to apply oil? After a shower, use it on your freshly towel-dried skin. Your body will love it! It also doubles as a make-up remover.
So yes, the colder weather is coming, so treat your skin well! By using gentle soap and high-quality moisturizers, you can have soft and fresh skin, even through these colder months. Stay warm, friends!
~Ben Gorringe from Martha's Bath and Body
This blog is an interactive place where we can share more about natural skin care and how we create what your skin craves!