Trips away from home, cold weather and dry skin are mainstays of the cooler months. Hidden under layers of wool or corduroy or denim, winter skin makes its way through different climates and conditions, exposed to a fireside one moment, then snow and wind the next. The result is often less than swell skin, patched with dryness or discomfort.
Keeping your skin smooth and soft during cold-weather months comes down to keeping it consistently hydrated. Here are some ways to do so, particularly while traveling:
Stock up. I don’t know about you, but those dollop-size bottles of cream in hotel rooms don’t come anywhere near to cutting the mustard when it comes to de-winterizing my skin. Stock up on moisturizer in a consistency that meets your needs (lotion, cream, balm, butter or so on) and draw from your “master stock” to fill and refill your travel bottles as needed. There is something about a bathroom cabinet of creams, lotions and balms that is just reassuring. And a purse is not really a purse in my book unless it has at least one tiny tube of fragrant hand cream.
Think one product, multiple uses. Think of a single product that can perform many moisturizing duties, eliminating the need to pack a cluster of cosmetics when you travel. Look for one with natural ingredients and an agreeable aroma that you can use all over, absorbs quickly and is of a weight and consistency that meshes with other products you already have, like and use. For instance, you may prefer a light lotion over a heavier body butter or balm.
Weleda’s Skin Food is a superb all in one moisturizer that I use in lieu of several different products when traveling. On the face, as an undereye moisturizer, for hands or any area in need of an infiltration of moisture. Cuticles and nail bed, for instance. Lips. Elbows. Ankles.
The base of the formula contains sunflower oil, sweet almond oil and beeswax, and is very emollient, so a small amount goes a long way. It seems to melt in the fingers while being applied, so I can even work the remnants into dry or split ends. The aroma is wintertime festive, scented by rosemary, chamomile, calendula and other essential oils. The packaging and scent are marvelously unisex, which can be very handy if you’re packing for two, particularly since my extensive field research has concluded that “no dude wants to walk around smelling like a chick.”
Make custom skin oil. Alternately, if you’re the crafty sort, you can make a custom natural body oil at home by blending, in a clean saucepan, ideally one not used in food preparation, one or more pure natural oils at low temperature. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oils. Store the blend in a pump bottle. After getting after the shower, while your skin is still moist and warm, apply the mixture sparingly to the skin.
Some excellent base oils: avocado, sesame, olive, jojoba, coconut. As for aromatics, fitting for this time of year are earthy aromas like eucalyptus, sandalwood, cedar wood, bergamot or cinnamon cut with a bit of citrus, such as orange, grapefruit or peppermint. Psst. A custom bottle of natural skin oil makes an excellent gift.
Mind your internal moisture. A doctor I know tells me that one of the tip-offs to knowing whether a patient is following a super low-fat diet is found by looking at their hair, skin and nails. Dry, dry and dry. If you imagine that your holiday or travel diet will be subpar in terms of your intake of natural fat, make a plan to regularly integrate more omega fatty acids (aka “beauty fat”) into your diet. You will see the difference in your skin, hair and nails.
Omega fatty acids are found in fish oil, flax seed oil, evening primrose oil and borage seed oil. If interested in learning more, read the Harvard School of Public Health’s short, informative brief on omega fatty acids.
And, finally, don’t skimp on the water, even though it won’t seem like the most festive thing to be drinking during the holidays.
*For other winter skin tips, peruse this slideshow of 10 tips (mine is number 5), found at MSN’s lifestyle site, glo.