While I love winter and its holidays, I certainly do not look forward to some of the seasonal, cold weather-related health challenges. Things such as: waking up to a dry mouth and throat; catching a cold; developing dry skin, chapped hands and cracked lips. Dry skin becomes irritated and tends to develop small cracks that can be quite painful. The worst is catching a cold and having the skin around my nose get more chapped and painful each time I blow my nose. Have you experienced that?
Thankfully, a few products can help tremendously in preventing dry skin, and even heal it overnight. The key ingredients to look for in a product are: emollients, which soften the skin; and humectants, which help retain moisture and protect your skin from environmental aggressors like cold, dry air. Optional ingredients to look for are plant-derived, anti-inflammatory ingredients such as calendula, which helps soothe and heal the skin.
Cracked Skin Around the Nose
Every time I catch a cold during winter, I end up with sore, red and sometimes cracked skin around my nose. To counteract this, I wash my face with a mild cleanser, gently pat it dry, and then apply a rich cream. One of my favorite creams for this use is the Weleda Cold Cream, which has the perfect formula to condition, soothe and protect the skin. It does not leave the uncomfortably slippery residue that some rich creams can leave on the skin. The key ingredient is beeswax, a natural wax that has emollient properties to soften the skin and humectant properties that help retain moisture.
Fun fact: Greek physician Hippocrates recommended the use of beeswax to heal wounds. You can find the Weleda Cold Cream at most health food stores like Whole Foods, and at online retailers like Vitacost and iHerb.
At night, you may apply the same cream or use a balm like Laurel Organics Healing Balm. This balm contains not only great emollient ingredients like shea butter and jojoba oil, but also calendula (anti-inflammatory), Helichrysum (anti-inflammatory and antiseptic), and other soothing herbal extracts. I apply a thick layer of this balm all over the reddened area around my nose before going to bed and wake up with no more cracks and soreness.
Cold, dry air and frequent hand washing are sure to cause my hands to chap and become dry. Not only is it a cause of great discomfort, but it also completely defeats the purpose of hand washing, as broken skin cannot protect us from sickness. Diligently applying a hand cream can help prevent dryness, but if my hands still get very dry and chapped I like to use a thick balm that contains shea butter, cocoa butter or beeswax.
A great balm for this purpose is Waxelene, a natural alternative to petroleum jelly that contains beeswax and vitamin E oil. Both ingredients are great for skin repair. I apply a nice thick layer of this balm and then put on some cotton gloves for maximum moisture retention.
A more luxurious option is Kahina Giving Beauty Fez Hand Balm, which contains exquisite ingredients like argan oil, calendula, carrot seed oil, shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil and mango nut butter to deeply moisturize and heal the skin while also providing aromatherapy benefits.
Chapped or cracked lips are not only visually unappealing, but also terribly uncomfortable. I don’t often fall victim to it because I use balm every day and every night to prevent it, but sometimes when I am sick and do not drink enough water, my lips can get painfully cracked. Here’s what I have found to work well:
– Drink water. Water alone won’t heal your lips, but it will help your body recover and stay healthy.
– With clean fingers, massage a rich, fragrance-free lip balm into your lips
– Re-apply the lip balm often until your lips have healed, especially at night before going to bed and before going outside on a cold day.
Waxelene is not only great for hands as I mentioned above, but for lips as well. It creates a coating layer on the lips that does not easily slip off, so it provides long-lasting protection. Another excellent lip balm is De Mamiel Rosey Lip Balm. It is a blend of several nourishing oils like camellia and coconut, mango butter, calendula and manuka honey. This lip balm is what I am currently using the most because while I have been using it, my lips have never been dry.
Have you experienced dry, chapped skin? What are your favorites remedies?
Photo credits: Lilly Wallace
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