After a long day, I usually get home and unwind by taking a long shower with hot water beating on my body especially my shoulders. The water massages my aching shoulders. After a few weeks of doing this “therapeutic massage,” I found my shoulders burning and my skin all over my body itching. The areas that were affected had an extra layer of dry cells. I was concerned because I always moisturize my skin. What was causing the itching and burning? Why was my skin barrier damaged? I always take long showers so that wasn’t strange. I tried coconut oils which are good and hydrating, but they didn’t work. My skin itched even more. I decided to mix my own body oils to lubricate my drying skin cells. I mixed together almond oil, castor oil, apricot oil and vegetable glycerin – all known oils for moisturizing the skin – and that mixture irritated my already-damaged skin barrier. One morning in my frustration, I grabbed my hydrating moisturizing mask (Skin Fitness Hydrating Mask) and applied it to my damaged areas. And I felt some relief immediately. I used it again for a few days until the skin barrier was repaired and hydrated again.
The cold low temperatures really do affect your skin and cause severe dryness and itching. On a cold night you may be tempted to take a long hot shower or soak in a hot soapy water for long periods. But this pleasure can cause serious dryness to the outermost layer, the epidermis, which is the key to the barrier. Taking long showers and baths can strip the outermost layers of its natural oils and rob the body of very important moisture. The outermost layer is made up of overlapping layers of dry cells. The epidermis plays an important role in keeping vital nutrients in and damaging substances and elements out.
Protecting the epidermis is important all year round, and especially in the winter. Here are several tips for protecting the skin barrier during this winter period:
(1) Shorten the bath time. Make it short and not too hot. Pat off the excess
water and apply moisturizers after.
(2) Hydrate the skin immediately after coming out of the shower. Leave some
water on the skin to block the moisture lost. Badger Balm’s Rose Body Oil (available at Blue Heron)
is great to apply at the end of your shower before you pat dry. It helps to seal in moisture.
(3) Drink lots of water. Although water doesn’t moisturize the skin, it keeps
the insides of our body hydrated.
(4) Use a humidifier.
(5) Use a body scrub one day a week to exfoliate the upper layer and remove the dead cells.
(6) Wear warm clothing when going outside. Avoid irritating wool fabrics.
Freida Frances is an Esthetician at Blue Heron Wellness. Click here to book an appointment with Freida.