Kristen Arnett knows natural beauty. As a professional makeup artist and the founder of the Green Beauty Team e-zine, shes familiar with the woes of winter skin. Arnett says that about 50 percent of men and women suffer from dry winter skin. Here are her recommendations:
DRINK MORE WATER: The key to hydrated skin comes from the inside out. Water should be consumed at room temperature or warmer, Arnett recommends, and if you realize that you are quite dehydrated, add a small pinch of mineral salt to the water, which will help your body absorb it more effectively.
GO EASY ON THE SALT: Salt balance is important. But if you normally eat very salty foods (think salami and deli meats, processed snacks and soup, or if you add tons of salt to dishes), you can knock your salt balance out of whack the other direction, which can cause dehydration (and stressed skin).
EASE UP ON THE CAFFEINATED BEVERAGES: Coffee and non-herbal teas contain caffeine, a natural diuretic, which can dry out your skin. Choose herbal teas or plain water to keep as hydrated as possible, and your skin will improve.
AVOID MOISTURIZERS WITH PETROLEUM: Mineral oil and petroleum jelly are both petroleum-based products, which means they coat the skin but dont actually moisturize it. Over time, your skin becomes unable to function normally without the unnatural oil slick; your aim should be to encourage the natural, healthy sebum (oil) production in your skin.
AVOID SOAPS WITH SULFATES: Sulfates, which make some soaps and shower gels foam up, remove the protective sebum, which you actually want to avoid. If skin feels squeaky or tight after a shower, its damaged, Arnett says. She suggests looking for cleansers without sulfates, such as Alaffia and Nourish.
OIL UP: Adding oil or an oil-based moisturizer to your body isnt going to make you more oily; it supports skin and doesnt block natural sebum production. Arnett recommends jojoba oil, but coconut oil, sesame oil, and shea and cocoa butters also work well.
Other tips for any time of the year:
Reach for the salad: Eating lots of veggies ups your vitamin quotient and keeps your digestion moving along (both of which will result in clearer skin and a brighter complexion), and the carotenoids and other phytochemicals in fruits and veggies also fight free radicals (which can cause or exacerbate wrinkles). And they lend skin a slightly golden cast.
Get some sun: Catch some rays for about 10 minutes; the sun will get your body making natural vitamin D, which improves skins appearance.
Get a facial: Turning your face over to a skilled professional (look for those who use organic and natural products like Tata Harper) for a relaxing facial, will relax and directly affect problem areas.
Try facial massage: If you dont have the money or time for a facial, try doing facial massage a couple of times a week. Using a rich, healing oil for the massage will up the benefits to tired winter skin.