By Beverly Sandlin
The lower humidity in the winter causes our skin to dry out, an increase in itchy scalp and dandruff, and cracking of the skin on feet, hands and around the eyes. What to do?
Dry, itching scalp and eyebrows with increased dandruff – Massage warm or room temperature olive oil into the scalp (Wifey of the WE2s likes to heat it with a blow drier while wearing a plastic shower cap, if I understood her right.) and eyebrows and you will experience IMMEDIATE relief from the itching! Keep it on overnight – I use an inexpensive turban, shower caps work, and so does just laying a towel across your pillow to keep the oil contained. You can now wash and condition as usual OR for extended relief and removal of dandruff try this…
Baking soda as a shampoo with an apple cider vinegar rinse. I have been using this most of the winter this year as a natural shampoo alternative and rinse and it has worked wonders for me! I emptied out a parsley jar for the baking soda and kept an empty shampoo bottle for the 1:1 apple cider vinegar and water mix and keep them in the shower. Wet head, sprinkle on baking soda, massage into hair and eyebrows, rinse with water. The baking soda is coarse and scrubs the skin free of dried skin; it also has both antibacterial and antifungal properties. This also opens up blocked hair follicles and may help to regrow and thicken the hair. Your hair will be squeaky clean even without a rinse. Apple cider vinegar is a nice natural rinse that strips away soap residue and restores pH balance to the hair.
Exfoliate your skin and use an an alternative to drying soap by sprinkling baking soda on a wash cloth or a body scrubber – rinse thoroughly with water. By the way, I keep an extra scrubber in my shower and scrub the shower down with baking soda as well. It actually works better than Comet with no harmful chemicals.
Exfoliate the skin on your face by GENTLY rubbing baking soda into the skin with your fingers. A wash cloth is too rough for my skin. This may aggravate rosacia, but strangely enough rosacia is calmed with a paste of baking soda – just don’t rub it in.
Don’t forget that you can brush your teeth and rinse your mouth in the shower with baking soda. It also works to desensitize teeth to the bitter cold.
If you are a bath person and suffer from arthritis, bone aches, or just dry skin, a cup of baking soda in a hot bath soak can do wonders! And it will not raise the blood pressure. This is also soothing for any kind of rash or hives.
Freshly showered, but before you dry off, rub mineral oil into your skin while in the shower – a bit messy so I prefer to do it in the shower. Then towel dry. The mineral oil sinks into the skin readily, moisturizes and creates a protective barrier against the dry and cold air. Your skin will feel silky smooth! Use several drops of an essential oil that you like in the mineral oil for a soothing fragrance. Some people find that tea tree oil is healing for their skin. It is common in cold climates (and hot desert climates) to protect exposed skin by rubbing petroleum jelly onto exposed areas when outdoors.
Itching eyelashes and cracking skin around the edge of your eyes can be alleviated with a gentle massage of olive oil evey evening before bed or as needed. Udder balm or bag balm is also great for the cracking on the edge of the eyes. Tea tree oil is another favorite for some people to heal their skin.
Dry and cracking skin on the hands and elbows is usually solved simply by washing with baking soda to exfoliate the dry skin and then rubbing in petroleum jelly at night. Wear cotton or plastic gloves to sleep. Repeat as needed. Udder balm, petroleum jelly, or a good lotion moisturizer of your choice during the day helps.
Dry and cracking skin on the feet can be painful. Try a foot bath of warm water and a half a cup of baking soda to sooth the skin, also good if you have smelly feet or any nail fungus. Exfoliate (to get the top layer of dry skin off) with baking soda on a wash cloth. Discolored toenails? Rough cuticles? Scrub your toenail, and yes your fingernails, with an old toothbrush dipped in baking soda or a nail brush. You can even mix baking soda and ACV together (Yes, the same thing as the bomb but in an open container – it will fizz.) and use as a scrub or a soak. Rub petroleum jelly into the feet and wear socks to bed. Use udder balm on the heels if they are cracking.
A foot bath with a heavy concentration of baking soda has been found helpful for gout sufferers, those with athletes foot or a toe fungus, even a rash on the feet, and will not raise blood pressure.
Add some aromatherapy with scented candles, get your partner to give you a mineral oil massage, add a salad and you have a natural spa day – perfect for a Valentine’s treat!