Winter is approaching which means it’s time to prepare your home, your car, and even your skin for the harsh weather ahead. While few people consider the importance of winter-proofing their skin, we think it’s the only way to avoid the dryness and irritation that typically arrive as soon as the temps dip below freezing.
So what’s the secret to ensuring beautiful skin in July and in January? In a word: Moisture! For specifics, read on.
Ditch Traditional Soap
Don’t be alarmed. Winter-proofing your skin does not mean that you have to stop cleaning yourself from December to February. We’re simply suggesting that you rethink the conventional soaps made with harsh, irritating ingredients that can irritate and dry out your winter skin.
Just a few of the toxic ingredients that are commonly found in traditional soaps include:
1, 4-Dioxane: 1, 4-Dioxane is a carcinogen that is created when common ingredients are mixed together and is usually found in products that create suds, like soap. Unfortunately, avoiding 1, 4-Dioxane isn’t as simple as reading product ingredients lists. Because it’s a byproduct of the manufacturing process, the FDA doesn’t require it to be listed on labels.
Petrolatum: Petrolatum (also seen as paraffin oil or mineral oil on labels) is commonly used to give soap a luxurious, moisture-rich feel to counteract the drying effects of other ingredients. In addition to being a potential carcinogen, it can also clog pores, which can lead to more drying.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): SLS is also a possible carcinogen that may trigger allergic reactions on the skin, including eczema.
Eczema is an increasingly common issue that affects more than 30 million Americans. In fact, it was during the process of finding a solution to our son’s eczema that we stumbled upon the healing power of goat’s milk and began developing Bend Soap Company’s first products.
We’d noticed that traditional soap irritated Chance’s skin even more, but once we began using our all-natural goat milk soap (made with fresh goat’s milk and just three high-quality oils) his skin began improving immediately. Now our whole family uses it as a way to keep our skin soft and healthy throughout the year.
Take a Soak
Soaking in a nourishing bath can add much-needed moisture to the skin, but all baths are not created equal.
During winter, you’ll need to use warm — not steamy hot — water (this applies to showers, too) to avoid drying out the skin. After spending time outside in freezing-cold weather, you may be tempted to soak in a super hot bath, but bathing in hot water can strip valuable oils from your skin. These are the natural oils that keep your skin soft and supple, and stripping them away can leave your skin dry and cracked— which is exactly what you don’t want.
Second, you need to rethink what you’re adding to your bath. Conventional soaks and bubble baths may claim to be “nourishing” or “moisturizing,” but they typically contain a slew of toxic ingredients, or they contain toxic impurities, that can actually cause more harm than good.
If you really want to use bath time to care for your skin this winter, we recommend products that are made from all-natural moisturizers and that are free from the aforementioned ingredients that can dry out the skin.
Just like our bars of goat milk soaps, our milk bath is designed to replenish and retain the skin’s moisture, ensuring that it stays soft and smooth even in winter. We’ve also created bath blends with essential oils to help you create a spa-like experience in your own bathroom. (So helpful when there’s a foot of snow outside and making it to an actual spa feels impossible!)
Even if you’re careful to avoid hot water while bathing, the merciless cold of winter is still sure to do a number on your skin. But before you go slathering on every cream and lotion you can find, it’s important to remove the top layer of dead skin cells to ensure that your moisturizer can effectively penetrate your skin.
The good news is that your skin does some of this works on its own, as it completely regenerates about once a month, year-round. But in winter, when you’re more prone to dryness, itching, and tight skin, you can certainly help things along with some gentle exfoliation.
Some exfoliators can be too rough on delicate skin, causing drying and irritation. Microbeads, walnut shells, and even diamonds can sound like ideal (and extravagant!) ways to slough dead skin cells, but they’re often too harsh.
At Bend Soap Company, we like more gentle exfoliants, like sugar and oatmeal. In our best-selling Oatmeal & Honey Goat Milk Soap, this ancient grain naturally whisks away dead, dry skin while also giving your skin a healthy dose of moisture, vitamins, and minerals. Even the lactic acid found in the bar’s goat milk assists the exfoliation process by gently removing the natural glue between the dead skin cells so that they can more easily be wiped away.
Switch Out Your Moisturizer
Once you’ve soaked and soaped and exfoliated, the last step in winter-proofing your skin is slathering on a rich moisturizer that will keep your skin hydrated and healthy for the rest of the day.
Like soaps and bubble baths, conventional lotions and creams come with their fair share of scary ingredients. What’s more, most of them are either too light to be effective, or they’re so heavy and greasy that they leave an icky film on the skin.
On the contrary, the creamy consistency of our goat milk lotion is lightweight, non-oily, and is easily absorbed into the skin. But even more important is the fact that it’s made from simple, all-natural ingredients, including goat’s milk, shea butter, and aloe vera.
Back to You
The winter months are a time to spend time with family and enjoy the holidays, not a time to stress over dry, cracked skin. Your skin is more sensitive and prone to dryness during the winter, but winter-proofing your skin is easier than you think. All it takes is a handful of all-natural, moisture-rich products and a willingness to dump your old, toxic products in the garbage.