Dry, flaky, itchy and even cracked skin is a common side effect of the fall and winter chill. The low humidity in the air, both indoors and out, is one of the main causes for this annoying seasonal skin issue. The moisturizer you choose can be the answer to your prayers or just making the problem worse.
Other factors that exacerbate scaly skin include taking hot showers (especially if using harsh soaps that strip the skin’s moisture) and lack of omega-3 oils in the diet. Dry skin can be both unsightly and uncomfortable, but the good news is, plant-based oils and butters can help soothe, nourish and heal your skin.
Feed Your Skin with Plant-Based Moisture
Extracted from nuts, seeds and fruits, plant-based oils are one of nature’s greatest beauty secrets. Rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins and nutrients, they provide natural and effective relief to dry skin and hair. Praised for their antioxidant, anti-aging and anti-inflammatory benefits, these amazing oils have the ability to regenerate, strengthen and protect the skin.
Commercial moisturizers often contain toxins like petrolatum, synthetic fragrance and parabens. To keep your moisturizer on the healthier side, choose nut, seed and fruit oils, which are most powerful when they are pure, unrefined and/or cold-pressed. You can also look for them as the main ingredient in lotions, body washes and lip balms from some of your favorite green beauty brands.
Best Plant-Based Moisturizers
1) Shea Butter Because of its rich, heavy consistency, shea butter makes a perfect “extra layer” for winter weather. It’s a thick, creamy butter extracted from the nut of the West African shea tree, also known as “butyrospermum parkii”. One of the outstanding properties of shea butter is its ability to form a barrier on the skin, sealing in moisture and protecting it from the elements of sun cold and wind. It has also been noted for healing scar tissue in the form of hyperpigmentation and stretch marks. For dry feet and heels, apply shea butter before bed and then put on a pair of organic cotton socks!
Look for pure, unrefined shea butter at local African markets or on www.naturepurity.com which offers an organic, fair-trade version. If you don’t love the nutty scent of shea butter, you can customize it by adding your own essential oils and mixing well with a spatula.
Try it as a main ingredient in products such as Shea Moisture Bath, Body & Massage Oil or Revolution Organics All-Over Skin Crème.
2) Coconut Oil is derived from both fresh and dry coconut meat, from coconuts throughout South and Central America, Asia and India. It contains Vitamin E and squalene, a molecule that is close to our skin’s natural sebum, making it easily absorbed by the skin and very moisturizing. Coconut oil also has antibacterial properties, so it is healing for various skin conditions, including eczema, dermatitis and acne. The light, lovely coconut scent will make you feel like the beach isn’t so far away!
You’ll find it in every health food store and most regular supermarkets. Be sure to look for cold-pressed, pure or virgin coconut oil to get the highest quality and benefit for your skin.
Try it in your makeup, too! It’s the key ingredient in the entire range of RMS Beauty. Heal, hydrate and beautify at the same time!
3) Argan Oil is extracted from the nut of the Argan tree, which is found exclusively in southwestern Morocco. Cultivated and enjoyed for centuries by Moroccan women, argan has been turning up in makeup, skin and hair care. For good reason! Abundant in nutrients and antioxidants, argan oil neutralizes free radicals that cause aging and inflammation. The lightweight, non-greasy consistency makes it an ideal face and hand moisturizer, for all skin types.
Kahina Giving Beauty, offers a full range of argan based skin care products. They give beauty in more than one way since 25% of their profits go toward supporting initiatives for the women of Berber, who actually extract the precious oil for them.
Josie Maran has built an entire beauty line, including both skincare and makeup, with argan oil as the main star. Josie also donates a portion of her proceeds to City of Hope Women’s Cancer Research and the Polar Bear SOS Initiative.
This season, answer your dry skin’s prayers and try one or more of these super-nourishing, natural moisturizers to combat and prevent dryness. Let us know how it goes and tell us what your favorites are!