Fall’s in full swing and finally it’s getting a tad cooler. The delightfully-rainy days of this summer are a thing of the past and low humidity and dry heat are about to descend. For many of us, that means the return of the “itch.”
Everyone experiences dry skin to some degree, but for those of us who naturally have dry skin, or those who suffer from an underactive thyroid, those on drying medications for allergies or those who have any number of skin conditions, “the winter itch” as it’s sometimes called is no fun. In fact, it can keep you awake at night and make your life miserable.
Dry skin can occur in people of all ages, and it can come one winter out of the blue and stay a lifetime. In the normal wear and tear of time, fine lines become more visible on the skin’s surface. In more advanced stages, dry skin can cause a fish-net appearance—kind of like cracked porcelain, with or without flaking or dull red patches. Dermatologists have a name for dry skin: xerosis or asteatosis. Repeated scratching can produce thickened skin and painful cracks or fissures and can result in dermatitis where the skin becomes red (inflamed) as well as dry and scaly. In a phrase: It’s a mess!
Too much antibiotic soap in the shower, hand sanitizer at the gym, hereditary immune disorders, disease—all can contribute to “the itch.” So, what do you do about it? First things first: identify and tackle factors that may be causing dry skin. Check with your doctor about medications and illnesses that may be causing problems. Next, look at your bathing ritual. Too much hot water removes normal, protective skin oils. Are you moisturizing after showering and are you using effective products?
Brings us to another caveat: Soaps can dry out skin, even with regular moisturizing use. If you’re into all-natural products, ask for assistance in finding what soap and moisturizer works best for you. Then, use the products religiously…within three minutes of getting out of the shower. Any later and the skin seals off with greasy creams or oils riding on top of the skin. Not good.
If you want natural products, you’ve got to do your homework. READ LABELS, and refuse to settle. Remember half measures avail us nothing, so look for the chemicals in moisturizers and lotions that can actually acerbate the problem, rather than help.
If you shop at GreenAcres, ask a Health and Beauty Department market team member for the Natural Ingredients Dictionary by Aubrey Hampton. Maybe you can find it online. Aubrey, a man, was born on an organic farm in rural Indiana, and by age nine was helping his mother make herbal cosmetics. He’s another one of those formula founders that have made such a difference in the lives of those who seek “natural beauty and wellness.” Aubrey’s booklet discusses the dangers in the 10 synthetic cosmetic ingredients to avoid. Chemicals like Methyl, Propyl, Butyl and Ethyl Paraben are anathema to those of us who want to live healthily. Aubrey says, “They might be good for your car, not your skin.”
Here are some products that are proven to work on dry skin and contain none of the dangerous ingredients Aubrey warns about in his booklet.
- Shikai’s Borage Therapy – promotes healing at the cellular level; is non-greasy, non-irritating; clinically-proven and doctor-recommended.
- NOW solutions sweet almond oil – preferred by masseurs as they can rub it into the skin for hours and it doesn’t lose its moisturizing effect. It’s easily absorbed into the skin, won’t clog pores, is vegetable-derived from pressed almonds and dates back to Biblical times.
- Africa’s Secret – an unscented multi-purpose skin cream made from handcrafted shea butter, virgin coconut oil, beeswax, African wild honey, bee pollen and royal jelly (sounds almost good enough to eat!)
- SKIN by Ann Webb – a face and body lotion that hydrates, soothes and heals with comfrey, hyaluronic acid and rosemary.
Our eight GreenAcres stores might not carry all of these products, but they have at least three of the four mentioned. Talk to our supplement men and women before you venture into the HABA department. “Sometimes,” cautions Susan, who circulates in HABA and the supplement department in our Wichita stores, “it’s actually your Omega 3 to 6 ratio that’s off kilter…” Or as we posted earlier from Cindy, who helps manage our HABA department in the Bradley Fair store, “It’s often something going on with your gut that shows on your face and bodily skin.”
But that will be a discussion for a whole ‘nuther time! First things first: Test your skin with the products pictured above, see if they don’t offer the itch relief you need.