Dry skin is a typical winter annoyance. The skin, however well “equipped” to resist external aggressions, can indeed suffer in winter. Héloïse Rambert, pharmacist by training, gives us natural solutions to fight against dry skin.
Our skin can suffer in winter even if it is well “equipped” to resist external aggressions . Under the microscope, a lipid film (that is to say a film of fat) is observed on the surface of the skin . This film will help retain water in the upper layers of the skin by a “barrier” effect and therefore keep the skin hydrated and soft .
The problem, in winter, when it’s cold, the air is drier. And our skin too, because it lets out more water. Result, the skin becomes rough, it is uncomfortable, it tightens, it itches. These are the most exposed parts which are going to be the most prone to drying out : hands, feet, legs, face… And with age, the sebaceous glands produce a large part of the fats in the skin, become scarce and are less active. For them, the barrier function of the skin is impaired and the water losses are even greater.
How to fight against dry skin in winter?
First of all, you have to start by covering yourself well. But there are also other things to do. It is necessary to consolidate the lipid barrier of the skin to nourish it and curb water loss. And for that, vegetable oils are excellent. They are rich in unsaturated fatty acids which will restore the skin barrier. The great classic is sweet almond oil . The other very interesting oil is borage oil . The problem is that it oxidizes very quickly on contact with air. An open bottle will quickly give off a rancid odor, which does not make you want for cosmetic use. To work around this problem, you can use borage oil capsules.
As this oil is quite expensive, it can be mixed with olive oil, also excellent for the skin. Other oils can be used such as argan oil , for example, which has been used for centuries by Berber women.
Originally, they are marketed for swallowing. But no study has come to prove that enriching your diet with borage oil (or another) has an interest in the treatment of dry skin. In fact, since 2012, European health authorities have prohibited food supplements of this type from claiming to maintain suppleness, hydration or good skin condition, due to lack of evidence. It is therefore more interesting to apply the oils directly to the skin.
What should you use for the toilet?
Our grandmothers would advise us, in case of dry skin , not necessarily to wash ourselves every day, entirely. Even if this idea does not please everyone. Because, paradoxically, water dries the skin (and the harder it is, that is to say rich in lime, the more it dries). A targeted toilet can sometimes be enough. And it is preferable to shower over the bath: the skin being in less prolonged contact with water.
It is especially important to pay attention to what we use for the toilet. We must forget the soaps, all the soaps! They cleanse well, but they also strip the skin because they dissolve fats and alter the protective lipid layer of the skin. It is better to go to shower oils, which are found in pharmacies, more respectful of the skin.
The benefits of toilet vinegar
If you really want to take a hot bath, you can add toilet vinegar to it. It is actually apple cider vinegar, in which flowers have been macerated for a fortnight. This product appeared in the middle of the 19th century, and was very successful. Then it completely fell into disuse. However, it is very interesting for dry skin. Mainly because it neutralizes lime (we will find it solid at the bottom of the bathtub) and makes the water less hard.
You can do it yourself but if you are in a hurry, you can buy it ready. You have to heat 1 liter of vinegar until the first signs of boiling. Then add a good handful of softening flowers (burdock, mauve, verbena, lavender…). Once the vinegar has cooled, pour it into a large jar, and let it sit for two weeks. Then strain and pour the scented vinegar into a glass bottle. A cup in the bath is enough.
Another good idea for the bath: oats
Traditional use and the experience of health professionals seem to confirm the softening properties of oats on dry and irritated skin . There are several things you can do with it. A decoction for example: take 100 g of oatmeal, oat leaves or stalks and boil in one liter of water for twenty minutes. Then filter everything and mix the preparation with bath water.
But there is more practical and faster. You can also put 60 g of oatmeal in a sachet which you then let “infuse” in the bath water. But then be careful, you have to close it otherwise everything will spill into your bathtub, and you risk clogging your pipes.