It seems like the two fit hand-in-glove – dry, itchy skin and winter that is. Most people slave on handfuls of lotion to try and make the itching tolerable; while this may work for a short while, it doesn’t help long term. Luckily, there are several natural therapies that can help.
Natural Solutions to Help with Dry, Itchy Skin
The first step to nourishing your skin doesn’t depend on what you put on your body, but rather, what you put into it. Dehydration is the number one reason for dry, itchy skin in the winter, and for good reason – it’s hard to stay hydrated in the winter (especially if you live in a climate that has temperatures much below freezing for days/week/months on end)! Here are a couple things you can do to help:
- Drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water throughout the day (i.e., a 150 lb person would drink ~75 oz of water/day)
- Consume that water in 2-4 oz doses every 20-30 minutes to optimize absorption.
- Use a humidifier at home and your place of work to keep the humidity at least 40%
- Eat plenty of fresh vegetables (especially those that grow above the ground) and fruit – they contain a lot of water – and add vegetables to any soups/stews that you consume.
- Avoid dehydrating foods/beverages, like alcohol, caffeine, soda, coffee and black tea; herbal teas are fine.
In addition, you need to optimize your essential fatty acids by including at least 3-4 servings of deep sea fatty fish every week (including sardines, anchovies, herring, Atlantic mackerel, oysters, and salmon) or taking a high quality EPA/DHA supplement; for skin health a ratio of 3:2, EPA:DHA often works best in doses of 1500-3000 mg EPA+DHA/day.
Another tried and true strategy is to use a skin brush before bathing and apply a natural oil – like almond oil – after bathing. Using a natural bristle skin brush before bathing both exfoliates dead skin and increases circulation to the skin to help deliver nutrients. It’s generally recommended that you start at your feet and use circular motions, moving towards your heart to cover every inch of skin (excluding sensitive areas like the front of the breast and/or neck/face). The key with skin brushing is to do it on dry skin, so leave the skin brush outside the shower and use it right before you bathe.
After you towel off, immediately apply a natural oil, like almond oil, to lock in moisture. Most lotions don’t contain enough oil to do the job and/or are applied to skin once it is already dry, which doesn’t help. Apply the same oil every time you are done washing your hands to protect them throughout the day. Just remember, a little bit of oil goes a long way, so start with less than you think you need – you can always apply more.
Note, it can take several weeks of consistent use for these natural methods to work, so stick with them and you’ll soon forget you ever had dry, itchy skin. Enjoy!