Come winters and you may dread those cracked heels and dryness on the skin surface. Our expert lays emphasis on that extra need to take precaution during winter to ensure a glowing body and mind.
Though the skin on most parts of the body is not exposed to the sun, harsh weather conditions and chemical air pollutants, it can turn rough and dry in winters. This is more so with the exposed areas, like the arms, feet, neck and face. If the skin is normally dry, the problem becomes worse in winter.
The lack of humidity in the air robs the skin of moisture. Another reason why the body skin suffers in winter is the regular use of hot water and soap while bathing. Hot water also depletes moisture and so does the chlorine in the water.
Moisturize your body well
The parts of the body, which become really dry, are the feet, the back of the hands, the knees and the elbows. These areas need special care during winter. Bath time is appropriate to pamper the body and supply it with the oils and moisture it needs. In fact, applying body lotions and creams soon after bathing while the skin is still damp, helps to seal in moisture.
Choose the right lotion or cream
A variety of creams, lotions and oils are available for the body. You can get yourself a hand and body lotion, or a rich cream, depending on the extent of dryness. An apricot cream is ideal for the hands. You can also make your own body lotion by mixing natural ingredients.
You would need a loofah or rough towel to give your body a rub, after applying oil, cream or lotion. This helps to smoothen rough skin and also improves blood circulation to the skin surface, leaving the skin glowing. It is particularly helpful on rough areas like the knees and elbows.
Sapless shower gels are better in winter. Or, you can use glycerin soap. For extreme dryness, it is better to avoid soap.
An oil massage helps before a bath
Before you take bath, apply oil on the body and massage it into the skin. This helps to soften the skin as it helps to cleanse the skin adequately. Sesame seed (til) oil can be used, or you can use any vegetable oil. Mustard oil is good during winter, but sesame seed (til) oil can be used all the year round. You can warm the oil before use. I advise the use of a lemon-turmeric cream as a pre-bath treatment, for dry skins. In fact, it has even been helpful in treating cases of dry-skin-sensitivity. It not only helps to soften the skin, but also lightens skin color over a period of time.
A traditional home pre-bath treatment is to mix “besan” (gram flour) with a little milk or curd and a pinch of “haldi” (turmeric) into a paste. Rub the body with this before your bath and wash it off while bathing. You will not need to apply soap, as this cleanses the body well.
Go easy on soap
While bathing, go easy on the soap and do not use very hot water. Give your body a rub with a loofah or rough towel, especially on the knees and elbows. If these two areas are dark, rub two lemon halves on them before your bath. After bathing, wipe off and apply a body lotion, or thicker cream, paying special attention to the feet, back of the hands, knees and elbows. Rub the lotion or cream into the skin on these areas.
Don’t neglect those cracked heels
Cracked heels are common during winter. The cold, dry weather not only causes depletion of moisture, but also hampers proper blood circulation. The skin of the feet suffers as a result. The skin on the heels is harder and thicker than most other parts of the body. Loss of moisture causes keratinisation, which is the process of changing living cells to dead horny cells. Therefore, there is a build-up of dead cells. If the absence of moisture, cracks develop on the heels and may even extend beyond the dead cells, causing pain.
Cracked heels can be prevented by giving the feet daily care, by way of massaging the skin with creams and protecting them from the cold, dry air. The problem can also be tackled with proper foot care. Before bathing, apply a lemon-turmeric cream on the feet and heels, massaging it into the skin. This not only softens the skin, but also protects it from the drying effects of soap and chlorinated water. Turmeric has antiseptic properties too and thus provides protection from infections.
A night care routine is a must