Tips for Healthier Skin and Hair This Winter

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Shahnaz Husain
It’s wintertime, the best time of the year filled with festivities and celebrations.With the winter chill setting in,Cold air outside and central heat indoors wreak havoc on soft skin and hair due to lack of moisture and the drying effects in the air.The skin makes less oil and your hair loses its shine and feels brittle making hair rough and skin itchy and dry leading to premature ageing.Seasonal changes influence the skin. In winter, due to lack of humidity, a dry skin really suffers. The skin loses moisture to the atmosphere and becomes more dry. A skin that is habitually dry gradually loses its ability to hold moisture. Sometimes, the skin begins to flake and becomes crepey. Very tiny lines become visible on the outer layer. In some cases, there may be rough, red, flaky patches. A dry skin lacks both oil and moisture. They are vulnerable to early wrinkles and sensitive skin, with rough, reddish patches.
Cracked, flaky, irritated, or inflamed skin is normal during winter due to extreme weather conditions and excessive indoor heatings but there are ways to combat these harsh conditions and getting those pink cheeks and healthy hair with items in your kitchen cupboard .
Cleanse the face twice a day with a cleansing cream or gel, containing aloe vera, which helps to check moisture loss also rehydrates the skin. Apply the cleanser, with a light massage and wipe it off with moist cotton wool. Tone the skin, with rose water or a rose-based skin tonic.
Protect the skin from moisture loss during the day. Apply a sunscreen, before going out in the sun. Most sunscreens have built-in moisturizers. Moisturizers are available in cream and liquid form. For extreme dryness, use a cream. A liquid moisturizer should also be used under make-up. Keep the skin well moisturised.
Nourishment is imperative for dry skin, as it not only lubricates the skin, but helps it to hold moisture better. It also softens the skin. After cleansing at night, apply nourishing cream on face and massage it with upward and outward movements, for 3 to 4 minutes. Wipe off excess cream with moist cotton wool before bedtime.
The skin around the eyes is thin and delicate. It acquires lines and wrinkles easily. Apply an under-eye cream wipe it off after 15 minutes, with moist cotton wool. Or, daily apply pure almond oil sparingly and massage lightly, using only the ring finger, for one minute under each eye. Massage in one direction only.
The skin on the lips is also thin and lacks oil producing glands. It becomes dry and chaps easily. After cleansing, apply almond oil or almond cream on the lips daily and leave it on all night. Sun-protective lip balms are also useful.
For skin on the body, arms and legs, apply warm sesame seed oil before bath, massaging it into the skin. Use a mild glycerine soap. Immediately after your bath, apply a body lotion while the skin is still damp. This helps to seal in moisture.
Hair
During winter, when the weather is cold and dry, the hair really suffers. This is the time of year when we like to sit outside and enjoy the warm sunshine. We use hot water for bathing and washing the hair. These things can actually dry out the hair. For one thing, the hair and scalp lose moisture to the atmosphere, due to lack of humidity. Both sun-exposure and hot water also cause dryness. The hair becomes dry and difficult to manage. It can also develop problems like split ends.
A conditioner helps to protect the hair and make it soft, smooth, shiny and manageable. If the hair is dry, apply a creamy conditioner after your shampoo. Take less quantity and massage lightly into the hair. Leave on for two minutes and rinse with plain water. Or, you can apply a leave-on type of conditioner or hair serum. You can also buy a shampoo with a built-in conditioner, so that it performs a dual task of both cleansing and conditioning the hair.
Once or twice a week, heat pure coconut, sesame seed (til) or olive oil and apply on the scalp and hair. Then dip a towel in hot water, squeeze out the water and wrap the towel around the head, like a turban. Keep it on for 5 minutes. Repeat the hot towel wrap 3 or 4 times. This helps the hair and scalp absorb the oil better.
Here are some winter home remedies for skin and hair.
Avoid long boiling water bath showers and only stick to normal /luke water for morning bath for maximum five minutes
Keep your self protected from chilling cold when you move outside during winters .Wear proper warm clothes like sweaters , scarf , gloves etc to avoid windburn and avoid prolong exposure to cold conditions mainly in night during winters
Stick to healthy snacking and avoid junk and oily food. Take proper diet with fish,nuts,olive oil , dry fruits , salads in the plate . Add citrus fruits, leafty greens vegetables and vitamin C to boost the production of collagen in the body to maintain tightness of skin .
Avoid hair dryers and brushing hair when wet . Use wide tooth comb and use olive oil on hairs before combing
Honey: Mix honey with one teaspoon orange juice and apply on the face, to make it soft and smooth. Wash it off after 20 minutes. Honey suits all skin types. For acne-prone skin, mix one teaspoon honey with one teaspoon curd and a little turmeric. Wash it off with plenty of water after 20 minutes.
Cabbage & Carrot: Cabbage is rich in vitamins and minerals. Boil cabbage in enough water. Cool the liquid and use it to wash the face. Cabbage is rich in minerals and is good for all skin types. Then grate carrots and apply on the face for 15 to 20 minutes. Wash off with plain water. Carrot is rich in Vitamin A and good for winter skin problems.
For extremely dry and damaged hair, mix together a little olive oil and the yolk of an egg. Apply this on the hair. Tie an old scarf on the head and leave the mixture on for an hour. Then, shampoo the hair, using a mild shampoo.
Applying mayonnaise on the hair helps to nourish and soften it. It can be applied half an hour before washing the hair.
Beer makes a good rinse for dry hair. After shampoo, add the juice of a lemon to the beer and rinse the hair. Wait for a few minutes and wash off with plain water.
The author is international fame beauty expert and is called Herbal Queen of India