Dry, irritated and inflamed skin. When you have it, it’s no fun.
But relief can be as close as the kitchen…here’s more
Most people take their skin for granted. You wake up, and it’s there. You don’t have to do anything special for it to show up. It quietly does its job every day. And, that job is pretty important.
Your skin is the first line of defense between you and the cold (or hot) cruel world full of temperature fluctuations, environmental and chemical challenges, and close encounters with germs and other little “bugs” that have the ability to cause trouble.
So, when your skin is irritated, inflamed, dried, or cracked…there is a breach in your first line of defense.
What Causes Dry Skin?
If you experience dry skin, don’t worry, anyone can get it. Some bad skin reactions are caused by food or medications. So first and foremost, be sure to talk with your doctor to explore a connection.
Once you eliminate that possibility, here are some common reasons for dry skin according to the American Academy of Dermatology:
The passage of time: Your skin becomes drier and thinner as you are blessed with old age. So it’s normal to find yourself moisturizing more often.
Your zip code: Not a big mystery here. If you live in a desert-type climate (ie…dry), your skin will be dry too.
Skin disease: We’ve seen this more as celebrities have spoken up about psoriasis. If you had eczema as a child (aka atopic dermatitis) you’re likely to have dry skin as an adult.
Frequent hand washing: When your job calls for frequent hand-washing such as a nurse, restaurant worker, or hair stylist, your skin may get raw, dry and cracked.
Chlorinated pools: Swimming is great! The exercise is wonderful and easy on the joints; the chlorine…not so much. Be sure to rinse off right after you take a dip.
How to Reduce or Prevent Dry Skin
I already mentioned rinsing off after your swim, but what else does the AAD recommend?
- Use warm (not hot) water when you bathe.
- Use gentle cleansers – choose products without alcohol and mild, fragrance-free soap or soap substitute.
- Short showers are better. After about 10 minutes your skin will be less hydrated.
- Lock in after-bath (or shower) moisture with a lotion or light oil. You may love a light Body Sesame Oil like what’s available from Neutragena.®
- Shave when your prickly stubs are less prickly! Be sure to switch out dull blades.
- Use a humidifier when the air is dry.
- Apply lip balm before you sleep.
- Use scarves and gloves to protect your skin from cold weather conditions and wind. Apply a sunscreen, even in the winter. You get sun protection and a little barrier from the elements as well.
- Rather than washing your face with soap in the morning, try rinsing with cool water. Save the cleanser for nighttime so you can wipe off the grime of the day.
Beautiful Skin from the Bronze Age
What is “Colloidal” oatmeal?
All forms of oats are derived from whole oat groats. Whole Groats are mostly used for animal feed because at this stage (closest to harvest), you must cook it a long time for human consumption. All forms of oatmeal on your grocer’s shelf start as groats. The smaller they are cut, flaked or cooked, the quicker you can eat them for breakfast.
In order of cooking “quickness”
- Steal Cut Oats (or oatmeal)
- Rolled oats (or oat flakes)
- Oat Bran
- Oat Flour
Colloidal oatmeal are oats that have been ground to a fine powder.
For these beauty treatments, you can start with groats and put them in the blender or food processor, or grab Steal cut or Rolled oats and do the same. I would avoid “quick-cook” oats because these have already been cooked once. It’s possible some nutrients are lost in the process.
Aveeno® and Quaker® may be on to something!
Colloidal oatmeal (avena sativa) has been used since the Bronze Age as a topical treatment to relieve skin rashes, burns, itch, eczema, skin rashes and other skin conditions.
The nutrients in oatmeal have anti-inflammatory properties and sooths irritated skin. The beta glucans (b-glucans) contained in oats have been used as scaffolds for growth of bioartificial skin, help with wound healing, response to injury and infection, and have a high capacity for water retention. Beta glucans may also stimulate collagen production.
Studies were conducted with a popular brand name, Aveeno®, which uses colloidal oats in their lotions, like Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion. Researchers were curious whether or not oatmeal could act as a sort of “carrier” for topical treatments to improve penetration of the skin.
The results were positive. Colloidal oatmeal fine powder (Aveeno), found at the local pharmacy store, made it significantly easier at 6%-10% strength for skin to absorb the topical gel.
Colloidal oatmeal is pretty impressive on its own; however, mix it with a few items from your pantry and you could be on the way to beautiful, supple skin.
Homemade Beauty Skin Treatments
Curious, I ventured to my kitchen.
Turns out, there are a few pantry items that can keep your skin in great shape. The idea behind some of these treatments, such as using milk in milk baths, date back to Cleopatra. Use goat’s milk (powdered) and you get an added benefit because the PH level is closest to our own skin and it contains over 50 nutrients your skin will love.
And…goats are cute!
The lactic acid in milk works magic for your skin. If you notice lotions or serums don’t seem to absorb, or your skin has a sort of dull and dry look to it, you may be carrying around a layer of dead skin cells. Eeewww!
Dead skin blocks life!
The lactic acid in milk gently removes dead skin cells, stimulates cell production, and allows your skin to drink up moisture.
When I tried the colloidal oats and milk mixture (noted below) on my face, I noticed the serum I used after I rinsed off the mask absorb better than before the mask.
And yes…my skin was as soft as a goat’s…teet?
Oats Milk Bath Powder
- ½ cup Colloidal Oatmeal
- 1 cup Goats Milk powder
- ¼ cup Baking Soda
- Essential oil (if desired) like lavender, sandlewood, jasmine, ylang ylang or patchouli
Mix everything together and store in a pretty jar or airtight container. When you’re ready to use, just add a scoop to a warm bath, soak, and enjoy.
Milky Honey and Oats Facial Mask
- 1 Tbsp Goats Milk, powdered
- 1 Tbsp Colloidal Oatmeal
- ½ tsp Honey
Mix all ingredients together, adding a little water at a time until it’s a spreadable paste.
Apply to skin and wait 15 minutes before washing off with a warm cloth.
*I made a larger batch and tested it on my legs as a sort of whole-skin mask. Try it! You may love how your legs feel afterwards, especially after a day in the sun or hot, dry weather. Be sure to cover your drain with a screen to catch the oatmeal mixture before it goes into your pipes.
Things to Try…