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Winterization

Posted Dec 29 2011 7:45am

Don’t let the outrageously mild weather and distinct lack of snow fool you.

Christmas has come and gone, I’ve busted open my under-bed storage bins full of sweaters (closet space is quite the commodity in my room), and our gas bill is already climbing its way to “astronomical”: Winter is here.

I actually really like winter. It does, after all, contain my favorite holiday, promotes public hot chocolate consumption, and has snow! I’m sure that the rest of the metropolitan DC area would disagree with me, but I actually really love snow. I don’t love how people around here DRIVE in it (yet another reason I am thankful to have taken driver’s ed. in Canada… in February) but I love snow. It’s pretty, it’s fun, and unlike when I lived in Ottawa, it actually causes school and work closures here. Win!

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From my visit to Ottawa last February.

Unfortunately, this season has its downside as well. It would probably sound better if I said I struggled with something legitimate like seasonal affective disorder or… hypothermia… or something… but my biggest issue with the winter months instead lies in the horrible, itchy, flaky disaster that is my hands and feet come December. My skin gets so dry that not only does it peel uncontrollably, but I develop small, itchy red bumps all over my palms and soles. You’re welcome for that image.

In the past, I’ve suffered in nonstop whining silence because I was too lazy to do anything about it. This year, I’m trying to stop scratching myself into oblivion and actually combat the dryness in what a way that will hopefully preserve both my skin and my sanity. I’m still experimenting with what works best though, so I need your input! This is what I’m planning to do so far, deduced from both personal experience and, y’know, Google:

Moisturize.

When it’s this dry out, regular moisturizer is simply not enough. Even I know this. What I have recently learned, however, is that even special dry-skin lotion is not enough. I never really knew what people used Vaseline for other than keeping hair dye from staining your forehead, but apparently it can be used as a skin moisturizer. It seems to be the only thing that is marginally working for me right now, although a little birdie told me on Twitter that I should check out something called Aquaphor . I’m also trying to do that wearing-socks-after-moisturizing-thing, but it’s kind of annoying. Still, the lesser of two evils when the first evil is hand-agony.

Wash my hands, um, differently?

Apparently, according to some article I read online that I’m sure is totally accurate and written by someone with credentials and stuff, we wash our hands more often in the wintertime. Something about being more scared of germs than usual or something, I don’t know. As it turns out, all that constant hand-washing is very drying for our skin. In order to help circumvent further peeling and awfulness for my hands, I’ve nixed my antibacterial soap (which I hear I’m not really supposed to use anyway) for a bar of handmade lavender soap that my mom gave me for Christmas! Apparently I’m supposed to use warm, rather than hot, water to combat the dryness as well. The more you know…!

How To_Sugar Scrub-1
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source )

Exfoliate.

I am a notoriously terrible exfoliator. Aside from haphazardly using my loofah in the shower, my exfoliation efforts are pretty lax. I’m really trying to make an effort to slough off all that gross dry skin this year though, so I’m going to embrace the economical solution of… the homemade sugar scrub! I just combine sugar and coconut oil (or you could use almond, or olive, or vegetable oil if you wanted to be even thriftier) to make a sort of paste, then rub-a-dub-dub it into my skin. I adjust the sugar-to-oil ratio higher for hand/foot use versus leg/body use. I’ve also read about using salt instead, but that doesn’t make sense to me. I feel like that would only serve to sap the moisture out of your skin, right? Anyway, I can say with certainty as someone who spends $38 on her face wash (I really should be more ashamed of that, shouldn’t I?), that this homemade concoction really is wonderful. And helps justify the aforementioned face wash, heh.

I’m hoping that making these things part of my routine will help save me from this horrible, ugly, itchy death. I’m also hoping that I can actually make these things part of my routine. Feel free to chime in with any other tips or tricks you might have up your sleeves!

Do you suffer from similar wintertime maladies? What are your self-winterization techniques?


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