Marla Bosworth is the founder and owner of Back Porch Soap Company. She teaches classes, corporate events and experiences including candle making, soap making, organic skincare and perfumery.

October 12, 2008

Top 10 Tips for Alleviating Dry Skin, Excema and Psoriasis

This time of year many people complain about dry, itching skin - from arms to legs. It happens when we head into fall and winter. Homes and businesses start turning on the heat, which means less moisture in the air and less for our skin. Among other things, we tend to drink less water than in the warm summer months.

The good news is that there are 10 tips I'd like to share with you for bringing life back to your skin. (BONUS...scroll down to the bottom for a special promo on my handmade shea butter moisturizers.) Here's to an itch-free winter!

1. Nix the long, hot shower. I know, it feels good. Especially on a cold day. But you are robbing your skin of moisture and oils. So cut it short - 5 minutes is plenty - and use warm water instead. Besides, you'll save on your utility bill. And if you can, switch to showers every other day (for skipped days, wash your hair in a sink). You'll notice a difference in your skin.

2. Take your Omega 3 EPA/DPA Fish Oils. In capsules, liquid, whatever it takes. Not only will it help your skin, your ligaments and joints are going to love it. Dr. Andrew Weil recommends two grams of fish oil daily. Also, flaxseed oil is a wonderful supplement for keeping skin healthy and glowing. Check with your M.D. Even simply switching from salad dressing to extra virgin olive oil is another good move to putting good oils in your body for the benefit of your skin.

3. Drink plenty of water. Yes, it's true and you've heard it all before. Drink eight to 10 8 oz. glasses throughout the day. Your skin is the largest organ and needs to flush the toxins out daily.

4. Turn on the humidifier. Home heating takes the moisture out of the air during the winter months. A $30 humidifier will aid your skin and sinuses. Most come with an indicator. Try to keep it at 35%.

5. Moisturize after your shower. This is the best time, since your pores are open and ready for protection.

6. Choose wisely what you put on your skin. Our 100% shea butter (the pulp from Africa's karite trees) coats and protects the skin and is my first recommendation for those of you with a tendency toward super dry skin or even excema and psoriasis. It is a concentrated, therapeutic balm. You can find our certified organic shea butter here. I recommend Unscented for men and highly sensitive customers. For those of you who love fragrance, White Tea is my bestseller. It is light, sophisticated and rich. Do you have mildly dry skin? Then I recommend our shea butter body cream, which also contains soy, silk and aloe.

7. Skip the drying soaps and shampoos. Start reading the labels of these products and your skin will thank you. Don't use any products that have sulfates in them. It is an irritant and drying agent that literally strips your skin of its precious oils. Think of it as something you would use to degrease your car engine. While you're at it, throw out any products with parabens or dyes.

8. Take care of those hands and feet. Remember to moisturize them as well. Keep hands protect with gloves or mitten when outdoors. Protecting them from the elements makes a world of difference. Moisturize hands and feet when stepping out of the shower too, then again at bedtime. I recommend soaking your feet for a bit at night, then massaging them with shea butter and finishing off with a pair of cotton socks. You'll wake up with super soft feet.

9. Exfoliate twice a week with an inexpensive loofa or bristle brush. It aids circulation (start from the outer limbs and work toward your heart) and removes the surface layer of dead cells. Just think of it as prep work for applying moisturizer.

10. Cut down on Starbucks or your coffee of choice. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it removes water from the body. A good rule of thumb is for every cup of coffee you drink, tack on another 8 oz. of water (in addition to the 8 glasses you should be drinking daily).

So you made it through all 10 tips! They will get you through the winter with soft, hydrated skin.

For blog readers, save 20% on orders of $40 or more. Hurry, this offer is only valid until Saturday, October 18! Simply use Promo Code SOFTSKIN upon cart checkout. In addition, spend $60 or more and get FREE SHIPPING! Now is the time to stock up for holidays and long winter months. This offer is valid for continental U.S. orders only.
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