Winter Skin Blues…
My daughter’s knuckles are beginning to be a perpetual shade of dark pink, and they are sort of scaly and are itching and hurting her. My own elbows are beginning to look like a reptiles abandoned old skin. My husband’s hands make the rest of us look like a Palmolive commercial. We’re a mess. Chicago winters somehow manage to keep this combination of damp and dry that is awful on the skin, and I’ve just in the past week realized it’s time to suck it up and move into the winter skin care routine.
My last post at the Green Phone Booth was about making lotion–a really fun and cool project, and honestly the end product is well worth the trouble. But if one just plain doesn’t have the time and/or ingredients, honestly, you can do just as well using the ideas I posted some months ago about easy DIY facial moisturizer–I just have a little pump bottle (recycled from oil I’d purchased–any well-cleaned cosmetic or hand soap pump would work) by the sink, filled with plain old grapeseed oil from the kitchen and scented with a little lavender essential oil (maybe 10-15 drops per ounce of grapeseed–though even this is optional). After my ridiculously hurried morning shower, which I take during the window between getting the kids dressed and when my husband comes upstairs to brush his teeth, I almost-dry off and then smooth a little oil over my legs, elbows, and hands while my skin is still just a little damp. Then before the oil has time to completely soak in, I smooth my slightly-oily hands over my face and neck. And I’m done. Literally over the course of a week my skin is back to normal–and I swear, this entire process takes under 30 seconds. If you take longer, your skin dries, and it doesn’t work as well. The premise here: lotions and creams are basically oils and waters mixed together through special techniques and added ingredients (because, you know, the whole “oil and water don’t mix” thing requires them). The oil helps the water not just evaporate off the skin. If you skip the mixing-and-emulsifing step and just apply the oil when the water is already present on your skin, the added ingredients aren’t necessary. And oil on its own in a bottle keeps longer than oil and water together, is less prone to going bad, and needs no bizarre chemicals to not get gross. Eventually it goes a little rancid, but that takes a long time.
I’m training my kids, when they go to the bathroom or wash their hands before meals, to automatically squirt a little oil onto their slightly damp hands and smear it around on their hands and knuckles. My daughter’s knuckles are already evening out and not bothering her. It’s a good thing.
Seriously, this is the easiest easiest easiest avoid-buying-expensive-chemically-cosmetics-but-get-the-same-or-better-result thing I’ve ever happened on. It’s not as clever or “wow Jenn’s such a domestic goddess” as some of the schmantzy stuff I try to think of to blog about (I happily inhabit the island of self-delusion in my little cabin of denial), but wow it works.