Winter skin woes


As the weather gets cooler and the thermostats get kicked up the moisture in my skin gets sucked out like a vacuum. The older I get the worse the problem. If I don’t stay on top of it I end up with crocodile skin. And, to add insult to injury, if I slather most commercial skin creams on my face I end up with acne and wrinkles. I mean, really? Come on!

The other problem with most commercial lotions, creams and skin care is that it contains parabens, petroleum byproducts and other synthetic chemicals and scents I generally try to avoid.

So what is a girl to do? Go around looking like the Sahara dessert? Look like I am taking a second turn through puberty? Ugh. Well lucky for you, I have been experimenting for YEARS and I finally landed on these three products as my winter skin toolkit.

They’re all paraben-free although they aren’t all certified organic. I wish they were but at least I can pronounce all the ingredients on the label.

Jamaican Black Castor Oil-  This stuff is amazing. I cannot say enough good things about it. It smells a little funky, (it has a vaguely burnt smell) but it is good for so many different things, from cysts to hair growth. Actually, that is how I first stumbled upon it. I decided to grow my hair out a few years ago and I was looking for things to help speed up the process. There are scads of testimonials on Youtube about how this stuff is so awesome it can even help regrow hair from tension alopecia. I’m not a doctor and I didn’t have that problem so I can’t say whether or not if offers any solution but I will say this. I use it about once a week to once every other week as a scalp treatment, it is goopy (you need to sleep with a scarf over your head) but my hair has grown out rather nicely and has a lovely shiny texture.

So what makes it different from other castor oils? Jamaican Black Castor Oil is a hand processed oil from roaster castor beans. This means, unlike the white castor oil that you find on the drug store shelves, JBCO has a darker, thicker consistency and there is some ash content from the process of roasting beans, hence the smell. Apparently, this is supposed to add to the nutritional value for the skin and hair. I like it because I know it hasn’t been chemically extracted like so many oils.

How do I use it? Well I originally bought it as a scalp and hair treatment, and I still use it for that. It is really thick and sticky so I bought an empty plastic hair color applicator and put the oil in that so I can squeeze it directly onto my scalp without wasting any or glopping it in my hair.

When the weather started getting colder I decided to experiment with it as skin care. At first I was applying it directly to my arms and legs but it is thick and takes a while to soak in (I do still apply it directly to acne spots or other skin issues).  The thickness of the oil and my ever-present sense of urgency led me to the second product in my arsenal, because I don’t have an hour to wait before getting dressed.

Sweet Almond Oil- I’d purchased sweet almond oil originally as a carrier oil for some of my more expensive essential oils. That way they lasted longer. I would use one or two drops of my essential oil in about a tablespoon of sweet almond oil and slather that all over. That was fine for summer skin care but as the temperatures dropped the thin, quickly absorbed SAO wasn’t cutting it.

That is when I had the brilliant (if I do say so myself) idea of mixing the SAO with some of my Jamaican Black Castor Oil. EUREKA! You can adjust the ratio to your personal tastes but I use a 1:1 mixture of equal parts SAO and JBCO and slather it on after a shower just like you would lotion. I give it about 10 minutes to absorb while I do something else, then I get dressed and head out.

The only glitch in this seemingly perfect winter skin care routine was my face. If I put that mixture on my face it seemed to cause some small acne problem and prevented my makeup from adhering. That was when I found the last piece of my skin care army.

Avalon Organics’ Lavender Luminosity Ultimate Night Cream- I think I have quite possibly tried every drug store and high end night cream on the market. I’d never had any luck and pretty much resigned myself to a life of winter dry craggy face skin. But hope springs eternal, and when I saw the little purple jar on Kroger’s shelf I figured “what the heck.”

This stuff is fantastic! I love it, I don’t use it every night (because I have no personal discipline and half the time still go to bed with my makeup on) but I do use it roughly every other night and I use it daily as eye cream. I couldn’t be more please with how well it works and I have really sensitive skin.

So these are my top three picks for winter skin care. As always these are products I purchased with my own money. They aren’t gifted and it isn’t a paid endorsement. These are the brands I like and use. The JBCO and the SAO are made by several different companies, feel free to experiment with other brands.

Do you have a go winter skin care regimen? Leave your tips and tricks and favorite brands in the comments below!






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1 Comment

  1. Tracy Herz - November 8, 2013

    I am particularly fond of slathering Vitamin E Oil all over myself. Esp. My face. I like these tips. Wonder what women did in olden times? Going to try that Jamaican Castor Oil. That sounds like a winner.

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