At this time of year we are often surprised by glimpses of pale skin as we hurry to jump into a warm shower or don an extra pair of woolly socks. Skin in winter can get neglected and forgotten, unless we are forced to remember it when a patch of eczema or psoriasis flares up or it becomes uncomfortably dry and flaky.
Whether you have a tendency to dry rough skin or have a more serious condition such as eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis, herbal creams, ointments and balms can be of wonderful benefit to soothe and heal the skin.
When choosing a product, look for active ingredients such as those listed below, in a base of equally natural and therapeutic substances such as olive oil, coconut oil and beeswax. Often with skin care it is as much about what ISN’T in the product as what IS. For example, avoiding parabens, petrochemicals, artificial colours and fragrances will also be of benefit. There is an old saying about not putting anything on your skin that you wouldn’t put in your mouth, and when you consider how much we absorb through our skin, this is a wise rule to live by!
Calendula: This common garden friend can help to reduce inflammation, speed tissue healing, and reduce the growth of microbes.
Chamomile: Calms inflammation and improves tissue regeneration.
Koromiko: Our native Hebe is naturally anti-microbial and astringent, helping to improve the protective barrier of the skin.
Kawakawa: Reduces inflammation and bacterial overgrowth.
Burdock: Helps reduce itching and promotes healing.
Poroporo: Another powerful New Zealand native, this plant is used in the manufacture of steroid creams overseas, and offers a natural alternative to topical steroid (hydrocortisone) creams.
These ingredients can be used on even the most sensitive skin, and in the most sensitive areas. I often tell people that a balm that is made for baby’s bottom, like Baby Balm can also be used for sensitive areas on adults, this includes the obvious places, for chafing or dryness, and the not so obvious, such as carefully around the eyes (a common site for dermatitis, and one where steroid use is not advisable).
The beauty of natural skin care for treating common skin conditions is that they are effective short term and safe to use long term. Instead of thinning and damaging the skin in the way that long term topical steroid use can, herbal therapies like DermaCare Cream can improve skin health and build robustness in the skin over time.
One way to make the most of the cold days is by spending a little extra time in the steamy bathroom after your shower and giving your skin some extra love and attention with therapeutic herbs to calm, soothe and heal.