Dry winter air can be pretty harsh on our bodies’ largest organ: skin. When so many winter activities take place outside, epidermis can take a beating. Winter athletes reaching top speeds on the slopes, headfirst in the cold wind, often experience dry, painful skin as a result. Using familiar ingredients from around the house, it’s easy to take preventative measures against winter skin irritation.


Sugar Scrub

This exfoliating recipe can be used on the face and body. It’s simple to make, too. Just take one part sugar to two parts oil and mix them together until you have a paste. I recommend using Turbinado or raw sugar because the granules will be larger and, thus, less irritable to the skin. Extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil work well for this recipe. Pay attention to how your skin reacts—olive oil can be too heavy for some skin types. The sugar will exfoliate the skin while the oil moisturizes. Massaging into the body in a circular motion, though, will also increase circulation and warm you up. This scrub is especially effective on rough spots like knees, elbows and feet. For an extra luxurious experience, add a few drops of lavender essential oil to give it a relaxing aroma. Only use this scrub on the face twice a week at most. Otherwise, skin can become too irritated.


Avocado Mask

This facial mask is also very simple and great for sun-damaged and irritated skin. Mash half a peeled avocado with a tablespoon of an oil of your preference. Extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil will work well, but pay attention to your skin’s reaction to the oil; not every oil is for every skin type. In fact, this mask is best for people with normal or dry skin. Once you’ve mashed the avocado, apply it to the face and leave on for about 15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water. Avocados are loaded with healthy fats and vitamins E and C, which will hydrate skin and soothe it from wind irritation especially. The oil will also add a ton of moisture back into skin.

Aloe Vera-Honey Mask

If you have oily or acne-prone skin, this mask will be perfect for after you’ve been out in the cold weather or on the slopes where the sun is bright against the snow. Aloe vera is an obvious choice for sunburns and otherwise irritated skin areas, but adding raw honey will also keep your pores free of dirt and excess oil. Make sure the honey is raw because pasteurization strips honey of its usual nutrients and anti-microbial properties. Just mix one tablespoon aloe vera and one tablespoon raw honey and let sit for 10 minutes. Apply to face, and leave it on for about 15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water. The aloe vera will soothe sun-damaged skin and the honey will clean the pores.

Coconut Oil

It’s been said that using lip balm will actually make lips drier over time, forcing us all into a never-ending cycle of habitual lip balm application. But it’s especially difficult to avoid that cycle in the winter when the arid wind has changed from pushing hot air around to thrusting cold air into our faces. Coconut oil, however, makes it a little more bearable. It tastes delicious (unless you hate the taste of coconuts) and provides a protective layer on the lips while giving back moisture. You can easily put it into a small container to carry around, too.

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