Quenching Your Skin’s Winter Thirst
By Gretta Monahan
Ask most any medical or beauty expert to name one of the most important things we can all do to have an effect on our overall health and appearance, and the answer is almost invariably one thing: hydrate. We all know we’re supposed to drink at least eight glasses of H2O a day, but so few of us actually do. And that means we’re missing out on a slew of health and beauty benefits—from a radiant face and smooth skin all over to lower blood pressure, weight loss, better circulation, better moods, and easier digestion. But I promise I’m not here to lecture you on drinking water; you already know you need to do it. No, I’m here to give you some handy tips on other at-home ways to keep yourself hydrated with at-home solutions—all of them completely natural, inexpensive, and easy to do. And with Boston getting thrown some super cold weather right now, these are the kind of tips you want to keep around all winter long.
For starters, do a couple of the easiest things you can possibly do that boost hydration. Turn down that hot water in your shower. This time of year we tend to crank up those temperatures because the heat feels great when it’s chilly out. But the hot water strips off the natural oils from your skin, and the result is a noticeably dryer, flakier dermis. And after you towel off, seal in any moisture with a lotion immediately.
Next? Go shopping for a humidifier. In the winter, even just the air in our homes and offices gets dry. So combat that by hooking up one of these babies, and use it daily. If you’d rather not buy one, go the D.I.Y. route: Take a bowl of water and set it next to a heat source (radiator, stove, etc.). You’ll notice plumper skin after just a few weeks.
Then there’s food. So many help hugely with hydration so pack your menus all winter with the likes of extra-water-laden fruits and veggies like melons, oranges, celery, cukes, tomatoes, and lettuce. Anyone who tells you that iceberg lettuce isn’t nutritious isn’t paying attention to how much water it contains. Also load up on coconut water whenever possible; it’s like a mega dose of hydration and unlike equally hydrating sports drinks, it’s natural and doesn’t contain a ton of sugar. In fact, most all processed foods tend to extract moisture from your body, so steer as clear as you can.
Now for a few at-home treatments I consider key to winter self-hydration. Remember how hydrating I said coconut water is? The same goes for coconut oil; it’s naturally moisturizing, as well as antibacterial, antifungal, and can penetrate hair better than many oils. (It also smells delish, too, but that’s just a bonus.) Keep some by the sink and whenever you wash your hands, rub some on afterward to keep them soft. Keep some in the shower for shaving—it softens legs up almost immediately, and keeps them moisturized for hours after you step out of the shower.
Give your hair a treatment with it: Rub in a teaspoon of it (more if you have long or thick, porous hair), comb through, and throw your hair up in a bun and wrap in a towel or wear a shower cap. Leave on an hour or more and then hop in the shower and wash. And depending on your skin type, coconut oil can be a godsend; it’s best for dry and normal types. Try rubbing it in circular motions on your face and neck before bedtime, then wash off with a gentle cleanser. Ta da: You’ve just quenched your body’s thirst with a simple, inexpensive trick that will leave it smoother, plumper, and glowing.