During winters certain parts of the body like feet, the back of the hands, the knees and the elbows become really dry. These areas need special care. Bath time is appropriate to pamper the body and supply it with the oils and moisture it needs. In fact, applying body lotions and creams soon after bathing, while the skin is still damp, helps to seal in moisture.
Give your body a nice scrub An apricot cream is ideal for the hands. You can also make your own body lotion by mixing natural ingredients. You would need a loofah or rough towel to give your body a rub, after applying oil, cream or lotion. This helps to smoothen rough skin and also improves blood circulation to the skin surface, leaving the skin glowing. It is particularly helpful on rough areas like the knees and elbows. Soap-free shower gels are better in winter. Or, you can use a mild glycerine soap. For extreme dryness, it is better to avoid soap. Oil massage and body rubs can help to cleanse the skin adequately. Go in for natural cleansers Before bath, apply oil on the body and massage it into the skin. This helps to soften the skin. Sesame seed (til) oil can be used.
According to Ayurveda, mustard oil is good during winter, but sesame seed (til) oil can be used all the year round. You can warm the oil before use. I advise the use of a lemon-turmeric cream as a pre-bath treatment, for dry skins. In fact, it has even been helpful in treating cases of dry-skin-sensitivity. It not only helps to soften the skin, but also lightens skin colour over a period of time. A traditional home pre-bath treatment is to mix "besan" (gram flour) with a little milk or curd and a pinch or "haldi" (turmeric) into a paste. Apply the paste on the body. After 20 minutes, dampen with water and rub the paste gently on the skin and wash it off while bathing.
You will not need to apply soap, as this cleanses the body well. Lemon and turmeric remedy The elbows also suffer during winter. The skin is very tough on this area and also lacks oil glands. It can become dry, rough and dark. Take two lemon halves and rub them on the elbows. Then apply sesame seed (til) oil, massaging it into the skin. I also recommend the application of a cream containing turmeric and lemon before bathing. The cream should be rubbed into the skin. This not only softens the skin, but also lightens skin colour. During your bath, take a rough towel and scrub the elbows well. After bathing, apply a moisturizing cream, again rubbing it into the skin. This kind of regular care would help to keep the elbows soft and smooth.
Protect your heels Among winter problems, cracked heels are quite common. Before bathing, apply a lemon-turmeric cream on the feet and heels, massaging it into the skin. This not only softens the skin, but also protects it from the drying effects of soap and chlorinated water.
Before retiring for bed, soak the feet in hot water for about 20 minutes. Add some coarse salt and shampoo to the water, before soaking the feet. Hot water helps to soften the dead skin on the heels. With the help of a pumice stone, rub the heels gently, in order to remove the dead cells. Avoid metal scrubbers. After washing the feet, massage with a good cream, rubbing it into the skin. Take a rich moisturizing cream or vaseline and apply it generously on the heels.
Bandage the heels with cheesecloth, or cotton wool and surgical gauze, then wear cotton socks and go to sleep. This way, the cream will remain on the heels and not get on to the bedclothes. Keeping the heels smeared with cream all night will soften the skin and replenish moisture loss. Repeat this every night for at least five days, or till the skin on the heels improve.
Home Remedies: Body Massage: For a fragrant body massage oil, mix four drops of sandalwood essential oil and four drops rose essential oil to 100 ml pure sesame seed (til) or olive oil. If you want to use only one of these two essential oils, add eight drops of it. Do not use essential oils by themselves. They must be added to carrier (pressed) oils. For itchy skin caused by dryness, add two tablespoons vinegar to a mug of water and rinse the areas after your bath.
Hands: For hands and nails, mix almond oil and honey in equal parts and massage into the nails and cuticles. Leave on for 15 minutes and wipe off with a moist towel.
Hands Feet: Mix together three tablespoons of rose water with one teaspoon pure glycerin. Apply on hands and feet and leave for half an hour. Wash it off with plain water.
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