Trying to make good choices with your skincare but confused about those ingredients? Cancer causing, endocrine disruptors, skin irritants?! How do you sift the rumour from fact?
Freezing temperatures, frost on the ground and your skin is suffering. Soothe your dry, itchy skin with a serious hydrating regime to keep things supple and healthy.
It doesn't have to be complicated or fiddly, here are my top tips for keeping your skin soft, supple and radiant.
The bottom line is that colder air holds less moisture than warm air and factor in the central heating and there's a good chance your skin is going to rebel.
Dry, itchy skin isn't fun but there's lots you can do that will make a difference.
It's all about hydration levels..
To stay hydrated, skin pulls moisture out of the air, which is a problem in colder weather when the humidity reduces.
To make things worse, as our skin ages, its natural oil producing capabilities slow down makes it more difficult for dry skin cells to slough off resulting in flaky skin.
To prevent a rather unattractive skin snow storm effect, invest in a gentle exfoliation treatment, but one which will boost hydration levels with natural oils.
Give our Honey & Rose Exfoliation Treatment a go. (Bonus - it will leave your skin smelling beautiful).
I stress this should be GENTLE! Scrubbing your skin raw is not going to help.
Steaming hot water is not your friend
Cut back on the super hot baths and showers.
Spending too much time wallowing in steaming hot water, though a tempting option when you're freezing, will ultimately further strip the oils from your skin.
If you have to do the toe-dip dance lowering yourself into the bath inch by inch, it's too hot!
Get clever with oil and water
If you can't live without a bath, it being the only time you get 5 minutes to yourself in a locked room (and I do understand) go for a beautiful aromatherapy bath oil which will hydrate and soothe your skin and leave you smelling fabulous at the same time.
Try our Soothing Bath & Shower Oil which contains a generous shot of calendula infused oil which naturally fixes all those sore bits.
DIY Essential Oils
If you fancy a spot of DIY, add a few drops of essential oil and tailor the scent to something you love - lavender for a beautifully relaxing soak, ylang ylang and jasmine for a touch of the exotic, or grapefruit or juniper for a revitalising treatment.
If you are feeling particularly adventurous, throw in a pint of milk or a scoop of dried milk powder and you will come out with skin so soft, the angels will weep.
Moisturise, Moisturise, Moisturise!
Slather on a serious moisturiser.
I am a big fan of oils, but the trick is finding the right product that works for you. These are some of my favourite oils for dry, sensitive, skin.
Applying Body Oil while your skin is damp after a shower takes 5 seconds but packs a real punch in terms of effectiveness; it seals in moisture, removes the need for a separate body lotion and leaves a subtle scent - win, win!
The Best Ingredients for Dry, Dehydrated Skin
Natural plant butters are naturally repairing and form a protective barrier on the skin to guard against moisture loss and soften skin. Think butters like shea butter, cocoa butter, mango butter.
Humectants to Drive Moisture
Ingredients like honey and glycerine are humectants which mean they attract moisture and draw it into the skin. Just watch out for the synthetic stuff like propylene glycol which isn't going to help.
The Right Plant Oils for Dry Skin
This sounds a little odd, surely all oils are good for dry skin? Natural plant oils are not going to damage your skin, but some are better equipped to hydrate when temperatures drop. In particular oils rich in oleic acid will work best, these have a richer feel and will in turn moisturise more deeply. Think avocado oil, argan oil, camellia oil, hazelnut oil. Check out my guide to the best plant oils by skin type.
Layer your Skincare
For your face, especially if your skin is on the sensitive side, go for ingredients that are natural and super gentle.
Think about layering products together, I like to use a base layer with the super nourishing Facial Essence with Rose & Blackcurrant and then either the Radiance Cream over the top or the Intensive Balm with Marshmallow & Frangipani.
Go with what feels good for your skin, pick the texture that works for you. If you want some advice, ping us a note on one of our social media channels!
Here's to your super soft, hydrated skin all season long!
We have talked previously about some of the flower and botanical oils that we love - so what about ingredients we choose not to use? And why all the confusion?
We think this is crucial when thinking about what to put on our skins - especially as it is becoming increasingly difficult to decipher from product labels what is in your favourite potions and lotions, the legislation around what can be described as 'organic' being very lax and the word 'natural' can mean that a tiny 1% only of the total ingredients may be natural. As more and more main stream companies cotton on to the fact that organic and natural beauty mean big bucks, so more effort goes into bigging up their green credentials on their labels.*
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and its variants are essentially detergents that are found in a huge proportion of bath and shampoo products on your bathroom shelf. What makes SLS/SLES so appealing to most of us is their ability to form bubbles - they are the principal ingredient in bubble baths and shower gels for that exact reason, and who doesn't love sinking into a bath full of bubbles!
But there is a catch; they are known skin irritants, drying out the skin and causing irritation. They do not effect everyone to the same degree, some individuals will have no problems at all and others will find their skin becomes irritated; you will need to decide what works with your skin. There are milder alternatives on the market, or avoid the SLS completely and plump for one our organic cleansing bars or a luxurious bath oil!
It is also worth pointing out that there are other questions raised over the use of SLS/SLES - everything from concerns over them being contaminated by carcinogenic pollutants, and being damaging to the liver, lungs and immune system. There are also a lot of counter arguments to these, disputing such claims. What we do know is that SLS and SLES can both irritate skin - not all but some. Ultimately there is lots of further discussion out there, and it is up to you to make up your own mind about what you are happy to put on to your own skin.
*At The Rose Tree, for each product that we sell, we stipulate which of our ingredients are organic and give a total organic percentage to make it as clear as possible for you!
OK. You have de-cluttered your skincare – you have found the organic skincare products that work for your skin – but your skin is still sensitive, especially in times of stress or when the weather gets cold.
It may not be your beauty regime that is at fault – there are other triggers...
Think about the temperature of the water you use when you bathe – hot water can be very drying, especially if your skin is on the sensitive side and although it is tempting to sink into a steaming hot bath when it’s freezing outside, (with the occasional large glass of wine!) your skin may not thank you for it.
If you are a bath fan, (and I'm including myself here, it's one of my fave ways to de-stress!) avoid SLS based bubble baths and opt for an organic hydrating bath oil.
If you are worried about disappearing in an oil slick and the monotonous cleaning that follows, don't. Our organic bath oils are super concentrated so you only need the tiniest amount, about 1/2 a teaspoon. The result, you can lay back in beautifully scented water knowing you will emerge all goddess like, (not oily) and chilled - until the next interruption anyway..
If its blizzard like outside, depending on where you are in the world, you will need to take special precautions. Wind, and very cold and dry environments can all spell problems for your skin. Hydration and protection is key, stick with a good hydrating cleanser (try ours here) and a decent moisturiser, eg our Radiance Cream with Rose & Frankincense
Consider your laundry detergent– biological action detergents are notorious for irritating skin and triggering eczema flare ups. My own eczema improved significantly when I changed to a greener non bio version.
Switch away from household cleaners that are filled with harsh chemicals. Simpler ingredients such as bicarbonate of soda mixed with water to a paste is very effective in the kitchen (but the mixture is slightly abrasive so don’t use it on highly polished surfaces). White vinegar is also super-effective; it is a great degreaser and limescale remover. You can buy these in bulk very inexpensively online, and there are lots of recipes available. We like http://www.summernaturals.co.uk/
If you fancy a homemade therapeutic bath, guilt free without any chemical nasties, try adding 5 drops of lavender essential oil and 5 drops of chamomile essential oil to a warm running bath. It will smell amazing and is great for sensitive, dry, itchy skin.
Soap has become a dirty word. It has fallen from favour and become the poor relation of skincare - soap is far too drying to use on your delicate skin, soap is harsh, soap strips the natural oils from the skin...
Sound familiar? There is some truth to these accusations - especially for many of the neat little wrapped packages of soap on sale at your local chemist or supermarket.
But I am not talking about the soap you can buy off the shelf in your high street, but rather natural organic soap or cleansing bars which are hand made.
There is a world of difference between the two! Have a look at the labels in your supermarket and you will see that actually many of these bars of 'soap' are actually harsh detergents with unpronounceable synthetic lathering agents, colours and scents. The good stuff, the stuff that you would actually want to use on your skin has been removed.
Soap manufacturers regularly remove the glycerine that is naturally produced during the soap making process (the chemical term for this process is saponification), as glycerine is a valuable commodity that can be sold on at a profit to be used on other cosmetic products like moisturisers and creams. (We don't!)
Real soap by comparison is made from pure butters and oils, water and lye. (And I am not talking about using the ready made up blocks of 'melt and pour' soap here).
It takes time to make soap the traditional way which is more expensive, taking weeks, sometimes months for the soap to cure before it is ready to be used.
But we firmly believe that the benefits outweigh the time taken; you get the beautiful properties of the plant oils used in the soap - mild and nourishing organic olive oil, luxurious almond oil for a rich and creamy lather, the conditioning properties of organic apricot oil..
Natural organic soap can be a life saver for problems and sensitive skins. Gentle and nourishing, it will work with your skin type, hydrating and moisturising non- irritating, working with your skin's natural defences. And you get therapeutic benefits of the essential oils used. Try it - you will never go back to a regular bar of soap I promise!
Find our own Apricot Geranium Cleansing bar here.